Dreams that heal
For centuries Tibetan doctors have used dreams both to diagnose and treat a patient. Whilst most of these ancient methods have been kept secret and only shared within a trusted teacher-student relationship, some aspects have reached Western society to the extent of almost becoming mainstream.
Cultures have recognised the value of dreams in contributing to a person's emotional health. It is no surprise that one of the most common comparables for those suffering from depression is insomnia. Dream sleep or REM is essential in helping us deal with our emotions, processing the day's events, embedding our learning and aiding our problem-solving capabilities.
For those who lucid dream it is possible to delve even deeper and manipulate the dreaming experience. By becoming aware in a dream a person can gain access to their unconscious mind giving them the potential to heal on many different levels.
Lucid dreaming has parallels with hypnotherapy. Both work with imagery and can involve changing imagery. With access to the unconscious part of the mind, reasons for fear or obsessions can be brought to light. Just like in hypnotherapy, there is the potential to heal phobias by gradual integration of the phobic object or experience. As a result of the newfound fearless interaction in the dream state, a neurological pathway in the brain takes place leading to a fearless interaction in the waking state.
Addictions can be worked on by allowing the mind to offer different suggestions thus altering the underlying addictive behaviour pattern. Any automatic responses that we have in our daily life arise from our subconscious. It's important that we notice these patterns and change them when they are no longer working for us.
There is also a lot of fun to be had in a lucid dream and you will notice how colours are more vibrant and everything around you seems so much brighter and intense. In fact, the excitement that people feel on becoming lucid often causes them to wake up.
If we pay attention, dreams can offer us the opportunity to get in touch with ourselves. Psychological growth requires this integration of all the neglected or perhaps rejected aspects of ourselves.
If you are of those who don't spontaneously lucid dream a good starting point is journaling. Keep a dream diary by your bed and on awakening write down as many details of your dream (if you had any) as you can. Within a couple of weeks, you should find it a lot easier to recall your dreams and fingers crossed, have a lucid dream.
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About Natasha Kelly
I'm a clinical hypnotherapist working in central London, wanting to make the world a more peaceful place!