Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What we know so far........

After studying some of the scientific literature on dreams, we know how dreams relate to waking life based on comparisons to normative data. That is, a sample of dreams are compared to a large sample of "norms". Research has linked specific dream imagery to waking life circumstances. For example, we know that the dreams of people will a specific illness differ from people without that illness. Research has also examined dream meaning and has found valuable and useful techniques for clinical practice. Dream therapy has become a mainstream tool for both therapist-guided and self-guided therapies. Knowing what you know now about dreams, dream research, and dream therapy, how has this changed your paradigm of the science of dreaming and consciousness (if it has at all!)?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dream with sexual imagery: What do they mean?

Interestingly, dreams with sexual imagery are one of the most common forms of imagery yet very little empirical research was devoted to them. Writers hypothesized, wrote about and pontificated about them with little empirical evidence of why they occur. More recent research has found that about 20% of dreams with sexual imagery are about a sexual relationship and 80% are about a waking day relationship. The waking day information is generally not sexual in nature. For example, discovery about one's spouse (we need to spend more time together), a co-worker (she is the type of partner I would like in my life) or a family member (I need to forgive someone) is the most common form of meaning. Furthermore, discovery is usually not related to the target in the dream but to a waking day relationship. How might this information help clinicians when working with people in therapy?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Dreams of The Bereaved

When a loved one passes away, a common experience is that the bereaved will have dreams of the person in specific patterns. For example, a person may dream that the loved one is not actually dead, or, has come back to life. Another common dream is that the lost loved one has a important message that is being conveyed in the dream. Though these dreams are often reported by the bereaved, little empirical research has yet examined the exact nature of them and how they affect the dreamer in waking life. Given that grief and bereavement is such an important and profound human process, this area of research and clinical study is especially warranted. A graduate student at Trent University, Josh Black, is now examining the dreams of the bereaved in relation to their grief process. What important elements should be included in his study and how can dream therapy help the bereaved with their loss?

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Continuity Hypothesis of Dreaming

Researchers have long since realized that dream images are produced from the dreamer's own life experiences and personality. Researchers have shown that images are often an extension of waking day thoughts, feelings and behaviours (Dale & DeCicco, 2012; Davidson & Lynch, 2012; Schredl, 2007; Steven et al., 2012). Furthermore, extensive studies with normative data have given researchers a pool of data specifying what specific groups dream about. For example, there is a data set for the dreams of university females, university males, community dwelling adults, people diagnosed with depression and people diagnosed with other disorders. Given what we know about the continuity hypothesis and normative data sets, how would the dream imagery of people with depression differ from the norms, and why?