Yes. Dreams are natural and necessary to our mental health. It is the unconscious mind’s way of processing (or problem-solving) relevant information to the dreamer.
Dreams most often (though not always) contain symbolic expressions rather than concrete literal reflection of our thoughts. Some psychologists believe this is the mind’s way of protecting itself from conscious worry over important stressful issues. Freud, the first credible psychologist further explained that dreams were one of the 3 “windows to the soul” revealing our true self and personality. Some psychologists place each dream in a certain category as they interpret it. Such categories include warning dreams, reminder dreams, relationship issues, career issues, and conflict dreams etc. Some dreams are recurring on a daily or weekly basis because they reflect an issue not resolved.
We ALL dream 90-120 minutes nightly whether we remember the dreams or not. “Type A” persons who tend to bury themselves in their work and high energy people who stay busy in their projects may say they do not dream or do not remember their dreams. Their personality type tends to suppress the recall of dreams and they often jump rom the alarm clock to the shower without time to ponder the night’s dream activity. A conscious effort to keep a dream journal near the bed and write what they remember as they awake is of utmost importance. Include how you felt during and after the dream as it also is important to the interpretation. Even after you write out your dreams, how you were feeling in that dream and study the dream, you will most likely not be able to fully interpret it without the help of a licensed professional specializing in dream interpretation. The dream’s interpretation is hidden to the dreamer, so the mind can further insulate itself from unnecessary stress or threat.
Interpreting dreams for over 20 years, I have learned that there are 3 levels of interpretation as well as both natural and spiritual applications. The first level of symbolic interpretation is a general one that is shared among all persons of varying cultures. For example, flying generally reflects having control over an issue or situation while falling represents doubts about succeeding in an issue of importance. A baby in a dream may represent a new idea or project one is facing rather than a new pregnancy or the babies in the nursery you saw this week. The second level of interpretation is more specific and becomes clearer from knowing the dreamer’s culture, developmental history, some family background, educational background, career and relationships to others. Knowing the person helps the psychologist interpret whether the baby in that dream represents birthing a new idea, starting a new project or preparing for someone’s pregnancy. The third level and most applicable one is based on the very specific experiences of the day before the dream: those persons talked to, issues faced, mail read, news of the day and what one was specifically concerned about during the day and before turning in to bed. An intimate knowledge of the person is necessary in-order-to be accurate at this level of interpretation. An example is that the dreamer tells you the baby was abandoned at a nearby school and neither they nor another seemed to be willing and able to rescue it. Follow questions reveal that this individual is thinking about returning to school to add a certification or degree to change/enhance their career path. They need counsel but know no one well enough who cares to help them.
Dreams may also have spiritual content and applications. The Bible reveals that we are spiritual souls living in this physical mortal body. Unlike the animals He created, He breathed into Adam and Eve His spirit making them into His own image-a living soul. We also live in a spiritual world where evil and good spirits can be evidenced by all, but only discerned by a few as empowered by God.
The spiritual meanings and applications of dreams therefore are not typically attempted by a non-Christian Therapist. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for devout Christians seeking more of God’s will is “spiritual discernment” (1 Corinthians 12:10). Spiritual discernment or interpretation is a gift from God that was actively seen in Joseph of the Old Testament to find favor with Pharaoh by interpreting his dreams and it was active in the disciples to recognize the demonically possessed. While the gift of discernment can be used to identify Godly spirits from evil ones, it is also for recognizing false doctrine and to interpret dreams spiritually. The Christian licensed Therapist who is competent at dream interpretation may therefore seek further spiritual discernment and application from God through the Holy Spirit.
In summary, everyone dreams, and all dreams are significant. Obtain ample sleep at the same times nightly, keep a journal and pen by the bed, write down your dreams before leaving the bed each morning and include a statement of how you felt in the dream and afterward as best you can. Note any patterns or reoccurring dreams if you can. Seek a Christian competent licensed therapist who feels comfortable with interpretation, setting applicable goals, identifying reasonable interventions and resolution of the issues.
By Wayne R. Faust, MA, SPE, HSP Author of 300 Billion to One, Available at Amazon.com