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Dreams, Childhood Abuse & Adult Depression

Often I look at dreams from an adult and mention how they can address past traumatic childhood experiences. Since dreams are about the dreamer's life it is only to be expected that such traumatic experiences remain in the unconscious mind of the dreamer. The severity of the experience {usually mental and/or physical abuse] will often determine how the dreamer chooses {consciously or unconsciously} to handle these past experiences. Many try to ignore them or repress them.

Now comes a study that says physically abused and neglected children are much more likely to grow into severely depressed adults. My first reaction was, duh! But that is showing a disregard for those who know little about such mental stresses and how they figure into adult life. From working with dreams I have seen the remnants of childhood physical/mental abuse within the dreams. And I often state How I believe that such experiences can unconsciously control the activities of an adult. Of course having traveled that path I think of myself of having first hand experience. This study in my mind gives validity to this approach {if it really needed it}.

From the Article at MSNBC
Physically abused and neglected children are much more likely to grow into severely depressed adults.

Children who were physically abused, neglected or both had as much as a 75 percent higher risk of suffering major depression as adults.

“In addition, these findings reveal that onset of depression began in childhood for many of the children,” the report said.

Given that, depression beginning in childhood, the dreams of these individuals will most likely try to address the childhood abuses. If the effects of the abuse remain unresolved they will almost surely show up in dreams when the person reaches mid-life and beyond. Often the language in these dreams will provide literal images depicting someone being abused, although it is often someone other than the dreamer.
Example: In the dream I watched as the little boy was punished.
Or
I was in my childhood friend's house where children were verbally threatened or beaten.

I believe if we learn to better understand dreams and use them when working with depression or more serious mental disturbances we can provide more sound treatment with better results. Just as there is with the body's immune system which works to fight diseases, there is also a mechanism within the psyche that provides such protection for the mental state of being. They are called dreams.

The article is

Physical abuse leads to adult depression

Affected children have increased risk of major psychological problems


Gerard

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Re: Dreams, Childhood Abuse & Adult Depression

Yes I too believe this to be true. As an adult I know depression leaves you as helpless as a abused child. I think the helplessness is the key.

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Re: Re: Dreams, Childhood Abuse & Adult Depression

Carol,
You lend creedence that it is true about abuse as a child and the effects it has on us as adults. It is only good common sense to realize that the childhood is where we are primarily formed, that experiences from those earliest years leave an imprintation on our psyche. I see it as personal archetypes, those imprinted experiences that go with us throughout life. For those who may doubt this conclusion, I merely ask that they look back at their own childhood and see the influences from that period of time. Of course it is not only childhood that causes depression and mental instabilities, there can be many factors. But the sciences is showing us how profound childhood experiences can be in adult life.

Gerard

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Re: Dreams, Childhood Abuse & Adult Depression

Despite any truths that this 'research' and information may hold, it is hardly helpful for survivors of abuse to be held back and labelled as victims, compounding suggestions of 'damaged goods' or problems looking back to the past again.
If anything these experiences, while causing considerable psychic and emotional pain, the effects of which, in adulthood, as you have said, cannot be denied, have strengthen the person, through the sheer human struggle of surviving through the healing processes involved and being able to face the very worst that perception, societal agression and psychical intereferance can muster.
Until the strengths, resiliance, insights and courage of survivors has been celebrated and continues to be celebrated by society, then society itself is simple, sweeping its torubles under the carpet and blaming the survivors - rather than looking itself honestly and clealry in the 'collective face' as it should.
Will that day ever come?

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