by Frances O'Brien, C.Ht.
Dream therapy has often been avoided over the years, largely because of trepidation on the therapists’ part to determine the meaning of their clients’ dreams accurately. But there are several ways we can use the dream language of our subconscious to effect the changes necessary for leading happier, healthier lives, even without special training.
If you'd like to make use of dream therapy for yourself, here are a few suggestions:
• Keep a journal. Write your thoughts, feelings, and what happened that day on one side. Write your dreams on the other.
• Write a question you'd like the answer to. Put it at your bedside, and repeat it as you drift off to sleep.
• Fold a sheet of paper in threes, the way you’d fold a letter to put it in an envelope. Write the words, “I remember to remember my dreams” on one third. Stand it up like a tent where you’ll see it as you fall asleep and as soon as you awaken.
We can't say for sure that any given dream symbol means something specific to all people, however, we can make some generalizations about them. Flying, for example, often represents the desire to escape. If you dream you're back in school, you could have an unresolved issue from that time. Falling might mean you feel you don't have anything to stand on, or you don't know where you're going to land. Running in a hallway trying to find a door could be about not being able to make a decision.
There are seven questions I typically ask my clients in regard to their dreams, according to the model of Dr. John Kappas, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute:
1. What stage during the night did the dream occur? (Soon after you fell asleep, during the middle of the night, or shortly before you awakened?)
2. Was the dream psychological or physiological? (Was it entirely in your mind, or could something else, like a sound or a food you ate, have affected it?)
3. What was the timing clue in the dream? (Was everything from the same period of your life? Was one thing different?)
4. What was the content of the dream? (Separate symbolic from literal. What do the symbols mean to you?)
5. What are the emotional feelings of the dream? (How did you feel during the dream?)
6. What is being vented out? (What did you dream shortly before awakening? This usually has to do with what you’re venting.)
7. What triggered the dream? (Something that happened recently? Long ago? Anything else?)
If you’d like to use these questions on your own, I highly recommend that you write out your dream as soon as you awaken. Then write the answers to as many of these questions you’re able to. It may seem difficult at first and as though not much progress is being made, but if you’re willing to do this over time, you’ll begin to see patterns and answers emerge that may well prove quite helpful in resolving any unsatisfactory issues in your life.
Everybody dreams every night, although not everyone remembers their dreams. If you use one or more of these techniques on a regular basis, you'll soon find yourself becoming more in tune with your dreams as well as what drives you, and you may find you're able to use dreams to make positive changes in your life.
Frances O'Brien is a certified hypnotherapist and EFT practitioner with a private and group practice in Tarzana and Van Nuys, CA. She is also an author, teacher and speaker on a variety of natural healing techniques. Her most recent book, Your Three Clicks: Find Your Natural Healing Technique is available on her website RelieveYourMind.com.
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