In today’s modern hectic world, many people suffer from difficulty sleeping. There is much focus on “sleep hygiene” in order to improve sleep quality. What is often less discussed is the importance
of dreaming. Indeed many paths people take to help them sleep, such as many of the sleeping pills used, alcohol, cannabis, and many common medications actually tend to suppress dreams.
There is no consensus in the academic community on the role of dreams. It is clear today, though, to most people, that dreams are not just random firing of neurons as we sleep. Many, or even most cultures recognized the importance of dreams and often seek to understand the message and the guidance contained in them. In our highly driven western culture, sleep and the dreaming that goes with it, are often viewed as a necessary waste of precious time in service of alert wakefulness. We forgot to listen to our dreams.
Many researchers view dreams as a way that we process our daytime experiences. Dreaming is often viewed as a healing process, where our deepest concerns are worked through. Sometimes in individuals with PTSD this mechanism may go into overdrive. The nightmares brought on by the trauma may make people fearful of falling asleep. In therapy there are methods to assist with this problem. People can learn lucid dreaming. They gain some control over their dreams, as paradoxical as it sounds. They learn to change their nightmares inro something else.
In therapy dreaming may be used as a window into parts of ourselves that we are less conscious of. Because dreaming is a less tightly controlled form of thought, the dream may become a creative synthesis that can help us find a way forward in life. This message from our deeper consciousness may be somewhat cryptic but with thought and care the meaning may be unraveled. A trained therapist can assist you in this journey. Dreams can help you in the process of healing, personal growth and transformation.
One of the fascinating experiences that we all have is how ephemeral the memory of a dream is. Often we
can remember parts of a dream when we wake up, but these memories fade quickly if we do not record the dream. That’s why I ask my clients to I keep a dream journal by their bed so they can immediately record dream before it fades away.
Based mostly on Rubin Naiman presentation on dreams at IASD conference and his book “Healing Night”.