How often in a tense or difficult situation does someone say, ‘sleep on it, do not make a hasty decision, see how you feel tomorrow’. And the truth is, we often do feel better or differently about the situation the next day. This is because overnight our conscious mind has been put to one side as it sleeps, stopping all its chatter and thoughts. Our unconscious mind is enabled to work through and explore other options and possibilities. This often results in much of the original tension dissipating. Other choices become possible. We open ourselves up to new potential and experiences.
We are self healing organisms. What seems unbearable one day is often more bearable the next day.
Dreams often use metaphors as a way of representing significant people or situations that are happening in our lives. Sometimes these are situations that are in need of attention or healing. The best person to interpret ones dreams in ourself, because one situation could feel completely different to two separate people. It is always important to ask ourselves after a significant dream, how did that feel to me ? Things that one might expect to be frightening can sometimes be dealt with calmly in a dream and vice versa, things that sound calm and easy may well be unsettling and sinister. This is important information to review the following day.
There are different types of dreaming.
– Day dreams are where we suspend full awareness for a time and allow ourselves to take a break or an escape.
– Very often night dreams contain thoughts from before sleep. They may be wish fulfillment, where the unconscious mind has not accepted reality, in the case of a bereavement for example.
– Some people experience lucid dreams, where they know that they are dreaming and can manipulate what is happening.
– Repetitive dreams often occur when there is some unresolved problem or experience, something overwhelming that could not be dealt with at the time, like abuse or a trauma.
– Often though, dreams are a powerful way of healing the perspective on an existing situation, finding ways to heal it, look at it differently, from a better point of view. Hypnotherapy often utilises dreams to continue the therapeutic process after a session.
Generalisations are often made about the content of dreams and what they represent.
– A house will often be interpreted as representing the dreamer and any new rooms are seen to mean that the person is being presented with new opportunities and experiences. If they feel good, then the person is looking forward to the future, but if they feel bad then it may well be that the person is feeling unprepared, uneasy or inexperienced about the prospect. New rooms being opened up often bodes well: it is the unconscious mind identifying that the dreamer has more potential than they realise.
– Water often represents feelings, emotional situations. Calm or still water often reflects good feelings and relationships. Choppy water, with dark waves and skies can mean disturbances and troubled experiences. Deep water may mean a deep, meaningful, special relationship, or it can mean feeling out of ones’ depth, being fearful of going into a relationship, holding back, afraid of losing control of ones’ emotions. It all depends on how the dreamer felt during the dream.
– People in dreams may be significant in their own right, or they may be representing certain of their traits and characteristics. This is especially true of celebrities and famous people. They are there usually to bring some perceived attribute into the situation. A celebrity with negative characteristics is a warning about someone with those attributes.
– The same is true of animals. They can represent some spiritual or physical qualities and bring them into the situation.
The way to use dreams therapeutically is to write them down as soon as you awaken. Reflect on the dream first. Get the details clear in your mind and then make a note, especially about how the different aspects of the dream felt to you. Keep a notepad by the bed. We are programmed to amnesify our dreams fairly quickly upon awakening, so writing them down straight away is important. Then the question to ask is, ‘what in my life is like this’. Use this information as a window into the unconscious and look at the parts of the dream that had a particular resonance to them. That is the information needed to help understand how the dream can help you, and which areas of your life are the most significant.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist