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Dreams and Dream Work in the Therapeutic Process

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When you are dealing with nightmares, recurring and puzzling dreams, or metaphors that are difficult to decipher, dream work as part of your therapeutic process can be particularly valuable. Dream work is like an expedition in uncharted territory: it helps you create a map of your inner landscape, and uncover treasures from the depths of your psyche’s mysteries. Shedding light on your dreams can be instrumental in the recovery from emotional problems and distress.

Dream work can provide key directions to healing and wholeness. Remembering and understanding your dreams can help you know and care for yourself better by allowing unconscious beliefs into conscious awareness. Healthy choices and decision making may feel less daunting as a result, and the distance between mind and heart no more than a breath.

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Dream work combines the science of the mind with the art of listening to the soul. As articulation of space and time, dreams can be viewed as messengers from our subconscious mind. They can carry and reflect to us energy we have denied ourselves, and help us bring “blind spots” to consciousness.

Dreams can appear to compensate for one-sidedness where we may have become biased in some way. They may add infusions of humour when we’re in need of a good laugh, or wings when we have become rigid or downtrodden in our daily routines. Dreams can also illuminate our automatic coping mechanisms, such as fight, flight, freeze or submit reactions in our relationships. To get our attention, dreams often seem strange, exaggerated, if not bizarre, yet tend to bank on how we use language in waking life to describe our everyday experiences.

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Dreams, with their imagery and symbolism from the deep unconscious, will often pick up health issues long before our conscious mind becomes fully aware that something is going on. We would do well to not discredit such warning signs when they appear. Taking dream signals seriously may prompt a call to a therapist, a physician or other kind of health specialist. Burn-out, mental fatigue and certain somatic illnesses, if detected early, may be “nipped in the bud”, or even prevented, when we pay attention to our dreaming mind.

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When we look at our dreams as uncut jewels rather than dull and garbled nonsense, dream work as part of psychotherapy or psychoanalysis becomes the inner lab for separating the rough from the precious facets of our internal wisdom and riches.

Our psyche bears both distinctly unique as well as culturally shared features. Dreams can show us layers of all aspects, and help us discern how collective issues may be influencing our personal interests and pursuits, quests and limitations.

Among the dream symbols that seem to top the list of shocking or scary are dreams of death and dying. Rarely do they really have anything to do with dying, but rather point the dreamer to an outmoded way of being they must transform. A death dream may thus depict the need for radical change in the dreamer’s life.

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While dream dictionaries can be useful tools for looking up a specific symbol or image, they can also obstruct deeper personal meaning. When you learn to interpret your dreams as your soul’s inimitable form of expression, you create your own source of reference. Gaining intellectual and emotional insight into your dreams in the presence of a knowledgeable therapist can open up abundant possibilities of transforming self-defeating patterns from your past, and strengthen hope for your future.

~Ursula Carsen
RP, CTP Dipl

Choosing the Right Relationship

“The more important domains to consider are personality and values, and when it comes to personality, the key question is how does your potential partner handle stress.”

What Does Mindfulness Meditation Do to Your Brain?

“As the popularity of mindfulness grows, brain imaging techniques are revealing that this ancient practice can profoundly change the way different regions of the brain communicate with each other – and therefore how we think – permanently.”

Loneliness actually hurts us on a cellular level

A scientist explains how the pain of loneliness makes us sick:

Companionship is an asset for human survival, but its mirror twin, isolation, can be toxic. The very cells of people who live through periods of chronic loneliness look different. More specifically, the white blood cells of people who suffer through chronic loneliness appear to be stuck in a state of fear.

February 6th, 2017|Emotional Health, Loneliness|

Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault

“It’s called attachment theory, and there’s growing consensus about its capacity to explain and improve how we function in relationships.”

When I Finish Grieving

“My daily life is the working through of my losses.

My daily life happens on account of what has been taken away.

Everything I have and everything that I have lost is present. And if I can allow myself – that is my heart, body, soul, and mind – to traverse the terrain of myself. Then I am living.

There is no living apart from our losses.”

~ Alison Crosthwait

Why We Need To Talk About High-Functioning Depression

“High-functioning depression is when someone seems to have it all together on the outside, but on the inside, they are severely sad. Carol Landau, PhD, a clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior and medicine at Brown University, says she primarily sees this in women with a penchant for perfectionism—AKA the same people who are likely your colleagues and friends with enviable lives and a long list of personal achievements.

“People often say being ‘high-functioning’ is better than being ‘low-functioning,’ but that’s not really true because the most important thing is for a depressed person to get help—which a high-functioning person is limiting herself from,” Landau says.”

September 29th, 2016|Depression, Emotional Health|

Why Millennials are Ready to Talk it Out

“Organizations like Toronto Psychotherapy Group, whose members provide professional help for a wide array of issues experienced by patients of all ages, are seeing a growing interest in talk therapy from millennials who are concerned about aspects of their mental health…..”

Spiritual Emergency – Treatment of Psychosis

“Current, medical treatments suppress symptoms but long-term use hinders the process of new self-construction…research tells us that we should use our medications carefully, sparingly, and temporarily. We should always use them in conjunction with serious psychotherapy that aims to help personal reintegration (not just superficial ‘counselling’ about ‘how to live with your illness’).

Healing must involve a new integration of deep, inner parts of the person and deep, transpersonal forces beyond the person.”

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    The Play Deficit – Children today are suffering a severe deficit of play

The Play Deficit – Children today are suffering a severe deficit of play

“…But here’s an alternative view, which should be obvious but apparently is not: playing is learning. At play, children learn the most important of life’s lessons, the ones that cannot be taught in school. To learn these lessons well, children need lots of play — lots and lots of it, without interference from adults.”