Psychological therapy / Understanding dreams & nightmares

Dr Lara Lagutina, London SE16, UK



Working with dreams and nightmares

Starting from Freud, who considered dreams "the royal road to the unconscious" the value of dreams as an expression of our inner processes has been widely recognised in psychotherapy. Dreams can be seen as containing messages from the deeper levels of our psyche, symbolically reflecting our inner dynamics and pointing towards next steps in our development and journey in life, as well as to inner resources, which can be discovered on that journey. Working with dreams allows both the therapist and the client to get in touch with the parts of the psyche, which are outside of the client's present awareness. Connecting to these parts can help the individual to get to know themselves more fully.

Why do we have nightmares?

A nightmare is an experience probably familiar to all. Nightmares are common in both children and adults. Sometimes nightmares can be a consequence of an overwhelming or traumatic event, and can be seen as the psyche's attempt to resolve the underlying inner conflict and overcome or integrate the associated unbearable feelings.
Nightmares in children (in the absence of any apparently overwhelming events) can be similarly seen as an attempt on behalf of the child ego to integrate various life experiences, which seem new and unfamiliar to them. Because the child's ego is young and fragile, it has more difficulties tolerating these experiences and can easily feel overwhelmed. Working with the overwhelming feelings and traumatic experiences often has a positive effect on dreams and nightmares.


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Dreams & Nightmares