Dream Journaling

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How To Survive Christmas 2021

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Perfectionist

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Decision Making from Cupid and Psyche

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FOMO

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How To Manage Stress

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How to survive the summer holidays

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Working with the Unconscious in Psychotherapy

The uniqueness of the psychoanalytic model of psychotherapy is that we work with the unconscious. But what does this mean? What exactly is the unconscious?  What is the Unconscious? Practically speaking, in the field of psychotherapy, the unconscious is the part...

How To Remember Your Dreams

I often work with people who dream frequently and are interested in their dreams. Many suffer from nightmares and night terrors which they remember vividly.  I will be exploring these in a later post. But a lot of people don’t remember their dreams. This is a shame because our unconscious dreaming world is a powerful tool, often throwing light on challenges we may be facing in the present. So how can we begin to remember?

We all dream during our sleep. Dreaming happens during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. This usually occurs towards the end of a sleep cycle. A sleep cycle usually lasts about 90 minutes and we can have several of these throughout the night.  Potentially there are several pockets of time to remember our dreams, although it is perhaps easiest and most convenient to record the ones right at the end of our sleep as we wake in the morning.  

It is possible to train ourselves to remember our dreams to some extent. If we tell our unconscious that we want to remember our dreams and drift off to sleep with the intention of remembering, this may encourage it to happen. Like many people who record their dreams, I find the easiest time is just before waking, when I’m sleeping relatively lightly. As I stir, sometimes mid-dream, I reach for my dream journal and pen and hastily scribble a few words. This will often be enough to prompt me to remember my dream later when I am fully awake.

How To Keep A Dream Journal

It helps to value the process of recording your dreams. One way to do this is to treat yourself to a really nice journal and a pen you find comfortable to write with. That way it’s a pleasure to write, even if it’s just a few scribbled words when you are only semi compos mentis!

Obviously, it makes sense to keep the journal and pen by your bedside for easy access, so you’re not fumbling around in the dawn light. To begin with, it can be quite an effort to wake yourself up enough to make notes, but hopefully it will be worth it when you are able to fall back asleep with enough of an interesting dream to explore later in the day.

Dream Apps

An alternative to a journal is to record dream fragments on a phone or tablet if you keep these in the bedroom. There are several apps available to enable this: 

Oniri for ipad

Dreamcatcher

Lucid

How To Reflect On Your Dream

If you want to reflect on your dream either alone or with someone, it’s best to have as much detail as possible to work with. It’s always good to find some time in the day, the earlier the better, to give the dream your attention. 

Here are some prompts to ask yourself:

What did you write down? 

Can you remember the dream from your notes? 

What can you remember about it? 

Who was in the dream? 

Where did the dream take place? 

What happened in the dream? 

What were the feelings you experienced in the dream? 

How did you feel immediately on waking up? 

How do you feel now remembering it?

It can take time and determination to foster this habit. But give it a try, it could lead to you getting to know your dreams and therefore yourself much better!

Photography by Claudia Mañas on Unsplash