What comes to mind when you think of the word DREAM? For some, it may bring up thoughts of the future and potential achievements, while for others it may be reoccurring nightmares or nightly dreams that they just can’t shake. And of course, there are the daydreamers… There are so many meanings to this single word that we delve into, so today I would like to focus on the meaning of dreams that occur at night.
Reoccurring dreams or nightmares can be haunting and confusing - Why do I keep having the same dream? What does it really mean? What does this say about me and about my life?
Many different theorists in the world of psychology have come up with different ways to view and interpret our dreams. The first person that comes to mind when thinking of dream theories is Freud. He wrote the book ‘Interpretation of Dreams’, which stated that our dreams were a way of fulfilling our desires that we kept repressed in our subconscious. He believed that our dreams, both good and bad, held hidden meanings within them. Seems intriguing, right? Well not to everyone, apparently. McClarley and Hobson had a different theory when it came to dreams, and it was the opposite of Freud’s. Their theory is known as the Activation-Synthesis Theory and it states that our brain circuits being activated during REM sleep cause our dreams. Though this theory looks at dreams as mainly random firings within the brain, they do believe that some dreams could be useful.
These are just two of the many theories out there that discuss dreams, their origin, and whether or not they hold meaning. However, sometimes when our dreams are distressing we need a little bit more than a theory to help us understand and process their distressing nature. That’s where we can help! As counselors, we can help you walk through those dreams and build the tools necessary to process them. One of the best tools to start your work is to keep a dream journal. We can also help you through creating your own journal.