The use of dreams in psychotherapy isn’t a new thing. After all, most dreams are so powerful that they often linger in your memory the whole day.
Dreams symbolize what’s going on inside your mind. As far as psychotherapy is concerned, dreams offer an insightful opportunity to work with the inner world of a client instead of just purely tapping into their psychology.
Thanks to dreams, your imagination gets the chance to run wild and free, with deeper depths reached without any of your conscious defences and your logical thoughts getting in the way all too easily. Your ego is also nonexistent in your dream world to either limit you or rein in your thoughts. This then allows your unconscious to engage in a more direct communication.
Sigmund Freud referred to dreams as a royal road to the human mind’s unconscious and he couldn’t be far from the truth. Dreams indeed serve as the gateway to the intricate workings of your deepest self, serving as the bridge between your unconscious and conscious worlds.
Infinite possibilities can take place in the imaginary realm because the whirlwind of imagery and events in your dreams holds all the riches of your psyche. It also wouldn’t be too much to say that your dreams are like a gift from your psyches.
Having said all of this, what is the real role of dreams in psychotherapy? What does your psyche try to tell you every time you dream?
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Understanding the Intricacies of Dreams
Most of the time, a certain image in your dream is responsible for evoking a powerful response within you, with your unconscious using images rather than words to transmit its messages.
Careful consideration of the connection of the dream to the characters or imagery in the dream, helps psychotherapists understand their possible meanings.
Everything happening in the life of the dreamer during the time of his/her dream should also be considered when pondering on the dream.
The reoccurrence of a character or characters might also be trying to convey something to the dreamer. A nightmare that constantly occurs might also indicate that a repressed material is starting to break through. Some characters might also represent a part of the dreamer that wishes or hopes to the acknowledged. This is the part of the dream that requires attention or even nurturing.
When it comes to dreams in psychotherapy sessions, therapists can start a dialogue with some of the dream’s critical characters. The discovery journey doesn’t require the therapist to associate the symbols with concrete meanings. Instead, they simply guide the client in discovering the significance and meanings for themselves. This is probably your inner world opening up your daily existence to available possibilities to you if only you choose to be more open to them.
The Purpose of Working with Dreams in Psychotherapy
When you pay closer attention to your dreams, in turn, you are rewarded with richer content. There are also various ways of honouring your dream realm. Keeping a dream journal is a helpful tool that can blend your dreams with your consciousness.
These journals are a fun thing to immerse yourself in. They can also become a cherished aspect of your explorations of the inner you. When you give your dreams a few moments of your time this way, your dreams can “land.” Your dream journal can also be a handy tool that you can explore further during your therapy.
Symbols of your dreams usually show up in the form of images. You might even find it comforting and enjoyable to draw these images using pens, crayons, or chalk, and no, they don’t have to be perfect. Drawing out these parts of your dream can help you cement them and process them more deeply.
When you draw, you can also reconnect to your dream and the feelings it evoked. This creative choice is a better option than letting things get into your head and being drawn right away to the symbolic meanings of those images.
You might even discover the emergence of responses and feelings every time you draw that you wouldn’t experience otherwise if you just think about the dream. You might also want to take note of those feelings evoked within you when going back to the dream.
Some colours might stand out as well with special meanings for you. It might also have something to do with a diminished or blocked chakra. Many lenses can also be used for exploring sexual dreams. These could be related to fulfilling wishes and desires or they might have something to do with your inner anima or animus.
Tapping into Your Dreams
With all the different ways of reconnecting with your dreams, it wouldn’t take much to find one that best resonates with you. It’s also beneficial to spend some time reconnecting with yourself before you fall asleep.
As you fall into slumber, try to stay away from needles and mental stimulation. For instance, the moment you lie on your bed and settle down to sleep, checking your phone creates a distraction from the chance to reconnect with yourself before falling asleep. Many people use their phones to unwind but more often than not, the effect is exactly the opposite as these devices simply flood your already excessively stimulated mind.
Ending your day in a more relaxed way with the use of methods like meditation, body mapping, or just letting yourself be lost in the words of a fun novel is so much better than going through everything that happened to you during the day or running through your to-do list in your mind.
Body mapping also lets you pay more attention to your physical self, away from your stimulated mind. Once you lie in bed, the best way to start is to get a sense of yourself. To do this, you can lie on the mattress, letting it act as your support as you experience the wonderful sensation of your body relaxing into it.
The role of dreams in psychotherapy reveals a lot of things about a person. So let your dreams flow!