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     Taken from AMERICAN HEALTH July/August 1987.

     How to problem-solve in your dreams

       Your dreams are "written" in your own private vocabulary; that's why
     their meaning is often unclear (and why dream books you buy at the corner
     newsstand won't explain your own visions). Moreover, the language of dreams
     is sensory and visual, whereas the language of daily life is verbal. You
     need to translate a dream much as you would a foreign language.

     Unfortunately, the same force s that make us disguise problems in our
     dreams are likely to hinder our recognizing them when we're awake. Even
     Freud had trouble with self-analysis. So an impartial listener - attained
     therapist - can help. "It's a collaborative process," says New York
     psychoanalyst Walter Bonime, author  of the classic text, THE  CLINICAL USE
     OF DREAMS (Da Capo Press, $29.50)

     But that doesn't mean you shouldn't explore your dreams alone or with a
     partner. People who keep dream journals say that over time, patterns often
       To put your dreams to work solving problems, try this routine:

      o Program yourself to wake up after every REM period. I did it while
           writing this article simply by telling myselfI wanted to at bedtime. 
     But  don't  make  it  a   regular  habit.  "The  ability  to  maintain     
     consciousness  during sleep can backfire," says Dr.  Neil Kavey, director  
     of the Columbia-Presbyterian  sleep lab. "If you can't  shut it off, you   
     may  have trouble remaining asleep,  or you may sleep so  poorly that you  
     feel you didn't sleep at all."

      o Put a notebook and pen or tape recorder at your bedside.

      o At bedtime, select a problem and sum it up with a question, such as
        "Should I take this new job?" Write it down and list possible solutions.

      o Turn off the lights and reflect on these solutions. Stick with it until
        you drift off to sleep.

       o When you wake up - during the night or in the morning - lie still. To  
     jog your memory, pretend you're a detective interviewing an eyewitness.
        What's the last thing you remember? Before that? Going backward can help
        you more easily reconstruct a dream.

      o Write down or tape record all that you remember. Do it before you shower
        and have breakfast.

      o If you have trouble catching dreams, try sleeping late on weekends
        The longest dreams occur in the last part of sleep and many of us cut
        sleep short on week nights.


     Once you've recorded your dream, how do you decode it? Tell it to yourself
     in the third person, suggest psychologist Lillie Weiss in DREAM ANALYSIS IN
     PSYCHOTHERAPY  (Pergamon Press,  $11.95). This may  give you  some distance
     from the dream  and help you see the actions more clearly. Then look at the
     part  of  the  dream that  is  the  most mysterious.  "Frequently  the most
     incongruous part provides the dream message," Weiss says.

     In her dream-therapy study, Cartwright asks participants to examine and
     try to change repetitive, troublesome dreams along seven dimensions:

      o Time orientation. Do all your dreams take place in the past? Try
        positioning them in the present or future.

       o Competence to affect the outcome. Tryfinding a positive way to resolve 
      a dream.

       o Self-blame.  In your  dreams, do  you hold  yourself responsible   when
        go wrong? Must you?

       o  Relation to former  role: If your  divorced, do you  still dream of   
     yourself  as  married? If  you  have lost  your job,  do  you still  see   
     yourself at work?  Consider alternatives.

      o Motivation. Do you dream of being nurtured? Can you think of a way to
        take care of yourself?

      o Mood. What would make a dream more pleasant?

      o Dream roles: Do you like the part you play in your dreams? What role
        would you prefer?


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