Q. What do my dreams mean?
I have been dreaming about _________________(fill in the
blank from the following: abuse, my trauma, my mother, my father,
my abuser, weird things)." Should I assume this is an accurate memory
of abuse or what actually happened to me?
A. I was trained to believe that dreams are symbolic of
something we are attempting to resolve. In this fashion, all dreams
are products of your healthy self. And your healthy psyche is attempting
to grow and heal.
Unlike therapists who are trained in classical psychoanalytic
methods, my training emphasized that each person's symbolized meaning
is inside them. Thus, there are no charts of meanings where we can
look up your dream to tell you it's meaning.
These are your symbols. Therefore, the meanings
of your dream are near the surface of your mind. There are therapeutic
processes I use within a session with people to help them get in touch
with their own meanings. Just know that all aspects of your dream
are some symbolic aspect of yourself, your memories, or your feelings.
There are some therapists in the field of PTSD who encourage
you to take your dreams literally as evidence of exactly what was
done to you. I think this is a mistake, especially in cases of Dissociate
Identity Disorder or amnesia. This is because it is difficult enough
for you to decide for yourself who you are and what happened to you.
And too easy for any therapist to intrude on your decisions
regarding your identify. I emphasize with my clients that they should
trust themselves and their instincts regarding dreams, memories, issues
of self-identity and feelings. And I actively refrain from giving
my own interpretations.