Dreams have been considered and debated since people have existed. Research on dreams began in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, nothing has proven why dreams happen or what they do. Freud suggested that dreams are an expression of subconscious desires, from which all sorts of strange animal impulses come. He believed that he would be able to find out what bothered people by analyzing their dreams. While dreams reveal troubles much older than Freud, he was the first to try and rationalize dream therapy (Dreaming of a better life).
According to American Health (April 1997) about three-quarters of people who use dream therapy are women. They speculate this is due to hormonal differences. Other reasons to speculate that women are more inclined to use dream therapy are because they seem more connected to the dreaming world than men, women dream more often than other times during their menstrual cycle (which helps them recall their dreams more clearly at those times) and women tend to dream more during pregnancy (Waking).
People who suffer from frequent nightmares also use dream therapy. Dream therapy may help those who suffer from frequent nightmares find underlying signs of other illnesses or perhaps drug reactions (Dream Therapy: Nightmare).
Danya C. MacKean, student at Augustana University College, stated in a paper for a psychology paper that dream therapy is used by patients who are treated for post traumatic stress syndrome These patients use dream therapy to make his or herself aware that they are dreaming to lessen the resistance of confrontation with the figures or situation in which they are dreaming (MacKean).
Dream therapy can be done in dream groups, however is most commonly done by the individual. Dream groups are described as a blend of psychology, mysticism and poetry where members of the group meet regularly to share their dreams. Those involved in dream groups are encouraged to share their associations or feeling invoked by the dream. Some dream groups meet with a professional therapist, while others do not find it necessary. It is understood in dream groups that all participants are to keep the contents of their meetings confidential (Dreaming of a better life).
Many choose to do dream therapy on their own than participating in dream groups or seeing professional therapists to avoid what is almost like fortune telling (Dream therapy &). Those whop participate in individual dream therapy tend to keep a written journal or voice record what they remember about their dreams (Dreaming of a better life).
It is suggested to anyone who uses dream therapy to follow a few tips to be successful.
1) Avoid alcohol and certain prescription and non-prescription drugs because they can suppress REM sleep and/or recall.
2) Before falling asleep, take a few minutes and tell yourself a few times that you will remember...