Sigmund Freud stated that the dream is the royal road to the unconscious. In individual therapy at Sunset Malibu, dreams are explored by the therapist with the client to uncover repetitive themes and discuss its possible meanings. Therapists help clients look at dreams that are meant to assist the client in their waking life, especially repetitive dreams and nightmares are of particular value. Assisting a client’s understanding of a disturbing persistent dream can reduce its occurrence and its associated distress. Together the therapist and client explore the hidden meanings the unconscious is trying to bring to conscious awareness. Clients are encouraged to journal their dreams upon waking to help them remember the specifics of the dream, and bring their dream journal to the therapy session. Sharing a dream not only refreshes it in the client’s memory, it can also provide the client with new insights while viewing it more objectively. The therapist listening to a client share a dream will also take special note of body language, facial expressions, and voice intonation/fluctuation since these often reflect related unconscious elements. The feelings in the dream are also examined as they relate to the client’s daily life, especially the previous day for the same feeling. This greatly ties together the dream symbols and representations and their waking counterparts. On the other hand, if the client’s dream has a strong intense feeling, such as anger or sexuality, then the dream may be a safe outlet for such feelings which have been denied healthy expression in daily life. Unexpressed emotions can be significant in contributing to substance abuse and relapse. Dream work offers opportunities for wish fulfillment, creativity, guidance, deep personal insight and healing.
Read about our next therapy: EMDR