Junst what is Dreamwork?

Dreaming is a normal part of biological functioning.  We all dream every night, though we may not be aware of or remember our dreams.  Sigmund Freud was the first to seriously explore the idea that dreams are meaningful and purposeful communications passed from our unconscious minds.  Carl Jung placed more emphasis on the revealing or predictive power of dreams, and on their relationship to the themes and images of art and myth.

Dreams occur during our deepest form of sleep known as N3 Sleep. Approximately every 90 minutes we enter what is called REM state, REM has three primary functions; to help us rehearse for future events, to facilitate the release of built up psychic (psychological and emtional) energy, to assist in problem solving and to help with memory consolidation and sedimentation.

Abstract Language

The messages in dreams may relate to information that our conscious mind has either forgotten (repressed), or is unconsciously intuiting about but are consciously resisting accepting (e.g. that our spouse is having an affair, that we like or dislike someone, or perhaps that we want to act "inappropriately," etc.).

In dreams our unconscious uses a language of images, abstract concepts and symbols. The "syntax" or structure of this dream narrative is also different from rational thought in that the images and events are combined or sequenced in ways that we may find strange and difficult to understand.

Integration of Self

Jung found that dreams often reflect aspects of our unconscious selves which have repressed, denied, or split off from consciousness and which, if we can recover and integrate into our conscious lives, will make us more complete and healthy.

Because we like to think of ourselves as good or perfect, as already healthy and whole, these unknown or unacknowledged parts may seem threatening to us and appear as frightening or nightmarish and which we reject. Acknowledging, assimilating and integrating these alter-egos allows us to become more wholesome individuals – Dreamwork is designed to assist in this process and is therefore a collaboration between our conscious and unconscious selves.

Collective Consciousness and Symbolism

Dreams contain images and symbols which have a wider cultural and historical reference. This is because the unconscious (old brain), draws upon a store of images that have widespread or universal power and meaning for our species. These symbols are called "archetypes," and we often find them repeated in the myths, religions, and great art of various civilizations.

Images such as circles, the divine child, the tree of life (the Christmas tree), eggs, serpents, death and rebirth, are often found to be a part of dream content. Sometimes the individuals in a dream have literal but abstract significance – When we dream of  ourselves this normally relates to us as we are now, other individuals usually represent an alter-ego that we are rejecting or that is trying to assist us in some way.

Dream Journal

Dreamwork requires you to keep a dream journal that is used in therapy.  Dreams should be written down in as much detail as possible as soon as you wake – the decay effect dictates that unless you mentally process the dream in consciousness as soon as you wake, the dream content will decay within five minutes of waking.

Dreamwork will also involve systemic exercises, often utilizing Hypnosis or Gestalt to help unravel the dreams meaning and then use this information to develop therapeutic strategies designed to assist the client to achieve greater understanding and fuller self–integration.