Dreams are a fundamental part of the human experience. From ancient Egypt to modern times, people have long been fascinated by their dreams, and have tried to understand their hidden messages and symbols.
Dream exploration offers a unique way for a therapist and client to work together. While both clients and therapists may have a tendency to fall into familiar left-brained approaches that favor a well-worn autobiographical narrative, unpacking dreams can open up a new reality of symbols, metaphors, hopes, and fears. This more private, intuitive, right-brain-to-right-brain approach may enable a deepening of trust and insight between a therapist and client. Just as Einstein reported that he found his best ideas while walking, perhaps a therapist and client may arrive at new understandings when they shift into a more creative and non-linear mode together.
Though the inner workings of dreams can seem mysterious, their function seems clearer – dreaming helps us make connections. When we dream, we try to solve our problems, and we cast a wider net for solutions than we might while we are awake. When we are free from our daily grind, we can explore multiple perspectives, resulting in a beautiful sense of connectivity. Exploring the connections that come out of dreams may be a key to help us manage emotions or find solutions to old problems.
When a client remembers a dream, I am curious about which strong emotions surfaced, and what those emotions could say about the individual’s current situation. How is the individual looking to find safety, self-esteem, harmony, or continuity? In the dream, what are the blocks to these desired states? What can the dream tell us about using the past to move forward into a healthier future? Dreams give voice to something that is often voiceless in our wakeful state. As a therapist, I try provide a safe space for my client to give voice to their deeper desires that have become clear in dreams.