Dream Analysis/Interpretation by Dream Analyst
Gerald Gifford {at Forum #1}

Since 1998

Since 2012

Since 2005
Contribute to
Kitty Fund
The Dream Forum Is Open

By submitting a post you have read and agree to Our Disclaimer/Privacy Policy



Power of Dreams/MDS Dream Forum
Start a New Topic 
Author
Comment
NY Times Article-Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

An interesting article in today's NY Times about nightmares. This study was conducted with patients with severe psychological experiences such as rape or kidnapping. Jane White-Lewis of The C.G. Jung Institute of New York, is on the opposite side of such research, are part of the article. Her statement, one all Jungians would agree with was, Nightmares are important because they “bring up issues in bold print". She goes on to say, she said that if a nightmare is eliminated, “you lose an opportunity to really get some meaning out of it”. This is the typical Jungian view of the dream.

My sense is this type of therapy may be effective for many. It does depend on the individual psyche and life evolution. The article does state, and this is important in my mind, there was other sleep disorders involved with many of the group in the study, especially sleep apnea. Such physical conditions do matter. If there are physical disorders involved {of the brain} then psychological therapy may not be the only treatment needed, or the most important.

From the article:
From 4 to 8 percent of adults report experiencing nightmares, perhaps as often as once per week or more, according to sleep researchers. But the rate is as high as 90 percent among groups like combat veterans and rape victims.

So what we are dealing with in these patients, and those with severe psychological experiences later in life, is not necessarily the building blocks of psychological conflicts that come about from a whole life but severe psychological conflicts that do occur in adulthood. My attention to the dream is on those building blocks of experience, especially in childhood that are the underlying cause of psychological conflicts. There is a difference although those who have such frequent nightmares may be individuals who would have experienced stronger degrees of conflicting dreams if they had not experienced severe trauma later in life. Again, a lot depends on the individual life evolution of experiences.

I am always open to new ideas to the dream. Most often, and I say this from an objective point of view, such new research seldom refutes Jung's theories. Just the opposite, they compliment them. This study may challenge some of those Jungian concepts but more research would be needed to evaluate the conditions of the persons with these problems. I am of the belief if such new treatment is combined with Jungian psyche you will reach better results than with just the new treatment alone. Of course I have a 'Jungian' bias when it comes to this approach.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: NY Times Article-Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

Jerry,

Was this an online article you read? If so, could you post the link for it. I am interested to know more of the discussion in the article ... but I do agree that nightmares are attention getters ... psyche's way of striving for balance/healing.

Kristi

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 44, USA

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: NY Times Article-Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

Kristi,
Whoops! I forgot to link to the article. Here it is from toady's NY Times on-line edition.
Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: NY Times Article-Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

Ahhhh.

I think there is value in helping someone to find a safe center (meditative, imaginary, etc.) that they can go to, as a way of holding space for themselves when they are working with troubling dreams/issues arising from the unconscious, but "changing" the dream seems to me to be a matter of avoidance...and so, "real," deep healing probably does not occur in these cases.

Kristi

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 44, USA

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: NY Times Article-Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

Kristi,
I agree with you. Unless the underlying symptoms of the emotional conflicts are addressed, the deeper conflicts from the whole life of the patient, I don't believe there can be a total cure. Controlling ones dreams {lucid dreaming can also fit here has benefits as long as they assist the dreamer and not where the dreamer takes total control. That probably has a negative affect on the healing function of dreams.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: NY Times Article-Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

Hi Jerry

Interesting article. I have several reactions to it and not all of them agree with each other!

The first is that the research is being conducted by MDs. The medical model is that nightmares are symptoms of a disorder and therefore need to be "cured". It is not, IMO, a suitable model in this case. It is a mechanistic point of view and limited in its world view, it is also typical of modern medicine to think that suppressing symptoms is equivalent to a cure

However I have worked with severely traumatised children and their nightmares can be terrifying and greatly disruptive to their sleep and their lives. In this case, as with combat veterans, the dreams are often a raw retrieval of the traumatising event and as such, I think, they contain little or no symbolic material. What needs to happen is to begin the process of helping the child (veteran) to process the event, sifting out issues of blame and helplessness etc so that the dreams can occupy a much less intrusive place in their lives. Interestingly none of the children I worked with wanted the memories of the event(s) to vanish completely. They were just too important in the child's life.

Where the dreams do appear to have symbolic content I think it's a great shame not to listen and try to understand what has been given you. That often takes courage though.

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 70 New Zealand

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: NY Times Article-Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

David,
I appreciate your experience and insights. I do have some questions I wish to ask and would want to know your perspective.

First, I don't wish to leave the impression the primary reason for the nightmares {from this study} were caused by symptoms due to underlying psychological conflicts from early life. I understand the trauma suffered from combat victims and sexual and assault victims are the primary reason for the nightmares. There must be a deep psychological conflict to have nightmares. My question is if we don't look to the deeper psyche to better the individual we may miss important reasons why 'this' person is prone to have nightmares and not another.
As I stated in my original post, "It does depend on the individual psyche and life evolution." Getting to underlying causation why an individual is prone to do anything is something dreams can reveal. The nightmares are a direct result of the psychological and/or physical trauma of combat and sexual assault. But are there deeper underlying causes for the person to have nightmares, whereas another person who has suffered similar experiences does not? And as the article states, there were other sleep disorders involved with many of the group in the study, especially sleep apnea. Such 'other' sleep disorders can be physical or they can be physical and/or psychological.

As a Jungian I do believe all dreams have meaning, including nightmares. I don't for a moment believe any dream is random that comes about for no reason. My experience from working with dreams, and this is my observation alone, is my 'research' {if I even dare to call it that} is a reaffirmation of Jung's theories. We should never dismiss any possibility of new insights to the dream, Jung stated the same. But his philosophy of the dream pretty much has been proven correct. I base that on the fact that pretty much all web sites that are devoted to the dream either are Jungian or borrow much of their point of view from Jungian philosophy. If you a little 'Googling' this can be affirmed.

Googling-Something that once ment to view a female with desiring eyes. Oh how times have changed.

Jung stipulates that there are at least 'two meanings' to every dream. A nightmare is a dream. A nightmare dream will focus on the trauma of the combative or sexual assault experience but does it also address other aspects of the dreamer's life, most importantly the underlying causes as to why this person act as and/or re-acts to a particular experience? In my experience at the Dream Forum I see dreams frequently addressing more than one issue {and supposedly in Jung's hypothesis they all do, we just don't recognize it}.

If I were a psychologist, and I am not, especially knowing that Jung's theories on the dream have merit, I would want to know all there is to know about the dreamer. I believe the whole evolution of the person has an affect on how he/she responses to any given situation in life. We all are different and as a Jungian I believe we all possess a collective unconscious. But the personal unconscious with the accumulated personal experiences is what plays a vital role in how one re-acts to a given situation. Just as I do not dismiss this summary of investigation as meaningful and important, I would not dismiss the Jungian view either.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 60 Murfreesboro, Tn

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: NY Times Article-Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

I think you guys have sufficiently critiqued this method of dream therapy. I, like you guys, think that this helps someone who has had an acute psychological trauma. After all it is kind of jungian active imagination.

I would praise this work because the patients are not in need of wholeness, as normal people are. To me, these patients are like cripples who just need to walk, whereas we as normal functioning people seek to run or fly or dive. Once they can function on the basic levels of society again, then they can begin to investigate their real psyche.

In a way it may be that these people's shadow has been activated so powerfully by an outside experience that they have the opposite need that we in our ego society have in our need to integrate the shadow. Conscious work and support seems to be a viable way to rebuild a strong conscious magic circle of protection.

They are like casualties lying on a battlefield or some disaster. Like firefighters or emergency medics, I think we need people to do the basic dirty work just so they can survive.

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 34

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

Re: NY Times Article-Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

I don't believe broad statements should be made about groups of persons' or any one person's potential to heal, who may (in the view of one or a few) "fit" within the definition of the supposed group. Rules were made to be broken. What is needed is the belief in possibility, not the confines of limitation our minds/society are so accustomed to. Besides, we each are individual, after all. Each unique, inherently. Yes, trauma effects a person, prfoundly...but psyche is an amazing thing...and so is the resilience of the human spirit. I do believe that if those "wounded" have the right heart and mind reading their dreams and guiding their way, much progress can be made. That wound can be made sacred. One of the sad things in our conditioned world is that people usually live up to the expectations held of them, by others. In the case of those striving to heal, part of what is pitted against them is the body of belief/thought that says they can't (and so very much of this comes from our "professional" world). If the community helping these others believed in greater possibilities, they would be giving them a new window/"vision" into those greater possibilities. But, one cannot take another where they themselves have not travelled... We need new paradigms. Those traumatized are some of our greatst heroes, for they are living for (the rest of) humanity the shadow so many others never touch, don't like to get close to... Just a humble and personal opinion from my own experience.

Kristi

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 44, USA

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

How Did You Find the Dream Forum? Yes

stats from 7-14-10 to the present