I’ve been fascinated by dreams for as long as I can remember, and as a psychologist, I listen to dreams all day long! My patients love to recount their dreams to me. Their dream material offers me a window into their innermost feelings, their hopes and dreams, their fears and anxieties. In NIGHTMARES CAN BE MURDER, a group of Savannah women form a dream club and meet every week to discuss their dreams and solve a murder or two.
Here are some of the most common questions people have asked me about dreams.
“What does it mean if a dead relative appears to me in a dream?”
When people dream of a loved one who has passed, they usually experience a sense of joy and peace. It reassures them to know that their friends, relatives and spouses really do exist on another plane. Invariably, the loved one appears to be in perfect health, happy and relaxed with no sorrow or cares.
“Why do I keep dreaming about a beautiful house? “
The “House Dream” is very common and well documented. The house is supposed to represent all the untapped potential in your life. All the rooms are bright and airy, and dreamers report that they seem to stretch on forever.
“Sometimes when I’m dreaming, I’m suddenly aware that I’m dreaming. I can choose to end the dream if I want to. Is this common?”
This is called “lucid dreaming” and most people aren’t capable of doing it, but it’s an interesting phenomenon. With practice, you can become more proficient at it.
“Can I control the content of my dreams? Can I make sure I see a certain person in my dreams?”
Sometimes you can. A lot of creative people make it a point to think about a particular person or a pressing problem right before they go to sleep. This makes it more likely that they will dream about this topic.
“I have vivid, violent nightmares. How can I make them stop?”
Some medications increase the likelihood of “disturbing dreams.” Also, many people experience nightmares at times of great stress in their lives.
“Sometimes I find myself dreaming about being stranded in a strange city at night. I have no car, no money and no way to get home.”
This is a classic anxiety dream. The dreamer feels alone and vulnerable and this usually occurs when things seem to be “spinning out of control” in real life.
“Do people need to dream?”
The brain needs to recharge itself and process the events of the day. Even if you don’t remember your dreams, your brain is trying to make sense of all the information it has absorbed that day.
Mary Kennedy is a clinical psychologist and lives with her husband and eight cats on the East Coast. Both husband and cats have resisted all her attempts to psychoanalyze them, but she remains optimistic. You can visit her at her website or Cozy Chicks Blog where she blogs every Saturday.