Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Teeth Are Falling Out-What Can This Mean??

It is very common when working in the field of dream therapy that people will ask what their dreams mean. What does it mean when my teeth fall out? What does it mean when I am flying or falling? Though it is very common for people to want to know from us, can we actually generalize imagery to meaning, or is it specific for the dreamer?

Research has shown that dream images are specific for the dreamer. If a person is dog phobic and dreams of dogs, then likely that dreamer will connect the imagery to fear or anxiety in waking life. For another dreamer, who loves dogs and in fact owns 4 dogs in waking life, dream imagery of dogs will be connected to a different meaning. From what we know so far, we cannot generalize dream imagery to any one meaning and in fact, to do so, diminishes the meaning of dreams. Falling does not translate into waking day anxiety, water does not translate into spiritual matters. Imagery is specific to the dreamer and can ONLY be interpreted by the dreamer himself.

Taking images and making them universal could be one of the major mistakes made by dream workers. Though this is how dream interpretation was practiced in the past, we are now far beyond that work and into a more sophisticated form of interpretation. It is our professional responsibility to guide dreamers to their own meaning and to not stand in the way of that. We do not, and cannot know what a dream means for someone else-no matter how tempting it is to want to do that. Unless the dream is our own, we cannot claim any part of it as our own.

Dream interpretation has moved forward with scientific research practices so we must not stay stuck in the dark ages where dream interpretation was done by the healer, holy man, or shaman. Dreams belong to the dreamer and should be respected as such.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Are Your Dreams Telling You?

Though people have been writing about dreams since the beginning of time, the age old questions remains; what do dreams mean? This area of study, especially scientifically, has only recently come into light. Not surprising in many ways, studies have shown that dream meaning is related to the dreamer's life. Meaning is not random. For example, people who are ill find meaning in their dreams related to health and illness. People in relationships find meaning related to their waking day relations. The meaning of dreams may seem vast and complicated but it appears to be as simple as the salient waking events for the dreamer.

The good news is that dream meanings can be realized and then applied to waking life circumstances. Once a dreamer finds the meaning, this then is the real jewel that gives value to life. The meaning is applied with conscious awareness which means more informed decisions are made. For example, if a woman realizes from her dreams that she is choosing male partners who are controlling, she can then make more informed choices in waking day. She can become aware of her choices and choose differently. With this awareness, a new life path is being created. Dreams bring awareness and awareness brings new choices. New choices means a new life for the dreamer. In terms of dreams and dreaming, it really is the meaning that matters.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When the Mind Sleeps.....

I am often asked by people who are unaware of the mechanism and importance of dreaming what these images could possibly mean. It seems that when the mind sleeps our bodies are resting yet the mind is more active then ever. What could possibly be happening during this time? Scientific studies have shown us that during sleep time, the mind is in fact very active and that while certain parts of the brain are shut down, other parts become very activated. When the mind enters this essential state of sleep, the dreaming mind is then activated.

During dreaming, events of the past, present and future come to life and play out in the dream images. It is here that the life of the dreamer is revealed; uncensored and accurate. If dreams are left to their own devices (without lucidity) then the dreamer's life, emotions, ego-driven circumstances, personality, relationships etc. all become part of the dream scenes.

Research has shown that the personality of the dreamer shapes and forms the images while generating dream stories. The dreamer's personality traits and dimensions drive and sculpt the images. This in itself is very important since most people are unaware or unconscious to much of their own personality. We are all somewhat blind to our true personality and getting to know and understand one's true self is the great journey of life. As we learn about ourselves, befriending all the parts that make us who we are, we then move to a more mature personality. We know what we are good at and we do it. We know what we are not good at, and we find other solutions around them. We find our true purpose in life by acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses and then doing what we were meant to do. That may be raising a healthy, functional family, contributing to a business, painting or sculpting. No matter the medium, it's the message that matters. Dreams carry the messages that tell us who we really are, what we are meant to do, and how to it. We simply have to pay attention.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The International Association for The Study of Dreams-Chicago 2009

As a newly elected memeber of the IASD board I want to thank everyone who voted for me. This position is promising to be very interesting and challenging but most importantly, it is a position where I can give back to a community that has helped me in my work. The International Association for the Study of Dreams is an organization that allows researchers and clinical practitioners from all over the world, a forum to share their work.
IASD is foremost, a platform which allows the scientific investigation of dream consciousness. It is through this process that we as researchers will then share our knowledge with the non-scientific community in the world. Without scientific vigour, we are simply espousing our opinions and as intersting as those may be, they will not bring the realm of dreaming consciousness into global acceptance. Researchers from Germany, Italy, the UK, The United Arab Emerits, and other corners of the globe recently discussed and collaborated this frontier of science in Chicago (June/July 2009).
IASD has a second important factor and that is a place for therapists and applied practitioners to take the knowledge of dream therapy to help others. The value of dream therapy is known to those who work in the field but this work has yet to be incorporated in a fully intergrated manner. The applied work that occurs at IASD is the education element that is so important for application. Of course scientifically testing dream therapy methods makes them even more valuable. Just as new drugs are tested with control designs are new dream therapies tested with similar rigours methods. IASD is a place for professionals and dream-enthusiasts to learn, share, and collaborate on a vital part of the human experience; the dreaming mind.