Do you remember what you dreamed about last night? For something that we all do every night, remembering your dreams is difficult. Studies show that we forget roughly 95 percent of a dream almost immediately.
Making sense of your dreams can be even harder. This is why dream therapy has become more and more popular. Despite the fact that we spend about two hours per night dreaming, we know surprisingly little about what dreams are and why we experience them.
We know that dreams are a type of hallucination and that we have most frequently during stage five REM sleep, the deepest stage of sleep. We also know that dreams play an important role in regulating our metabolism, blood pressure, and brain function. One critical question, however, that we still don’t have a good answer for is…
Why Do We Dream?
The logic we use to navigate waking life has no chance in the face of dreams. Dreams seem to be based on recent experiences and issues we’re facing, but there’s still no consensus among mental health professionals as to what the purpose of dreams is. Here are the most widely accepted answers.
Types of Dreams
Before a dream therapist conducts dream analysis on the contents of your dreams, they might begin by classifying the types of dreams you’re having.
Most of your dreams are probably normal dreams, but that doesn’t mean that they or you are boring. Normal dreams can be fascinating, exciting, and (more often than not) weird. Having normal, common dreams is a good sign that you’re healthy and well adjusted. Normal dreams can also sometimes be recurring dreams.
A lucid dream is when you are not only aware that you’re dreaming but are able to control what happens during the dream. Unlike your most vivid dreams, lucid dreams happen most frequently when you’re partially awake.
Nightmares are bad dreams caused by stress, trauma, and fear. They tend to make you feel anxious and afraid, sometimes to the point that they wake you up. Though a nightmare isn’t anything to worry about, a recurring bad dream is something to consider dream therapy for.
What is Dream Therapy?
Dream therapy is the process of unraveling what dreams mean in relation to our waking lives. The process of dream interpretation is symbolic and it is uniquely tailored to the dreamer. It is a collaborative process that draws upon Freudian interpretation, Jungian symbols, Transpersonal theory, and Object Relational introjects.
The aim of dream therapy isn’t necessarily to come to an unmistakable interpretation of a given dream but to find meaning, usability, and emotional substance for the client through their dreams.
For this reason, you may not be able to perform substantive dream analysis simply by looking up symbols in your dream in a “dream dictionary”.
It can be important to interpret your dreams under the direction of an experienced psychotherapist or dream therapist. Psychotherapists, in general, are already skilled at picking up on subconscious indicators of problems. Because dreams are often so abstract, picking up on these indicators is more complex, but it’s still similar to the process of individual therapy.
What Do My Dreams Mean?
Dream therapy is rich in material, and for those insatiable curious about the true depth and meaning of their psyche, I can be an empowering journey. The topic of dream interpretation has inspired hundreds of books and doctoral theses to be written. Dreams are powerful. They cause us to feel strong emotions and remember seemingly forgotten experiences.
While dreams on their own can seem entirely abstract, dream analysis helps you to understand them within the context of your life. This process of dream interpretation is used by psychotherapists and dream therapists alike, as it can be instrumental in helping patients understand themselves and their deepest desires more profoundly.
The Up-Shot of Dream Therapy
Why we dream is still largely a mystery, but experts’ best guesses are that our brain uses dreams to:
- Process emotional trauma
- Practice for future challenges
- Sort through and store memories
Dreaming can leave you waking up feeling angry, sad, or afraid, and confused as to why. Psychotherapists use dream therapy to help you make sense of a dream by connecting its puzzle pieces with the ones from your waking life.
If you think you don’t understand subconscious aspects of yourself, if you have a recurring dream, or if you find your dreams to be particularly meaningful, dream therapy could be right for you. To learn more about how dream therapy can be a useful tool in psychoanalysis, contact Louis Laves-Webb and Associates today.