What Is Dream Therapy?
By: Robert Porter
Updated February 04, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
Dreams have the potential to be very interesting, and provide us with some insight into our subconscious. If you are the type of person who vividly remembers your dreams, then you may have questions about whether or not they mean anything. Some people wind up dreaming some pretty off- the-wall stuff, leaving them to wonder, “What was that all about…?”Partially because of this, there is a type of therapy out there that is entirely dedicated to dreams.
Dream therapy is devoted tointerpreting dreams and exploring them as thoroughly as possible. If you can seek out a qualified dream therapist, then they will be able to analyze your dreams for you to help determine certain things about your life. Your dreams are potential indicators of certain types of stress in your life, as well as how your brain is processing and dealing with life. There can be many benefits to trying to decode your dreams properly if you are willing to give it a shot.
Understanding dreams could very well open up new possibilities and perspectives for you. If dreams are your subconscious trying to tell you things that you’re unconsciously burying or trying to sort through certain feelings, then it makes sense to pay attention to them. Discovering certain sources of stress and being able to eliminate some problems in your life through dream analysis doesn’t sound like a half bad way to spend an afternoon.
If you are interested in learning more about dream therapy, read on. Many of the benefits of dream therapy will be analyzed, and you will walk away much more informed on the topic. Many different counselors utilize dream therapy, so this is something that you can fairly readily take advantage of if you want to.
Dream Therapy: Symbolism is Very Prevalent in Dreams
While sometimes dreams are just dreams, symbolism can exist, particularly if your brain is trying to sort through something going on in your life. Sometimes you may not know what something means when you first dream it. It might wind up being something bizarre, and it could cause you to scratch your head as to why you would be dreaming of something so seemingly strange and random. Often, the things that you dream about are symbols that reflect your brain trying to process a particular event, be it just the day’s events or a childhood occurrence. Studies have found that sleeping and dreaming actually help us to organize and store away memories and thoughts, which can often show up as fragments in our dreams.
One common and sometimes scary dream involves people losing their teeth or having their teeth somehow become twisted or malformed. It can be very unnerving when you have a dream like this, and it is a dream that many people report having somewhat regularly. Dream therapists mostly agree that dreams like this are symbolic of worrying about your appearance. If you have a fear of losing your attractiveness or becoming old, it may manifestitself in the form of these dreams.
If you would like to try to interpret your dreams yourself, then looking at symbolism or meaning in your dreams is a good place to start. Having a dream in which you are continually falling may be symbolic of the fact that you do not feel like you are in control of your life. Dreams in whichyou are lashing out angrily can be a sign of pent-up frustration that you are not addressing properly in your real life. Dreams do often have meanings, and it can be beneficial to try to pay attention to them.
Your Dreams Likely Reflect Your Current Mood or Situation in Life
It is not uncommon for people to have dreams that reflect their current moods or circumstances in life. This may not always be the case, but is considered normal. If you have a large presentation for work or school coming up, feelings of anxiety may pop up in your dreams. Sometimes what you are dreaming about may even give you some insight into how you feel about your life at the moment.
Sometimes it is difficult to say how you feel about something. You go through the motions in life and stay so busy that you do not have time to reflect on things every single day, or don’t prioritize doing so. Your dreams will sometimes act as a way for your mind to sort through what is going on in life. If you are sad, then that sadness may be processed and exhibited in your dreams. If you have had someone in particular on your mind, then they may showup subconsciously in your dream. This is part of what makes dreams so fascinating, a sort of window into both our biology and psyche that scientists are trying to better understand.
Analyzing such things may require some expertise. It is possible to try to figure out some basic things about your dreams on your own but taking the time to discuss these dreams in detail with a licensed counselor may be helpful. It can give you a chance to think more deeply about your feelings and how certain things may be connected to your life.
Nightmares Might Be a Sign of Issues That You Need To Work Through
One of the biggest reasons that people seek out dream therapy is that they are having some type of recurring nightmare. When you are experiencing nightmares regularly, it is likely a sign that you have issues to work through. Sometimes the nightmares will be obvious, and you will be able to pinpoint what is bothering you. Other times, you might find the nightmare to be more symbolic or ambiguous.
These nightmares can make you feel off, and you should not shy away from reaching out to a therapist if you want help understanding the nightmares or learning how to be less impacted by them. They have the training to help you analyze these nightmares and figure out what is going on that may becausing them. Simply talking the issue out with a counselor is a great way to make some progress, and hopefully find and address whatever is causing the unpleasant dreams to recur.
A trained dream therapist knows what to look for in a dream. They will be able to ask you questions about the dream, how it makes you feel, and any other pertinent details. Once they have enough information, they should be able to provide some insight into things that may be bothering you and help you to work through them.
Dreams feel very real when they are happening,so know that feeling perturbed by a nightmare is very valid. This can be an opportunity to address something in your life that has been buried in your subconscious. It's important to take the time to go through the therapy as long as you are capable of doing so.
Dream Therapists Will Likely Encourage Dream Journaling
It is also very likely that your dream therapist will encourage you to keep a dream journal. A dream journal is a place where you can write down the details of your dreams. It is usually best to keep the journal right by your bed so that you can reach it immediately once you wake up before you have a chance to forget your dreams or the way you felt about them. Writing down your dream quickly is important because you do not want to forget details.
If you do not consciously think about your dream within a few minutes of waking up, you will typically lose the ability to recall that dream. Dream journaling is a very important tool for gaining insight into your dreams, and training yourself to remember them in more detail as time goes on. If you are going to be doing dream therapy sessions, then you should try to keep a detailed dream journal that you can share with your therapist if you feel comfortable doing so.
Dream journaling can be great for the creative process as well. If you are an artistic or otherwise creative individual, then you may notice some benefits from dream journaling. Due to the often interesting and bizarre nature of dreams, utilizing a dream journal could help you channel new facets of creativity within yourself. You may want to consider dream journaling even if you are not all that interested in dream therapy.
Online Dream Therapy is Very Convenient
Online therapy may be the most convenient way for you to discuss your dreams with a trained professional. If you have been wondering about your dreams and need some help figuring things out, then you should not hesitate to reach out to a therapist. While online therapy has been gaining steam over the past couple of decades, the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a whopping 75% of therapists utilizing online therapy, a trend that is likely to continue beyond the pandemic as online therapy has been found to be just as effective in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a range of other conditions as in-person therapy.
Being able to talk to a therapist online is as convenient as it gets. You can typically message the therapist whenever you want to do so, and you can arrange live session times for calls, voice recordings, or video sessions.This is a cost-effective and easy way to get the dream therapy that you are desiring. Not only will your therapy give you insight into dreams and what they mean, but it canalso be beneficial for your mental health if that’s something you’re looking for. BetterHelp’s licensed therapists will be able to help you with any issues that you are experiencing. See below for some reviews of our therapists from people seeking help with understanding their subconscious and therefore themselves.
“JC has helped me realize things about myself that I never knew were there. I've had therapy before, but this man is a magician.”
“I cannot express how grateful that I am to have been able to work with Allyce. She guided me on my counseling journey and made my healing possible. She would get stuff out of me that I didn't even realize that I was struggling with. What a compassionate person with the gift of helping others. Would recommend Allyce to anyone! 10/10!”
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