Understanding Your Dreams

From the Mental Health Minutes  

Dreams can be an attempt by our unconscious minds to communicate with our conscious minds. The first step to understanding dreams is to write down your dreams. Record them as soon as you wake up, because they are easily forgotten. Keep a dream notebook. Write the dream down on the right side of the page and record ideas about what the dream may mean on the other side of the page. You may discover puns, notice themes, or look at the overall message of the dream.

There are different methods of interpreting dreams. One method is to look for themes such as representations of male and female characters in the dream. You are every part of the dream. If you dream about females it is probably the feminine side of you that is trying to get through to you. If you dream about children then it is probably the child part of you that needs attention.

Another way to understand dreams is to talk as if you are a certain part of the dream. For example, if you dream about a bridge; talk as if you are a bridge and see what understanding you gain.

A third way to interpret dreams is to simply ask: "How is this dream like my life?" Your unconscious may be trying to get a message through to you by having you notice a certain aspect of your life.

Many people have nightmares. If you have nightmares, talk about them with someone. Write them down. It may be that you will learn something from them -- or it might be that you need to lay off the chocolate malts and pizza before bed.

It is possible to teach yourself to dream about a subject that is bothering you in your waking life. This is called dream-programming and can be a fun way to communicate with your unconscious. Write down a sentence that you would like your unconscious to work on while you are asleep, such as, "Help me come up with a creative idea about improving my relationship with my spouse." The next morning, write down your dream and see what answer you received from your unconscious.

Dr. Hudson has an audio tape on interpreting and understanding dreams. You can find the tape and other helpful material in our Online Catalog.

Dreams can be a fun way of exploring your unconscious mind. If you need some coaching about this process, please contact the Hudson Center.


Copyright 1999, 2003 Dr. Pat Hudson. All Rights Reserved.