Thursday, November 1, 2012

Working with Dreams in Psychotherapy (Hill)

Dr. Clara Hill is a professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland. In her book, "Working with Dreams in Psychotherapy" she provides clinically tested methods for exploring dreams with patients in psychotherapy. Her method is not self-guided like The Storytelling Method or The 2A Method, but rather, a psychotherapist is needed to work with the patient. Her method is appropriate for clinical practice since it helps people deal with waking day issues at a deeper level. When should a person use the self-guided methods and when should they use therapist-guided methods?

55 comments:

  1. Self-guided methods allow one to discover hidden, unclear or suppressed thoughts, feelings and, emotions. Self-guided methods can be very powerful if used correctly, however, if we hold deeply hidden emotions, for example, we may not come to discovery with the use of a single self-guided method. However, if we use a couple of self-guided methods in conjunction, chances are that we will gain more insight and come to realization.

    Therapist guided methods should be used if at this point one still does not come to significant realization… Chances are this would be a sign of extreme suppressed emotion, stemming from a traumatic event, causing a “blind spot.”

    Extreme, intense emotions in one’s dreams/unconscious can create a concrete divide between a dreamer linking important connections of their dream(s) to their waking day life. For example, if one dreams about being in pain or out of control, they may wish to use a self-guided method to help in psychological processing where they can root out blind spots, and subconscious blockages, or even vulnerabilities. However, if there is no progress by means of at least a couple of self-guided methods in combination, then one may need a therapist-guided method to help them become conscious of their rooted issue as they are most likely severe and creating a block between realization.

    This kind of reminds me of “complicated denial” or more commonly, “DGD (Prolonged Grief Disorder).” Typically one uses denial as a self-protect mechanism, however, when denial becomes so intense that thoughts become suppressed for months or even years, the grieving process is interrupted…just as the linking process in dream interpretation would be; in either case, it would be appropriate for a therapist to intervene, so to speak.

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  2. I think that the deciding factor in whether someone should use self-guided or therapist-guided methods is whether or not intense trauma is involved. If a person who has not been exposed to a traumatic event is interested in interpreting their dreams, then self-guided methods such as the Storytelling Method would be very useful for gaining insight into how these dreams relate to waking life. However, if a person has experienced trauma and interpreting their dreams could lead to re-living (and potentially intensifying) the negative emotions, therapist-guided methods would be preferable. That way, the therapist will be there to help decipher the dreams in a way that will minimize further mental harm to the dreamer, and to help them deal with any emotions that discovery may bring. Interpreting dreams with potentially traumatic significance could be emotionally damaging if someone were to obtain discovery and not know how to mentally process the traumatic content.

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    1. I fully agree, if a patient who suffered some form of mental trauma tried to do self-interpretation of their dreams... It might lead them to have more stress and trauma because they might not understand the dream or they'll relive the event again. I also believe that the dream may be too difficult for them to understand alone. So maybe the therapist can help show the the way and aid them in seeing the dream as not a retelling of the event, but more of a gateway to finding the solution to their problem.

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  3. While both self-guided and therapist-guided therapies assist individuals in exploring their dreams, there are times when therapist-guided therapy should be sought out. Using self-guided methods may be difficult as individuals can’t often face challenging or painful aspects of their dreams. As a result, painful aspects of dreams may be ignored or not fully understood and dream discovery may be denied. When addressing any dream content that is difficult to reveal or disturbing to the individual, having a therapist to support individuals through the discovery process is advantageous. Individuals suffering from troubling dreams that interfere with their daily functioning should also seek therapist-guided methods. For example, an individual suffering from PTSD may have detailed and disturbing dream content from their war experiences that would benefit from a therapists expertise and support. If an individual has used self-guided methods in the past with little discovery success, turning to therapist-guided methods may be beneficial. Self-guided methods may be used with dream content that is personal or embarrassing to the dreamer and may not be expressed when working with a therapist. An advantage of this method is that only the dreamer is able to interpret their dream and sharing their discovery is optional. The self-guided method may also be an excellent option for individuals who are interested in dream analysis and wanting to better understand dream content that is straightforward and moderate in nature.

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  4. I completely agree with Tracey’s post; dreamers that have suffered traumatic events in their waking life should definitely seek help through therapist-guided methods.

    Therapist-guided methods will allow the dreamer to go through the steps slowly and safely. If the individual were to do these themselves through the self-guided methods they may be doing more harm, which in turn would make their dreams intensify and cause more anxiety and fear in their waking life; they may be not emotionally and mentally ready to face their interpretation within their dreams. The therapist-guided method will allow the dreamer to face their dreams gradually at a safe pace to begin their healing process and to stop the dreams.

    Self-guided methods are very useful and informative if the dreamer’s dreams are merely representation/interpretations of their waking life events such as relationships, work, and home. Self-guided methods are very useful to help us to better understand our direction in our waking lives.

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    1. You raise a very good point,Christina. A person could potentially do more harm by using the self-guided methods if they reach a discovery they are not ready to face. Just from the dream interpretations we've been doing with our assignments, I know I have already reached a discovery that I was unprepared for. At the time, I was home alone and it was difficult reaching such a discovery and having no one around to talk to or comfort me.

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  5. I think therapist-guided methods are most likely more suitable for those individuals who suffer from some type of psychological distress, or even mental illness. I think it would be difficult for those who suffer from some type of illness to be able to conduct self-guided dream analysis (as stated earlier in discussions and lectures that symbolism for those who suffer from mental illness is quite different than from those who do not). A therapist would be able to help structure and organize certain emotions, or patterns happening in the dreams, and help those individuals understand what is happening in their unconscious/unfiltered mind.
    I know that personally from having suffered from depression in previous years of my life, that often I wouldn't be able to differentiate real 'normal' feelings from the feelings derived from the illness itself. So I think a therapist would be able to help an individual figure outhow the illness or distress of in dividual is projecting within the dream.

    Self-guided interpretation, is good for better understanding of ourselves, and self-discovery for people who do not suffer from illness of traumatic events. I think it is important for everyone to understand what is happening on all levels of consciouness and fully explore the power of their own thoughts and minds. I also think that self-guided techniques are very important to better understand our emotions. I think it is common for many people to have difficulty articulating the entirety of their emotions, or feelings towards cretain waking day situations, dreams can help to illustrate and uncover this

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  6. I think self-guided methods should be used only when a person is trying to use dreams to understand themselves. Or maybe use the interpretation of their dreams to make choices in their life, such as their relationships or career. To me, a self-guided method can be used at leisure and to just bring more insight into our own life, either from past or current events.Self-guided methods may be easier to use for those who do not wish to share certain content with others (like Tracey said).

    Now, for therapist-guided methods, I believe that this should be used for various reasons. It should be used when someone is having difficulty interpreting their dreams, that way, a therapist may help guide them to better and more understandable interpretations. It should be used for those who have recurring dreams and their attempts at interpretation have not stopped these dreams. That way the therapist can act as the guide and help ease the dreamer away from this recurring problem. Another issue in which therapist-guided interpretation should be used, is for those who have mental disorders and/or traumas. They may have too much emotional stress placed upon them to interpret their dreams, or the dreams may be too stress-inducing for them to interpret alone. It may be too emotionally difficult for them to do alone, so a therapist can be both the guide and the confidant for the patient. The therapist can also guide them in what steps the patients should take in order to move past their issues and use the dreams as a source to better understand their issues and eventually solve them.

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  7. I guess it depends on what "clinically tested meathods for exploring dreams" actually means? Does it mean she is helping someone dig deeper into the dream, and simply exploring what the person is possibly dreaming about? Or is she providing empirically proven "theraputic" results that are helpful to the patient? It would also depend on what the person is looking for. Do they only require a self-help level of exploration where if they are a little (to incredibly) mistaken about the interpretation it wouldn't do that much harm? Or is there a serious psychological or emotional issue at hand that requires professional help, therapy, and potential medication? It all depends on the level of care the patient requires.

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    1. I have a feeling that this was mainly a general question when it came to therapy-guided interpretation, but you still bring up good questions :).
      I believe that there may be a type of therapy for dream interpretation for all of these questions that branch out from a main area of interest, that being therapist-guided interpretation.
      I do agree that it depends on what the patient requires but it also depends greatly on the patient if they are willing to expose their issues to a therapist. Only then will the therapist understand what type of care the patient requires. :)

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    2. I know what you mean Katie. It's just that in the field I work in, I see a lot of people that require professional help that think they can follow the do-it-yourself model of therapy. If it's nothing that really requires any help, great and have at it. The problem is there are those that really do need a lot of help (and I mean years of help as well as possible medication) through therapy and they don't seek it, thinking they can just get a book at Chapters and fix themselves. That is a very dangerous combination.

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    3. Good question(s)Scott, I had the same inquiries. I blogged about my beliefs on therapist-guided methods; suggesting that perhaps someone may need to use the therapist-guided method if they could not gain any insight through combinations of self-guided methods. But then again, if we are supposed to be the best interpreters of our own dreams, then what would we need a therapist for? Maybe it would be good to just have them there for professional support? I guess if a victim of a traumatic event hit breaking point and went into a severe anxiety attack after realization; it might be good to have one around.

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  8. I pesonally feel that an individual shouldnt use the self-guided methods when they suffer from any type of mental illness because this method is used for when an individual is trying to understand themselves and when they look more into their dream, it maybe more traumatic for them and it will also be very hard for them as well.

    As for the therapist-guided methods this method is useful for when a person is having a hard time trying to interpret their dream and cant figure out what their dream means and needs guidance. This method may also be a great method for an individual who is having the dream over and over again and cant figure out why this is happening so often. Since the therapist is there, they can give the individual whatever guidance they need, whether it maybe through getting over the dream and issues they may have in waking day events or maybe an interpretation of the dream.

    I also agree with Scott, he brings up some good questions and points.

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  9. I guess it depends on whether or not the dreamer is able to reliably interpret their own dreams without becoming upset or distressed in some way.

    That said, I think that the intervention of a therapist is (like in any situation) only required when the person risks doing themselves harm by introspecting without guidance. If the dreamer is at risk of forming dream interpretations that are very maladaptive, therapy could be an option.

    It's broader than just trauma, I think. Justification for therapist-guided methods of dream interpretation could come from something that is more of a minor deficit in cognition that may prevent a person from interpreting their own dreams in a beneficial way.

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  10. Many people have brought up the idea that some people may find the self-guided methods difficult or hard to interpret, I agree. I think they are useful in some situations however I know when I was doing some of the labs for this course, I found myself questioning what my discovery meant or if it was even a discovery. It probably varies from person to person but I was always afraid I was doing something wrong. But there are definitely some advantages such as privacy. Obviously when doing the self guided methods, you don't have to share your dream with anyone and can be completely honest with yourself. Some people when in therapy may hold things back fearing that the psychologist may find something wrong.
    I feel that both methods can be successful and I think that the dreamer will get the most success from the method that they feel most comfortable using.

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  11. I think whether you should use a self-guided or therapist-guided method depends on whether you are able to deal with the outcome of the dream interpretation. As others have said, using a self-guided method can be useful when the dream is communicating something just below the surface, such as a suppressed emotion, or a stressor a person has been ignoring. In this case, the self-guided method is useful to the person using it because once the dream interpretation is complete and discovery has occurred they can use this information to help improve their life. However, even if discovery can be found with a self-guided method, that doesn’t mean that the dream interpreter will be able to deal with this new discovery.

    I think anytime a person is otherwise considering clinical assistance (such as for depression, anxiety, etc) they should be using a therapist-guided method of dream interpretation. In addition, anytime someone uses a self-guided method of interpretation and is uncomfortable with their discovery, or does not find discovery, they should consider a clinical method of dream interpretation. Having a therapist aid in the process can help the person work through any uncomfortable issues that surface during discovery.

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  12. Self-Guided method may be difficult to use, but in some circumstances may be beneficial! Self-guided method may be difficult to use in circumstances which you dream about people you are in an argument with, or when dreaming about stress... this may be difficult because it is sometime hard to look into the deeper meaning. If one is dreaming about stressful situations, and they are a student, they may just assume these dreams come from being stressed at school...when in reality, there could be a much deeper meaning that that person is failing to look into because they are convinced its regarding school or work. This is when the therapy guided method would come in handy. Therapy methods help the person look into the deeper meaning which may be behind the reasons for their dreams. This may be beneficial for people who suffer from depression, anxiety and various other mental disorders that may inhibit one from being able to clearly and fully interpret their own dream. Although the therapy method can be very beneficial, i think it is important for self-guided methods to help one become more in-touch with ones own feelings. For reoccurring dreams, where self-guided methods are not working, this would be a good example of when therapy guided methods would be beneficial. Both these methods are important to help discover the true meaning behind various dreams.

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  13. I believe that self-guided dream interpretation should be used when people want to know what a random dream means. Perhaps if a dreamer has mainly happy dreams and then one night has a very intense and frightening dream, they would be able to use self-guided dream interpretation to figure out what that frightening dream meant and this could reveal something in their waking day life that might be unconscious to them. The self-guided method is also useful for people who are interested in dream interpretation and would like to look at their dreams at a deeper level but who are not suffering from any emotional conflict due to their dreams – like students who are taking a dreaming course!

    Therapist-guided dream interpretation should be used to people who are having recurring dreams, especially those which bring intense negative emotions and anxiety. A therapist would be able to use methods which would help the dreamer bring unconscious fears and anxieties to light. This might be something that dreamer wouldn’t be able to do on their own. I also believe that people who are suffering from severe psychological problems, such as PTSD and major depression, should use a therapist-guided method as it would probably be more effective to bring unconscious anxieties or stressors and manifest them into consciousness.

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  14. I think if someone is having dreams or nightmares that are effecting their waking day lives in a negative way for a long period of time they should use therapist-guided methods. For instance, someone with PTSD who is having severe nightmares should use therapist-guided methods rather than self-guided-methods. Self-guided methods are for interpretation and self-discovery but in some cases people need more than that from their dreams. Mostly if the dreams are negative you’d seek further help than self-discovery and relating your dreams to your waking day life. I also think if a person has a mental illness and their dreams/nightmares are causing their symptoms to be worse than seeking therapist-guided methods would be the best option.

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  15. I agree with michelle. If the individual cannot cope with the issues in their life to the point that it begins to effect how they function on a daily basis, this should be looked after by professional psychotherapists rather than using self- guided methods.

    The individual may not find the answers that they need if they try to work out why they are having certain issues, but a therapist could guide them to better understand the meanings behind each feeling or thought that occurs.

    If you are able to cope and maintain a healthy lifestyle eventhough there are issues within your life, I would personally use the self-guided methods.

    These factors are also looked at when determining whether someone has psychological abnormalities; if the individual cannot function normally on a daily basis, such as proper hygiene stops, they seclude themselves from people, they start to hear voices... these are some things that can become a great concern down the road.

    Overall, psychotherapy is also an interesting method for individuals to better understand their waking lives,as the therapist works one on one with the individual, or can even involve group therapies.

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    1. I agree with you Jenelle. If an individual tries to cope with issues on their own, and realize that it isn't getting anywhere than they should seek professional help within a psychotherapist.

      However, with that said, realistically I think it's a lot easier said than done. I say this because there are a great big chunk of people in the world who look at psychotherapist "side-ways." That is they don't believe in them, or feel that they are a waste of time as they could deal with issues on their own. I think this would be more of a time when an individual can deal with their own self-guided issues.

      I do believe, as Jenelle stated that if it comes to a point where there are psychological abnormalities of a deeper level, than a person should most defiantly consider professional help.

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  16. I think that the self-guided method is more beneficial when the issues are minor and rely more internally. Therapy-guided method is more benefical for more intense issues.

    A person might go the self-guided route because of a fear of failing an exam. This method could be helpful because the person is internally fearing that they will do poorly. Since it is an internal fear the person can learn how to cope and how to plan for studing themselves.

    A person who has a fear of snakes would be better off with a therapist. Since it is a bigger fear this person is less likely to try to overcome it by themselves. The use of a therapist will allow the person to be pushed at specific and certain times in a way they can handle, by doing so they can possibly overcome their fear.

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  17. The discussion so far definitely captures my opinion in regards to introspective in contrast with professional guidance in dream analysis. Professional attention is definitely more effective for those who are unable to reach insight comfortably on their own.

    In cases where nightmares are taking place, I believe it'd be helpful to the individual to reach out for assistance. The nightmares can be causing him/her distress and thus, have repercussions such as interrupting one's sleep. Those who suffer from PTSD or have experienced life trauma are likely in need of a professional's service. Likewise, those who are having repeated symbolism/dreams means an individual is not recognizing an unconscious thought. If one has used multiple methods of dream interpretation & are still lacking insight, a professional may be better suited to guide an interpretation. For example, I remember an instance where a friend was dreading going to sleep each night in early adulthood because a recurring dream was causing her so much discomfort. When there are evidently deep concerns causing distress, a professional is better off guiding the therapy.

    For those who are looking to understand their dream imagery for sake of interest, or those who are not affected in functioning due to the dream content, I think it's definitely a responsibility of the self to work through the interpretation. It's a fulfilling process and those who are able to see it through on their own will benefit more by doing so.

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  18. I believe a person should only use any method when they have a pretty decent understanding of the approaches and what the outcomes can be. As we have learnt sometimes things can get overwhelming for people who are not equip to handle the possible revelations that come from this. The therapist guided would be of good use for, like mentioned above patients undergoing psychotherapy, as well as people who are experiencing great trauma in their lives or who maybe have other psychological conditions (nightmares, insomnia, etc). A therapist would not only be able to guide a person through the method but also help people cope, interpret, and understand what their dreams might be revealing to them for their waking day life. With the self-guided approaches I believe they are better left to those who are just interest a greater understanding of what their dreams reveal to waking day life. I want to say the self-guided approach is best for 'normal' people, but that is probably going to be taken out of context, so I think maybe the 'common folk' or 'everyday person' might be more appropriate.

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  19. I think that, everybody should at least give self-guided methods a try before using therapist-guided methods. This is because self-guided methods such as The Storytelling Method allow individuals to independently interpret and analyze their dreams. The individual option of self-guided methods provides individuals the freedom to construct their own opinions and personally reflect on their dream contents without the influence of therapists. I think that self-guided methods are suitable for interpreting daily and regular dreams that can easily be interpreted with the self-guided methods.

    However, I think that therapist-guided methods can be beneficial as well. For instance, if a person has tried using the self-guided method and wasn’t able to fully understand the deeper meaning of their dreams, perhaps it is best to turn to using therapist-guided methods. This is because therapist-guided methods would be able to assist dream interpretation to achieve the level of discovery. In addition, therapist-guided methods are also helpful for individuals who are keen on developing a deeper and more significant meaning of their dream interpretation.

    Furthermore, therapist-guided methods are especially handy if dreams are considered to be disruptive to waking life. For example, if nightmares are recurring very frequently, it is best to seek for therapist-guided methods to help overcome the occurring nightmares. In addition, therapist-guided methods can also be beneficial for individuals who have suffered through trauma (EG: PTSD, abuse etc), as their waking-life experiences may be relevant to their dream contents.

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    1. I agree with your point that everyone should be open to using the self-guided method. I think people should try the self guided methods first. These methods are very reliable, they help people discover how images of their dreams are directly relate to personal life circumstances. These self guided methods also "guide" the dreamer to uncover conscious meanings from their dream.

      I believe therapist-guided methods are very useful too, since not all people are aware that their dreams relate to aspects in their waking day life. Dream therapists have a lot to offer someone who is distressed about a dream or
      experienced a traumatic event in their life. A dream therapist would be helpful for people not only having a trauma but people of all types of dreams since they attempt to interpret their clients dreams to better their mind and learn more about themselves. I think it would be beneficial for people of all experiences to try dream analysis from therapist and self guided methods.

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  20. People should use the self guided dream interpretation methods when they are just curious about what their dreams mean to them and how they relate to their waking day experience. Another reason a person should do self guided dream interpretation is that if they are just starting to analyze their dreams then they have an inexpensive way to do it. The person will also have a step by step layout that is easy to follow. If someone is shy and doesn't like opening up to people then self guided dream interpretation is for them. If the dreams don't interfere with the rest of the persons life then they should use self guided dream interpretation. A really good book to do that is Teresa's book The Giant Compass because it includes 4 different types of interpretations each one looks at a different side of the dream. They don't take much time to do and they have been proven scientifically to work 80% of the time. With all of the positive benefits from self guided dream interpretation it is worth it to try it first. If none of these methods work and the dreams or nightmares are severe then it may be necessary to use therapist guided ways for dream interpretation.

    A person may need to use therapist guided dream interpretation if they have severe nightmares that occur all the time and are very violent. The person would have to be open to sharing because most therapist guided dream interpretations are done in a group. Someone who has severe PTSD would also be good for this type of dream interpretation because it could take awhile before the person can be able to deal with their feelings. The therapist would be able to gently get the person to come to grips with the trauma in the persons life and be able to safely guide them through the past so that they can deal with the dreams they are having. This way is very time consuming it can last up to 5 years and cost lots of money however, the positive side is that the person will be able to know that they are going in the right direction and the therapist can see things in the dream that maybe the dreamer couldn't see because they were focusing on something else.

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  21. I think that both self-guided and therapist guided dream therapies are useful for exploring dreams. I believe that self-guided therapy should be used when individuals simply want to uncover meaning from their own dreams, and gain insight for their own personal knowledge. Self-guided dream therapy is beneficial because the dreamer does not have to share their dreams with anyone else. Sometimes, people may not be comfortable sharing the content of their dreams with other people. If self-guided therapy is used, the person is not required to share their discoveries with others.

    Therapist-guided therapies should be sought out when a person has extremely frightening, disturbing, or stressful dreams. By speaking with a therapist, the patient can uncover the meaning of these dreams, and benefit for the therapists’ expertise. Therapist-guided therapy can also be used if a person has tried self-guided therapy in the past, and not had any success.

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  22. The self guided method of dream interpretation is a great initial approach to dream analysis because personal reflection of thoughts and images are more accurate than an outsider’s prognosis of what the images and thoughts represent. The therapist may not know the dreamer at all and most likely there is no prior disclosure made by the dreamer to the therapist. The self guided method may present floating ideas or a vague analysis that may need an objective outlook or new perspective. The dreamer may be in search for validation of their own conclusion. A therapist may interpret the same or similar reasoning which may support the dreamer’s acceptance of what they already presumed to be an accurate analysis.

    The therapist does need to encourage safety so that there is a trust base formed prior to dream disclosure. This will promote a more honest introspection so that accurate connections can be made. The dreamer should not feel threatened by any harsh judgments or else the whole procedure will be inaccurate and ultimately pointless. I also think it may be taken into consideration to steer away from ‘dream interpretation’ on the part of the therapist because this may imply that the therapist is interpreting the dreamer’s thoughts which may have a definitive acceptance because it was given by a professional. Dream work would be a more appropriate term so that it suggests it is a collective effort working together to achieve insight.

    I completely agree that reoccurring dreams that cause distress would be the ones where professional help should be sought. Deep seated denial suppresses thoughts that then fester and cause a disturbance of sleep. It may be due to the internalized coping mechanisms that the dreamer has mastered. This subconscious effort has the power to control the suppressed emotion. The intervention by another source may pierce the protective bubble that contains the damaging energies and hence allows the release to begin. This power shift could reduce self blame and then alleviate a sense of helplessness. Discovery needs to made one way or the other. Once the meaning is realized and an insight can be made then the waking day issue can be changed leading to a healthy rest.

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  23. I think that everyone, including those who suffer from psychopathology, should always try using self-guided methods first. In my opinion, these methods provide you with better insight and more discovery when you interpret your dreams because I find that it is more satisfying and effective when you figure something out for yourself and when you draw your own analogies and conclusions than when someone helps guide you through or simply just give you the answer to your problems, which may include psychopathological issues.

    When a person can’t figure something out on their own, or if the dream is causing them significant levels of e.g. distress, I think they should go see a doctor about it because stressing and worrying about things and letting psychological issues go prolonged and undealt with only makes the problem worse and generally lengthens the amount of time it will take to recover.

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  24. Both the self-guided methods and therapist guided methods offer important insights into the patients dream. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the dreams that the patient is having perhaps one method would be more useful over the other.
    With self-guided methods it is possible that the dreamer might be skipping over an important piece of information from the dream without even realizing, so a therapist guided method would give them a different perspective that they might not have considered without the guidance. However a person may choose to withhold information from a therapist because they are uncomfortable with the topic. The part that the patient chooses to withhold may actually be very important to the discovery of the dream so if the person were to use a self-guided method they would be able to include the part in their dream and come to discovery.

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  25. Anne Marie PanowykNovember 6, 2012 at 4:32 PM


    A person should use self-guided methods of dream interpretation if pehaps they are looking into more personal details of waking life that they don't necessarily want anyone else to know. Like many of my peers have mentioned, if one is unable to get discovery on their own, perhaps they can then consider if they are comfortable sharing their dreams with someone else if they feel comfortable sharing such intimate details.

    If they are really comfortable with sharing their dreams and its imagery then it may be safe to see to use therapist-guided methods before trying self-guided methods. Although no one can necessarily tell you exactly what your dreams mean, hearing other's interpretations or talking to one about issues in waking life may lead one to important insight.

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  26. I think that a person should use the self guided methods to interpret their dreams if they are looking at a self improvement basis or to satisfy personal curiosities or such. I agree with what a lot of people have already said that if the dreams are not harming the dreamer in any way then it is not as important for them to seek out professional help in interpreting their dreams. In these cases the self guided methods would be best.
    However, if the dreamer is experiencing intensified negative emotions, has gone through a traumatic event or the dreams are in any way harming the dreamer, then they should most definitely look into using therapist guided methods as opposed to self guided. In these cases where there is a negative effect coming from the dream it is important that the dreamer get help with their interpretations for mainly safety reasons as well to get a deeper understanding of the dream so that a solution or process can be created to help the dreamer more or more quickly then they may have been able to do it themselves.

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  27. Stephanie SchuelerNovember 7, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    Self-guided dream interpretations can help people to more deeply understand their dreams and why they may be having them. They are a good way of providing stronger insight for a person, but there are surely times where it may not be enough.
    I think it would be valuable for a person to seek a therapists help with their nightmares if their daily lives are being extremely affected by them and it is having a debilitating effect on their daily productivity. As some posts above have mentioned, when there are mental illnesses involved such as PTSD, it would be valuable to work with another person not just to help with the mental illness but how it is affecting their dreams.
    I think that even when working with a therapist, the self-help methods being used at the same time could also be beneficial to get the maximum interpretations of their dreams and bringing these to the therapists attention could help them with working with the patient as well.

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  28. As mentioned above by many, both self-guided and therapist guided methods of dream interpretation will have a specific time and place for their use. I feel that self-guided dream interpretation is used for more personal reflection on one’s waking life; a private reflection that one can contemplate and make sense of by themself. I feel that individuals can engage in self-interpretation of their dreams when they are just looking for insight into simple matters in their daily waking life.
    I think that therapist guided dream interpretation should be used when the individual is having major difficulties in their waking life, nightmares, or like others have said when the individual has been through a traumatic event. A therapist will provide an outsider opinion; will be able to look at the dream and the waking life issues of the dreamer without bias. Sometimes therapist guided dream interpretation methods should be used when the dreamer will be too emotionally invested in what they think it means, and will not step back and take a look at the larger picture, in order to properly analyze how it relates to their waking life.

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  29. I think that self-guided methods should be used when the person is trying to gain some insight into their dreams that can explain their lives. If they are relatively aware of the type of person they are, where their lives are going, and they are relatively in touch with their emotions then the self-guided methods should be sufficient enough to help this person to reveal the true meanings behind their dreams.

    If the person is going through a period of their life where they are confused about various aspects of their lives, they may be going through a major life transition, grief, or some kind of stressful situation this is where a therapist guided method would be necessary. As we have learned, there are many layers to a dream that can be interpreted by the person and because of the situations that this person is going through their dreams may be interpreted incorrectly or not at a deep enough level. Also if the person is not in touch with their emotions and hasn't reached a level where they understand themselves and know who they are, the therapist-guided method would also be helpful for this person so that they can interpret their dreams correctly and they can be helpfully applied to their lives.

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  30. I think when a person has had a true trauma in their lives, therapist-guided methods can be used. It isnt always easy to deal with an issue in your life without someone to help you see it in a different perspective. The therapist guided methods would be a great way to do this and allow for the person to analyze their dreams in a different way.
    The self-guided methods can still be used for dealing with issues that arise in a person`s life as long as that person has the ability to stay in a centered place while getting into the details of their dreams. If the person is unstable it would most likely be a better option for them to use the therapist -guided methods. This would create a safer environment for people and possibly gain an outlook, they didnt have before.

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  31. A person should use the self-guided methods of dream interpretation when trying to interpret their everyday dreams. The Storytelling Method and the 2A Method have been proven to be very effective and user friendly (DeCicco, 2008). These methods should be used by individuals who are simply just interested in knowing what their dreams are telling them, with the dreams having no detrimental effects on their waking life. A person using the self-guided method may be looking to find insights on their relationships, careers, or just their own emotions. The Storytelling method can also be used by individuals with health problems, proving to be effective in identifying complications or remissions (DeCicco, 2008).

    Therapist-guided methods should be used for more complicated dream imagery and by those who are experiencing damaging effects of their dreams in their waking lives. Individuals suffering from a trauma may benefit from a therapist-guided method because the therapist can provide support and understanding so the dreamer does not feel like they are facing their trauma alone. Individuals dealing with mental illness or mental and/ or physical disabilities may benefit from a therapist-guided method if they are unable to read, write, or demonstrate understanding of the process. Another reason a person may seek a therapist-guided method is if they had no luck reaching discovery using self-guided methods and are interested in reaching discovery another way.

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  32. Dream interpretation as the Giant Compass suggests, is and should be a very personal thing since it is most often used when people are looking to find hidden meanings and suppressed emotions and feelings in their dreams. For this reason I believe that self guided interpretation should as often as possible be done first before even thinking about using therapist guided methods. Personally I agree with many of the previous posts which suggest that therapist guided methods should only be used when the dreamer is having difficulty with interpreting their dreams and may need some professional assistance in doing so. I also agree that if a person is having severe difficulties in finding meaning in their dreams that this could be a sign of severely suppressed emotions which may be better dealt with in the care of a professional therapist since trauma could be involved. I also agree that people should begin to use therapist guided methods when their dreams and dream imagery start to negatively impact their waking life since a therapist could better offer support and understanding to these individuals rather then the person dealing with it all by themselves.

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  33. I think self-guided methods are appropriate in most circumstances when people are dealing with personal problems, life stresses, or out of general personal interest. However, if there are deeper issues that the person feels they should talk to someone about, then I think that guided interpretations with the assistance of a trained psychotherapist are the best option to help get to the deeper psychological meanings within the dreams. It helps too that the therapists is involved in other communication with the patient, so that they may have a more complete picture of the patient's life and any problems that may be occurring. That said, for the vast majority, self-guided dream interpretation should be just fine and can provide an interesting window into the subconscious and unconscious realms.

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  34. It is important to understand and interpret ones dreams when dealing with a stressful time. If an individual is dealing with issues in their life and their dreams are being affected I believe that they should start to use a self guided method of dream interpretation. In addition if an individual as never used dream therapy before they should start off with using a self guided method. This will help them to understand how the method works and how to successfully steer their dream towards interpretation. Using self guided methods also allow for personal interpretation and discovery, which can help many people do not want to share their dream imagery. When someone unsuccessfully uses self guided methods they should use a therapist guided method or some sort of method were they talk to a second party. Allowing an individual to talk openly about their dream may cause better interpretation and discovery. In addition people suffering from traumatic events should also consult with a therapist to interpret their dream imagery and make sure they are working towards discovery and therapy to get better.

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    1. I agree, it is difficult sometimes to let someone else interpret something that is so personal like a dream. The self-guided method would be a good start to begin to feel comfortable exploring dreams before allowing someone else to interpret your dream for you.
      I also agree that individuals who are suffering from something traumatic should look into dream interpretation with a therapist that way there is the added bonus of receiving help as well as dream interpretation.

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  35. I believe the self-guided methods would be useful for someone who is very open and willing to explore the methods. It takes a lot to open up and explore true feelings that can result from ones dream and to not be afraid of the results. If an individual is worried they won't like that they find this could bias the result and make the method results moot. Self-guided methods are also useful for those who are looking for quicker answers and are not interested in very deep revelations. Not that the self-guided methods cannot produce real information about daily waking life but the results may not be as deeply emotional without help.
    With the therapist-guided method, individuals who don't want to explore alone should invest in this method. A therapist would be able to pull together deep seated emotions lying within dreams because they are professionals and have worked with many dreams before. Someone who is just started out and trying the methods may not be as able to extract such emotions because they are not as experienced. Being with a therapist could also prove relaxing as they can tell you what the dream means rather then being confused whether or not the analysis from the self-guided method is correct. Therefore those who are worried about what they might find could benefit from a therapist-guided method.

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    1. I agree with you I think that there are pros and cons on an individual basis to which method would work best for people and I think that it is important for them to discover which method would help them discover meaning in their dream.

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  36. I believe that both self-guided and therapist guided methods are very useful. I think that the self-guided method is a great resource however it can be very difficult to interpret the dreams and in this case a therapist-guided method would be quite useful. The self-guided method is very good for people that are interested in their dreams and people that are open to exploring the methods and themselves to find meaning in the dream. This method can also be done on ones own time and can give an answer to the dream quickly and inexpensive.

    The therapist-guided method can be very useful in working through what the person may be thinking and it might be easier for people to find meaning to the dream then they would on their own. This is also much more costly then a self guided method. This method is also a good way to ensure that people reflect on their dream and make sure that they are following the steps correctly so they can be as accurate as possible and have as much success as possible in interpreting their dream.

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  37. I believe using therapist-guided methods are more geared towards: 1) clinical cases of psychopathology and 2) those who want in-depth analysis and discovery from another source. With therapist guided methods, if people are in distress or experiencing any sort of loss of daily function over their lives, these methods may be able to pinpoint causes and subsequent treatment. The goals for both methods are different. Self-guided methods are used to gain insight to everyday problems, while therapist-guided methods can be used to solve and clinically treat everyday problems. With self-guided methods, the client is an active agent for change. Through therapist-guided methods, the therapist moderates treatment and discovery. Having a professional psychotherapist could offer a second opinion if self-guided treatments do not lead to discovery. If a client has tried and exhausted all methods of self-guided methods without any progress, then a psychotherapist may also be suited. However, therapist-guided methods may be uncomfortable for some, because they operate on such a deep, personal level. Issues that are not yet realized, that operate beneath the surface (such as traumatic incidences) could be fully realized by the therapist. This would lead to discovery, but it may be unpleasant for the client. Alternately, it could also start a path to recovery.

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  38. I believe that the self-guided method should always be an individual’s first attempt, and if there is no discovery this is when the therapist-guided methods can be sought out. When an individual is using the self-guided method, they may also be confused with what the results showed or denial may occur. In addition, what may also cause someone to consider a guided method would be if they have suffered a traumatic event and believe they need more emotional support. By going to a psychotherapist, the individual will be in a supportive environment and if discovery occurs it will be done safely. The psychotherapist can also suggest additional resources that would be beneficial for the person if needed.

    In addition, if a therapist-guided method was used a dream journal would be needed. I think that by having a dream journal in place it would allow the therapist to have a clearer picture of how the dreams have progressed, and common themes that are present throughout. It would also allow the dreamer to recall the details of the dream clearer and see if these events relate to specific waking day issues. Overall, if an individual believes that a therapist-guided method would be helpful, the idea should be encouraged as a more in-depth discovery could occur.

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  39. Except for the situation of psychosis dream interpretation may be shown to be resourceful to the individual in terms of self-help, or with the accompaniment of a therapist who assists in problem solving. I would imagine self-help could be beneficial at all levels of analysis, from body/mind to existential dimensions as long as the dreamer understands that it was an intuitive process, whereby there may not be perfect alignment, but rather a signalling is taking place that provokes attentional faculties of the waking mind. Yet, hypothetically if the individual was self-diagnosing, or predicting their own symptomology, this could be problematic, and would probably not be most reliable. However, the recommendation that the service of a practitioner be taken for an empirically based, detached analysis ensuring more reliability would disempower people to use the tools at their disposal. Taken together, I would propose self-help always be supplemented by a therapist in regards to assumed abnormality, and replaced by a therapist in the case of psychosis where a greater distinction may need to be articulated.

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  40. Self-guided dream therapy techniques can be really helpful as a starting technique to release emotions that relate to waking day events. Once these emotions are released they can be quite powerful and should they cause distress and substantial discovery which could impact your emotions then you should seek help through guided dream therapy techniques. Self-guided are useful because not everyone may feel comfortable sharing their personal and intimate dreams with others. Therefore it allows for an avenue where people can analyze in their own comfort zones without others. However, there are instances where guided dream therapy could be helpful should your dreams cause you considerable distress and possible insomnia. I believe at this point people should seek a therapists to help them with their dreams and discoveries to waking day events.

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  41. I agree with Heather that self-guided dream interpretation techniques would be a useful place to start because these methods are easier to complete and cheaper as well. Therefore people should see if self guided methods can lead to discovery. However, often dreams are too complex to reach discovery through only self guided methods and this is when a therapist may be needed. In addition, a therapist could help the dreamer work through extremely emotional dreams because if they were to only use self guided methods they may actually dear discovery and therefore be tempted to not complete dream interpretation. A therapist could provide the support they need to follow through with dream interpretation and then help them deal with the aftermath of discovery.

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  42. A person should use the self- guided method when they are trying to discover something that isn’t painful or hard to deal with. For example if someone is trying to figure out what they want to do with their life, or decide their career choice it would be a good method. However, if you are having problems in waking life and they are showing up in your dreams and they are difficult or painful to deal with it might be best to use a therapist guided method. This would be beneficial if the person discovers something that they don’t know how to deal with because then the therapist can guide them.

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  43. Daiana Locatelli 0405414November 8, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Self-guided methods allow us to discover suppressed memories and emotions. Self-guided methods can be very useful when they are used correctly and all directed instructions are followed. Although if an individual struggles with deeply hidden emotions that we supress to avoid feeling hurt, then we may not achieve discovery with the single self-guided method.

    Therapist guided methods should be used if supressed emotions are too powerful and realization is not achieved, then considering a therapist guided method would most likely solve this issue, that an individual has not been able to on their own using the self guided techniques.

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  44. I think the self-guided method should always be used first to see if any problems can be solved that way. If someone can discover why they have an issue with the self guided technique then they can look for a solution that may be going to a therapist. Since, self-guided is much easier. However, the problem arises when the individual learns that they have a problem but are unable to fix it on their own. Then therapists can use their guided techniques to help the individual.

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  45. I believe that a person should use therapist guided-methods when self guided aren't working. By using a therapist method it gives you a fresh set of eyes. The therapist may be able to something that the patient has been missing while using the self method simply with themselves. That is how people deal with other things in life, so why not in dream therapy. If a patient is struggling, that is when you go and seek professional help, that is if one needs an excuse. As I believe there would also be nothing wrong with always using therapist-guided methods. Both have the positives and negatives, but I do not see one any better than the other.

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  46. The self-guided method of dream interpretation is an excellent way to understand one's waking day emotions, fears, or anxieties. Through self-report and self analysis, an individual can gain insight into their everyday actions and feelings. TSM and the 2A method are excellent initial steps into dream analysis, as they allow for personal reflection on the imagery and not reliance on secondary opinions or interpretation.

    Personally, I believe the self-guided methods of dreaming should be used when the individual is simply trying to better understand their basic needs and wants. TSM and the 2A method are excellent techniques to gaining insight into factors such a romantic relationships, family struggles, phobias, and basic anxiety. Through self-guided interpretation of dreams, the subject can discover self-attributes that may be lying just below the surface of consciousness.

    In contrast, therapist guided techniques of dream interpretation should be used for individuals with deep emotional trauma, extreme phobias, or psychopathy. Such deep emotional and psychological issues may be too powerful to be fully understood and discovered through self-guided methods. Therapist guided techniques allow for a deeper and more intense analysis of dream imagery. Reasoning behind anxiety and phobias can be brought to the surface of consciousness through methodical and personalized stages of dream interpretation.

    Therapist guided techniques are also important when the patient may have very extreme cases of anxiety or trauma. Being in the presence of a clinician allows for patient safety as well as immediate support if the resulting discovery is emotionally painful or frightening.

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