Why Hypnosis and Dreams ?

The combination of dream work and hypnosis is truly a profound and transforming experience where the healing nature of dreams, and the potential of hypnosis as a therapeutic and personal growth tool, comes to the fore. This type of regression is recommended to anyone wishing to seek self-knowledge and actualisation. Even a sliver of a memory of a dream can be useful in this work. This is an exciting and ever so personal exploration of your subconscious mind where you get to unlock and know the secrets of your dreams.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Analysing dreams

You cannot begin to understand your dreams until you remember them. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to keep a dream diary. Over time you will find that you begin to gain an insight into your dream world, and into some of the events that influence your life. You will also become more familiar with the images of your unconscious mind and will begin to recognize and understand your own symbols.

Keeping a dream diary
Buy a notebook specifically for this purpose and keep it with a pen by your bed at all times. That means that even if you wake up in the middle of the night you can scribble down your recollections of your dream, or dreams, immediately. It might also be useful to keep a torch by your bed.

As soon as you wake up and before you start writing close your eyes for a few seconds and try to recapture some of the images in your dream. Most dreams are a series of images and remembering one could trigger the recollection of a sequence. If you can't recall any images, try to remember how you were feeling as this, too could trigger a fragment of a dream.

Now start writing. You could use the left hand page of the notebook to record the dream and the right hand page for your subsequent notes and comments. It is essential that you write your dream diary before you do anything else in the morning, so as to make it a habit. The more conscious you are in waking life, the more unconscious you will be of your dream world and any activity such as having a shower or making a cup of coffee will shift your concentration and dissipate the dream.

Try to include as much detail as possible, even the parts which don't seem to be relevant or don't make sense to you. Writing in the present tense will make the dream seem more immediate.
Once the bones of a dream have been recorded you can begin to flesh them out. One approach is to look at the dream in categories. For example  you could analyse it under the following headings:

Significance:  Is there a direct link between the dream and the day's events? Or does the dream reflect something from your past life?

Theme:  Did the dream have a main theme running through it? Were you running away?  Is it a recurrent dream?

Setting:  Where did the dream take place ?

People:  List the cast of chracters

Feelings:  Make a note of any emotions you experienced in the dream. Were you angry, scared or frustrated?

Words or phrases:  Did any words or phrases in the dream jump out or seem to have particular significance?

Other notes:  Was a particular color, time of day or season important in your dream?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Preparing to Sleep and Dream

A peaceful night's sleep will create an environment in which dreams will flourish. Make going to bed a pleasurable ritual, a time when you can put the day behind you and concentrate on the relaxing night ahead. If you are in the habit of going to bed late, retire earlier. The natural human sleep pattern is to sleep early and wake early, so don't stay up late "pottering" or watching television.

Relaxation Techniques

Think of your bedroom as a restful haven in your home where you can get away from the stresses of the day. Don't put computers or piles of work in the bedroom. Keep lighting soft , low and warm and tidy away discarded clothes and other clutter.

A long soak in a a warm bath has a soothing effect on the body and can be further enhanced by adding aromatherapy oils. Essential oils are concentrated so add no more than 5-10 drops to a full bathtub (no more than 2 drops for children) and consult your doctor if you are pregnant.

Experiment until you find the fragrances that work for you but three oils are traditionally considered best for sleep. Lavender helps with insomnia, tension and tiredness; sandalwood is purifying warming and soothing and jasmine is a balancing oil which helps to relieve stress.

If you enjoy reading bring your favorite book with you or try listening to appealing music while you learn to let go.  Bathing by candlelight will also make the occasion more relaxing and special. Most of all, take your time and allow yourself to fully enjoy this private personal space and time set aside just for yourself.

Massage a few drops of lavender or chamomile oil into the soles of your feet before going to bed, as both of these will act as a sedative. Putting a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow will also help to induce sleep.  Avoid caffeine drinks such as coffee and tea at least an hour before retiring as they will probably keep you awake. Instead have a bedtime drink such as hot milk with honey, chamomile tea or lemon balm (a good restorative for the nervous system).

Once you are in bed, unwind physically by concentrating on the different parts of your body in turn, from your toes to your head. Think about each part and make sure that it is relaxed before moving on to the next: "I relax my toes, my toes are completely relaxed. I relax my calves, my calves are completely relaxed, and heavy.  I imagine my thighs are relaxed, I breathe through my thighs while taking a deep breath and this breath makes them relax... I imagine a white light of relaxation moving in as I breathe in and carrying all my tensions and worries away... I imagine this white light to be like a river... carrying downstream all that is not needed right now... letting go of thoughts, knowing I will be able to still find them downstream if I so wish tomorrow morning... I let my thoughts go to sleep too... I let go... I allow my torso to relax... I imagine my arms to be heavy and relaxed, limp and lazy, as heavy as lead, as relaxed as a wet dish cloth... I relax my hands... I relax my jaw... and so on and so forth.

Alternatively first tense and then release each group of muscles, starting at your toes and moving upwards through your calves, thighs, hands, arms, bottom, stomach, neck and face, giving your mouth, eyes, cheeks and eyebrows separate attention.

Finally, if you do sometimes have trouble dropping off to sleep, try not to worry about the amount of sleep you are getting, as your body will eventually make sure that you get all the sleep you need. The  the Law of Reverse Effect says that the more you worry about not going to sleep the more you will keep awake. Paradoxically if you accept that your sleep may be delayed and that you still are getting a rest by lying down quietly you are more likely to eventually fall asleep.  There is no point watching a pot that never boils. Do something else (read, write down your thoughts on a diary, listen to music, or just daydream) and eventually sleep will come. 

One good way to think about it is realizing that not sleeping is not really as bad as you may make it out to be. Think about it: you probably had a night in the past when you went to a party or had such a good night with a lover or a friend that you didn't sleep much. The day after the memory of that time kept you buzzing and you didn't really care that you had a couple hours sleep instead of eight full hours. This shows you that , far from being a catastrophe, not sleeping is just a slight inconvenience. You can still function if you don't sleep, albeit it would be preferable to sleep plenty but by re-framing not sleeping as something you can cope with, you don't allow your anxiety to get the best of you, and relaxing becomes easier.

However if you have persistent symptoms do make an appointment to see me or another qualified hypnotherapist who will be able to help you directly by teaching you self hypnosis and other techniques and giving you post hypnotic suggestions for a restful night sleep.

Preparing to Dream

Before switching off the light, tell yourself that you will relax body and mind, go to sleep quickly and sleep uninterruptedly through to the morning. Or simply repeat to yourself "I will remember my dreams". Say this as an affirmation, a positive and gentle way of telling your subconscious that you feel in control and you are interested.

Just as essential oils can help you to relax, certain herbs are thought to be conducive to dreaming. The following herbs can be put in a small sachet and kept under your pillow.
Mugworth is said to aid dream recall and also to induce "prophetic" dreams. Rose has a relaxing smell and like Mugworth  is supposed to bring prophetic dreams - especially those of romantic nature. Rosemary is useful for warding off nightmares and bringing restful sleep; it is also said to be effective if you want a particular question answered in a dream.

Finally, hang a "dream-catcher"  above your bed. Originating from Native American culture, this is a net woven on a round frame decorated with beads and feathers. The net is thought to catch bad dreams, which evaporate with the first rays of the morning sun, while the good dreams drift down onto the sleeper below.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why you sleep and dream

People spend about a third of their lives asleep and a quarter of that time dreaming. During sleep the metabolism slows down, the immune system concentrates on fighting infection, and the production of growth hormone increases, not only for growth but also for repair of body tissue. On a mental level, sleep deprivation leads to poor concentration, memory failure and irritability.

Sleep patterns

The sleep cycle is broken up into several distinct phases. The first is a period of "slow wave" sleep , when brain activity, breathing heart rater all slow down. Slow wave sleep goes through four stages, the last of which is the deepest, when the brain waves are slowest. This is the time when it is most difficult to rouse someone. After about 90 minutes, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep begins, when the most vivid dreams occur. Phases of REM sleep recur four or five times during the night between periods of slow wave sleep.

Each  REM phase is longer and more intense , from 15 minutes for the first up to 45 minutes for the last, which is often in the finla hour of sleep before you wake up.

Why you Dream

Studies have shown that if people are deprived of REM sleep they become irritable and lack concentration. They try to catch up on dreams as soon as they are allowed to sleep again by dreaming more than usual, even if this means having less  REM sleep. This suggests that dreams are in some way necessary for mental and emotional health. They may be a sign that the brain is "ticking over" , continuing to interpret signals from the outside world. They may be a form of wish fulfillment or a way of expressing and resolving emotional crises. Dreams may also be a way for the brain to sort information it has received during the day as well as considering ideas and grappling with problems.

When you Dream

It was once thought that dreams occur only during REM sleep, but research has found that dreams occur throughout the night during periods of non REM sleep, although they are less vivid and are usually forgotten.  In the lighter phases of sleep (stages one and two) dreams resemble the fleeting images and thoughts you may experience if you simply allow your mind to drift while awake ( as when you are in a trance, under hypnosis) .

Dreams from deeper sleep (stages three and four) are often fragmentary sensation, feelings and thoughts rahter than images. When people are stirred from these deeper stages of slow wave sleep they are often groggy, confused and unable to remember what they have dreamed. In  contrast , dreams during REM sleep have chraracters and storylines played out in a series of vivid images while people usually wake from REM sleep fully conscious and with  memories of their dreams.

The body also responds to different types of dreams. During slow wave sleep you may twitch, talk or even sleep walk, but during REM sleep you are virtually still. While the brain remains active, muscle tone is lost, resulting in paralysis. This means there is no danger of physically acting out a dream and also explain the sense of paralysis often experienced during a nightmare.

Why you Forget Your Dreams

Even though everyone has periods of REM sleep some people claim never to dream. This is simply because they do not remember them. But if dreams are important, why is this?
About a quarter of sleeping time is taken up with dreaming approximately two hours a night. That is a lot to remember especially if you recall your dreams only when you wake up during them or immediately afterwards. Most people lead busy lives, and wake up ready to get on with the day. Taking the time to think about what you were dreaming during the night would seem a luxury, but it is exactly what is needed to remember your dreams.

Dreams can also be difficult to remember - frequently chaotic and confusing, they flash incoherently from one image to the next. Memories of hem tend to be partial and imprecise, and it is always easier to remember dreams that are dramatic and colorful or those that have some personal significance.

If you want to remember your dreams , a good way to start is to get a dream journal and to keep it at arms reach by your bed. When you wake up try not to move at all and while keeping your eyes closed try to recall anything you might have dreamed of. This could be just one image or a sensation. Write  down what you remember and jot down any associations with that image or feeling that comes to mind.  This sends a signal to your subconscious that you value your dreams and want to remember them.  In time will start to remember more and more.

Also, if you can, try not to use an alarm for waking up...!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What is dream therapy?

By their very nature dreams are ephemeral and transitory, and therefore difficult to remember. If you do rememebr them it is often in the form of  a confused series of images and feeelings, but occasionally a dream is so startingly vivid that it stays with you for hours, sometimes days, afterwards.

To dismiss the significance of dreams and the role they pla would be to ignore a regular experience that is not only fascintating but can also be insightful and inspiring. There are ways to help you remember your dreams and lead you to a  greater understading of them, This in turn could lead to a greater understanding of the events that affect and influence your waking life. 

Sometimes the meaning of a dream may be obvious, such a as a dream about a supervisor at work turning into a monster, but other times you need to dig deeper and you maybe even discover that themes or patterns begin to recur. 
Sadly, dreams are more often negative than positive(which is why nightmares tend to be more memorable than pleasant dreams) but this is a good reason to try to understand them as they can help you confront and assess unresolved problems.

Dreams are as individual as people. Exploring yours may reveal different aspects of yourself, offer an interesting perspective on life, or fire your imagination and creative potential. It is an unexplored territory waiting to be discovered.

Dream language is made of symbols and metaphores that you have created. Therefore nobody but you really knows what your dream means. People that claim to be able to analyse your dreams for you will use their intuition to interpret your dream for you, but although they may sometimes hit the mark they also inevitabley will make mistakes because they are not inside your head and they are not you.

This is where the kind of dream therapy I offer differs from most. As a holistic dream hypnotherapist I use a combination of relaxation techniques and gestalt therapy to make you  understand your dreams from the inside , rather than the outside.

My approach is based on the pioneering work of Randal Churchill, hypnotherapist and author of  "Become the dream", with whom I trained at the Hypnotherapy Institute of Northern California.

For more information or to book a free consultation visit my website my website , email me or call me  now on 075 44247800