Dream analysis has been used for thousands of years. It’s recorded that the Egyptians and Babylonians used analysis as a form of prophecy. Tibetans have their own form of analysis which they connect spiritual meaning to. It was introduced in the west as a tool in psychotherapy by Sigmund Freud.
Depending on the philosophy you prefer, dreams can be interpreted as the unconscious mind, unfulfilled wishes, random brain synapses or prophetic messages from the universe. The dream world is indeed your oyster.
In the camp of addiction recovery, looking at one’s dreams can build connections between the unconscious and conscious mind. Often addicts drink and use out of anxiety, fear and overwhelming emotions. The opportunity to observe oneself through dreams allows for a deeper look at ones motives. For instance, lets say you had a dream about walking down a staircase to a dinner party hosted by a family from your childhood neighborhood. Upon first analysis you realize:
- This family was unfriendly to you.
- In the past you would have liked to go to that party, but today you wouldn’t.
- As you walked down the stairs you felt anxious. You didn’t want to go.
Relating this scene to your current day experiences you realize:
- You have a pattern of reaching out to people who are unavailable to you.
- You are developing an awareness that this is your pattern and you’d like to change.
- The anxiety you felt is representative of the anxiety you are feeling in the new relationships you are building. You are questioning if they are your old patterns repeating themselves or just social anxiety.
Clinical psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber of Harvard University says, “Dreams reveal a person’s deepest desires and deepest wounds.” Connecting the people and themes in your dreams to current day can provide useful insights to making mindful choices in life, especially addiction recovery.