Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dreams, Death, Dying and Beyond....

When working with terminally ill patients very early on in my professional career I noticed that they often had dreams with religious or spiritual imagery. Patients would tell me that they dreamt of Jesus coming to get them-lovingly taking him or her by the hand and the two of them walking away together. Another would recall the Buddha, smiling and giggling, telling him or her not to worry that he would soon be there. Still others dreamt of beautiful angels coming for them, or a God figure holding and rocking him or her, in peace and tranqility. The imagery appeared to the dreamer in the paradigm that they were most comfortable with in waking day. Though these are some of the hardest dreams to have, to hear, and to accept, they appear to be very much a part of the human experience. Most importantly, these dreams can be of great comfort to the dreamer, as they are often filled with peace and grace. These dreams can also be of great value to the dream worker, as they can help the dreamer go into the imagery and find the deepest longings, wishes, desires and meaning that can be linked to waking life. End of life issues can be difficult to accept but dreams and the inner life of the dreamer can certainly help with this process. By working with death imgery one can accept life more fully and hopefully find meaning in it in order to live every moment of every day to it's fullest.


  1. Io lavorando con i sogni di pazienti terminali ho trovato , forse prima dello stadio che dice Teresa , che è come se la persona tentasse di risolvere i rapporti irrisolti , i nodi emotivi ancora non sciolti ...Una ragazza con tumore all'utero in metastasi sogna di fare una salita in macchina col padre ( figura completamente priva di valore all'interno della sua famiglia ). Alla guida della macchina c'è il padre , al contrario della realtà nella quale il padre non ha mai fatto da guida .
    Arrivano in cima alla collina e trovano un paese ridente...
    Da quando ha fatto questo sogno lei ha visto il padre con altri occhi , capendo cosa il padre aveva sofferto in famiglia.

  2. Donatella says (I am translating here so it may not be completely accurate-please feel free to correct me if need be) that in her work with terminal patients she has found similar resuls with dream work. In her example, a girl with a tumor in the uterus (metastasis) dreams that she is going down a slope in a car with her father (a completely neglectful figure in the family). The driver of the car is her father; which is completely opposite in reality, since her father has never served as a guide.
    They arrive on top of a hill and they find a laughing/happy town. When she had this dream she saw her father with other eyes, understanding how her father had suffered in the family.

    Donatella's case study is a fantastic example of how dreams can bring forth deep underlying emotions but also, solutions and new perspectives for waking day issues. When working with the very ill or the dying, dreams become pivotal in helping with important waking day issues that need to be solved. Dreams act as a very fast pathway for getting to core issues and resolving them in a timely fashion. This in itself, yields dream work as invaluable as it can help patients find peace and resolution at this critical time.