Types of dreams

Dream Journaling

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...


Photography by Gregory Pappas on UnsplashPsychotherapy and Dreams During an initial consultation with a potential client, I often ask about their dreams. Do they dream regularly? Do they have significant dreams from childhood? Do they have recurring dreams? This is...

Time for a Mindset Spring Clean

March is a hopeful month. Officially the first month of spring with emerging colour, bulbs bravely shooting through the ground and trees starting to sprout buds. A couple of years ago in the UK we had a mini heatwave in March. With the unpredictability of the climate,...

Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullying When researching this subject, I was shocked to see the number of people who had taken their lives due to cyber bullying and sextortion. Between March 2019 and March 2020 19% or one in five children between the age of 10 and 15 in England and Wales...

Male Influencers

The MeToo movement has been wonderful for women’s rights and furthering awareness of sexual harassment and abuse. I know very few women who haven’t experienced sexual harassment at some point in their life and there is now an ability for women to have a voice, be...

What’s Your Online Persona?

Who Do You Think You Are? How Do You Want To Come Across Online? We all know someone who exaggerates their life online – we see the ‘official’ glitzy positive image they put on social media. For example, posts of holiday snaps look amazing but, when we meet to hear...

Striking the Balance – Parenting Children on Social Media

Children and social media: It can be a thorny issue for many parents. There is a common conflict. On the one hand, if you let your child engage in social media they can feel part of their friendship group and won’t feel left out or left behind, whilst on the other...

Social Media Anxiety and How To Manage It

Social media can be a fantastic way of keeping in touch with people and a source of inspiration, support, and connection to wider conversations online. It can also link us to people we would otherwise not have access to, for example, brides and grooms who’ve invited...

Social Media Anxiety

This is the first in a series I’m writing about social media. Over recent years, and especially since the pandemic social media has become more prevalent in our lives. Benefits of Social Media There are fantastic sides to social media like the ability to keep in touch...

Types of Dreams

Every dream is as unique as the dreamer, but there are specific types of dreams
that most commonly find their way into my consulting room. These are daydreams, vivid dreams, recurring dreams, lucid dreams, nightmares and night terrors. This month, I will focus on the first four types.


Daydreams are more common than we might think. I think there is a general misconception that children daydream the most. This is not true. Many adults also daydream whilst awake and conscious. It is a way of distracting us from what is going on in the moment, often to escape something we don’t want to think about, experience or remember.

To take us away from what’s going on in the here and now, we might, for example, wish we were still on holiday swinging in that hammock overlooking the lagoon in the south pacific. Or it can be consciously wishing things could be different from how they are currently, so we focus on the stranger we are attracted to, rather than our partner who is being particularly annoying and difficult.

Daydreams might also involve delving into a fantasy either involving the world we are in, or one we have entirely imagined and created ourselves. Whatever we daydream, the purpose is still to move our focus, consciously or unconsciously, from what’s currently going on to a more inward focus, so we can ignore and avoid what we don’t want to think about.

Once we become more aware of the content of our daydreams and the purpose they serve, perhaps through exploration in therapy, it’s interesting how they become less frequent and less useful to us. We can then engage more fully in our daily lives, rather than living in an alternate reality or fantasy for much of the time.

Vivid Dreams

Vivid dreams are the ones that we remember easily. They are very realistic and we may wake up feeling that we are still involved in the dream. Vivid dreams can occur when we are particularly tired or stressed. They are a gift to the therapist because they can be very easy for the dreamer to catch hold of, keep and remember. There is often a useful message or symbolism in the vivid dream which the dreamer can sometimes work out for themselves easily with little or no exploring with the therapist.

Recurring Dreams

Recurring dreams are more common than we might think. Some people can regularly dream the same dream from childhood for years. I find it fascinating how the same dream repeats itself again and again. It’s as if the unconscious is desperately trying to tell the dreamer something and won’t let it go until they get it! Another theory of the recurring dream is that it can be a way for the dreamer’s psyche to switch off from whatever is concerning the dreamer. I often find when a dreamer spends time in a therapy session giving the recurring dream time and attention, it becomes very clear what the dream means to them. Once figured out, the dream often fades.

Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreams especially fascinate me. They are the dreams in which the dreamer is awake or appears to be awake. The dreamer becomes aware of what they are dreaming and can even change or tweak their dreams to how they want them in real time.

Lucid dreams generally happen in the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep when we are sleeping quite lightly, perhaps on the border between sleep and wakefulness ie when consciousness is poking through our unconscious.

It can feel unsettling and confusing to be aware of our dreams whilst we are having them, and even disturbing to feel we are in control and can change the plot and course of a dream. However, if we change the course of our dreams to what we wish to happen, then this is generally a powerful and fulfilling position to be in and usually the dreamer wakes feeling satisfied and content with how the dream ended.

Nightmares and night terrors are also a very common type of dream. I will be exploring these more fully in my next blog post…

Photo by Jaime Handley on Unsplash