Dream 477: Your subconscious wants to take you higher
A woman was having nightmares about high school continuously. She wondered what this could mean.
I’ve noticed that people of all ages like to use high school in their dreams, or their dreams like to use the high school setting. I believe it is because it is a formative time of personality.
I also think the dream is making a play of words on it being a high school, a school for your higher self. If you are having constant nightmare scenes involving high school, without knowing further content, I would guess that there are some Shadow aspects to your personality that you have not integrated into your higher self.
I would guess that the nightmares represent a struggle to try to come to some terms as to how to integrate sexual and aggressive parts of your personality into your higher self. Dreams are often an extension of problems we try to consciously work on during the day.
Her nightmares probably mean that some basic aspects of her life are
akilter, but it is hard to know which areas of her life are involved without her describing more content.
Dreams can take you higher at http://www.drstevenfox.com
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The client follows the therapist’s hand moving back and forth horizontally across the client’s field of vision while thinking of a traumatic incident in their life. The thought is to get physical and mental processes moving so the trauma becomes unfrozen. The image is no longer frozen in time.
The idea is that when the trauma occurred it became a fixated image in the person’s mind because it was like a “deer caught in the headlights. I think that there is another reason EMDR works. I think it has to do with Rapid Eye Movements (REM) that occur and signals that the sleeper is dreaming.
A prominent symptom that occurs with PTSD is vivid nightmares. Of course, REM occurs during nightmares. I think by having rapid eye movements occur while the person is conscious, it allows the underlying feelings to emerge so that the person can work on the troubling images.
During EMDR, the therapist stops moving the hand every 30 seconds or so to ask what the client is seeing in their mind. The therapist can suggest to the client the portion of the image on which to focus based on what the person reports. It ends up being guided imagery with cognitive therapy to change the person’s reaction to the images.
PTSD dreams are one of about six major types of dreams. They are not symbolic. They are simply images that have been burned into the person’s subconscious. EMDR frees the person from the relentlessly captivating traumatic image in their brain.
Free yourself with dreams at http://www.drstevenfox.com
The following was written by Father Augustine and may represent the Catholic Church’s stance on dreams:
“The Nature of Dreams A dream is an illusory psychic activity, particularly of a visual nature that occurs during sleep. It is essentially a psychological phenomenon with many philosophical, religious and moral implications.
Scientific findings on dreams have shown them to involve perception, creative and reproductive imagination, association of ideas and images, memory and emotion. Thinking and reasoning may also occur in dreams but on a superficial and uncritical level (this is important in relation to the moral relevance of what one does in the midst of a dream). At times one is aware of a type of “choosing” within dreams — such as resistance to temptation; however, such “willed acts” do not stem from a free decision-making ability but rather from behavioral habits and automatic responses.
The critical powers of the mind such as reality testing and decision making are greatly impaired in dreaming, which accounts for the incoherent and chaotic nature of many dreams. In a dream the distinction between reality and imagination is totally lost or at least impaired. Dreams can be natural or supernatural.
If they are supernatural then their origin lies in God, angels or demons. Dreams can also be induced by hypnosis. What causes dreams can seldom be traced to one well defined external or internal stimulus. Rather, they are brought about my many interacting factors of a perceptual, emotional, motivational and physiological nature.
Dreaming occurs in cycles following the fluctuation of sleep stages. It appears when the dreamer emerges from the stage of deep sleep. In an average night’s sleep a person dreams from 1 to 2 hours with dreams distributed in three to five periods, lasting from 20 to 30 minutes, and each sleep period followed at intervals of about 90 minutes.
Dreams are primarily made up of visual imagery. Most of the images are black and white. The content of dreams is usually very personal and intimate, and has to do with one’s attitudes toward oneself and toward important people in one’s environment.
In terms of emotional content, dreams range from ecstatic fantasies to nightmares. There is a preponderance of unpleasant dreams caused by fear, anger or sadness. Dreams of sex and aggression are quite frequent.”
My views do not conflict with the Catholic Church; however, I do take a more expanded view of dreams which I think is acceptable to nearly every religion. I also like Buddhists’ view of reality and dreams.
Find out what you really believe in dreams at http://www.drstevenfox.com
Image Rehearsal Therapy (IRT) helps people to change nightmares into less disturbing dreams. The process involves having the person first write the nightmare down in detail. Then they think of changing the dream to a pleasant image. Immediately before going to sleep, they visualize the pleasant scene.
Dreams most often use current day residue, events of the day that may have links back to earlier events in our lives. Visualizing the pleasant scene during the day will make it more likely that we will dream about it. This is especially likely if the positive scene is visualized immediately before going to sleep.
For example, if a person had a repetitive nightmare such as being torn apart by wild wolves, they would be asked to create a more positive and even comforting image. Having the person visualize they are surrounded by loving puppies increases the chance of positive changes in the dream. Basically, seeing repetitive nightmares as a bad habit that can be influenced by changing the images in the dreamer’s mind is helpful.
Post traumatic stress dreams, dreams that show a catastrophic event that is a memory of what actually occurred in real life, can be “dulled” by visualization. I have had some success with having people visualize that the scene happened, but that it is like watching an old and faded movie in the distance with faint sound. I find this procedure has the effect of reducing the challenge of changing a traumatic event that occurred in life. Realistic trauma is often more likely to respond to realistic imagery that “honors” the fact that the event occurred.
☆Getting answers from dreams (dream incubation) is described in chapter 34 of my book at http://www.drstevenfox.com
A questioner on the reddit.com dream board asked the following question about his girlfriend:
“This is what she sent me this morning: “Like I’d be sleeping but I’m conscious that I’m awake and then I start seeing a ghost and I scream but nothing comes out and I’m completely paralyzed and I try waking up but it doesn’t work and when I wake up I’m crying like crazy”. What does this mean exactly?”
—————————————— Answer:It sounds like she is having night terrors due to “waking up” in a dream state. The dream state is called REM (for Rapid Eye Movements because your eyes are moving we think the way they would if the dream were actually happening). During REM, you lose muscle tone and are functionally paralyzed from the neck down.
We believe the body loses muscle tone because you would act out the dream otherwise and get hurt. There have been people who did not lose muscle tone during sleep–they were in danger because they were walking and moving while asleep. I believe it is likely that she woke up in A REM state and that is why she could not move. The condition between sleep and waking up is called hypnagogia. It is during this time one can have a hypnagogic hallucination.
Her seeing the ghost is a “dream hallucination” or hypnagogic hallucination. She is actually having an awake dream which can be quite terrifying and is often called “night terrors.” Simply keeping an indirect light on will often prevent the night terrors. I believe this may be because it is more possible to wake yourself up from the dream hallucination.
An alternative may be to instruct yourself before going to sleep that if the dream paralysis/ hallucination happens again, that you can protect yourself by simply closing your eyes and going to sleep. Sometimes by not fighting the dream, you are less likely to induce the fear response. Sleep is, after all, protective.
**The above is not meant to be treatment or advice. Consult an experienced professional who knows you for personalized treatment.
Get information about dream interpretation from my book at http://www.drstevenfox.com