Are your dreams important to you? Do you remember them? What do you make of them? Perhaps to you they’re just collections of random images, but so many of them make so much sense (when we are able to engage with them) that it's plausible that dreams are information being offered to us by the unconscious. It’s true that the “message” is often craftily encoded and can be hard to “read”; but if we can take a little time and understand what our dreams mean for us, they can be a wonderful way into what's going on in our deepest selves. This isn't to say that it’s simply case of “this image means that” so dream dictionaries are out of the window – that would be someone else telling you what’s going on in your psyche, which is a bit presumptuous surely?!
Only you can say what a dream means for you or how events and images within it leave you feeling. And all of that will depend on your experience of life. Sometimes dreams are so hard to “read” that we don’t get the message the first time around so the subconscious has another go – hence the recurring dream or recurring themes in different dreams. It’s the meanings and feelings you draw from dreams that are the real treasure they offer - if you dream of something which leaves you feeling shaken, what does that something represent in your life? You might not be aware during waking times that this “something” is causing the deep down “shaken” response – time to explore, perhaps.
Many therapists like to work with dreams and will encourage the person they're working with to find their owns meanings, but we may also offer our own thoughts and observations (as well as asking questions) if it seems right to do so. Sometimes, the perspective of a well-meaning observer with no agenda can bring extra depth to your understanding of your dreamworld and therefore ultimately of your conscious one.
If you don’t already, try seeing your dreams as a guide; the mouthpiece of the innermost part of you that really knows what’s best for you. To help remember elusive dreams, some people find it useful to keep pen and paper by the bed and to write down everything they remember about a dream or fragment immediately on waking. Then you can examine the detail at your leisure or with another willing witness.
Related articles from our experts
Amanda Perl MSc Psychotherapist Counsellor MBPsS BACP (Accred) CBT PractitionerOctober 19th, 2017
Rivka MennessonOctober 9th, 2017
Annabelle Hird, MBACPOctober 5th, 2017
Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
Keeley Townsend BA (Hons), Ad.Dip.CP with Distinction, MNCS (Acc)December 14th, 2009
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.