In the early days of psychology, dreams were considered very important, therapeutically. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, among others, dedicated much of their lives to understanding dreams and their function -- the role they play in our lives and how they can help.
In more recent times, the role of dreams has been played down by mainstream therapy. And yet dreams come from the unconscious mind, the part of our mind we're not usually conscious of. By paying attention to our dreams, therefore, we can become more aware of our unconscious, at which point that info becomes part of our conscious mind.
One way of accomplishing this is to keep a notepad and pen by your bed. When you wake up, jot down whatever you remember from your dream(s), even if it's just an image or two. (Some people may prefer to keep a smartphone by their bed and audio-record their comments.) Do this consistently -- each morning. With time, you may find that you're writing (or saying) more and more -- just from paying attention to dreams and taking note. Dream recall is getting activated.
There are many books on dream symbolism, and you can check them out at your local bookstore and find one you relate to. Ultimately, though, your dreams are speaking to you, and you may develop your own dream symbolism.
Either way, dreams are the unconscious's expression of knowledge, feelings, concerns, issues, hopes, and fantasies. And it can be healing -- and conducive to improved self-understanding -- to receive and process that communication.
With the suicide of renowned chef and TV presence Anthony Bourdain last month, more attention has been paid to the issue of suicide in the United States. There has been some recognition that suicide, and suicide prevention, needs to be understood better. It follows that a closer understanding of depression is also called for.
One thing I've learned, from my years of working with clients who considered suicide, and with those who had attempted it in the past, is that a suicidal crisis often indicates forthcoming growth and change. A suicidal person sees no hope or redeeming possibilities but it's usually because they still use their habitual frames of reference. Abandoning these frames can be terrifying and demoralizing, often to the point that it seems there can be no life worth living without them. Something does need to die, but it's not necessarily the person. Rather, it's some of their old ways, their old mentality: pain and despair can be signs showing they don't work anymore.
Pain and despair are messengers asking to be heard and understood. Suicide can be an attempt to avoid these messengers. I feel a key approach to suicide prevention is helping people understand that pain and despair are part of their own inner communication. We've all had false friends before: people who say nice flattering things and comfort us while they secretly try to harm us. What if pain and despair were false enemies? Apparently harmful but actually supportive and encouraging once embraced.
Hopefully, the dialog around suicide will expand to include these underlying issues and concerns.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
This relevant article discusses some well-meaning spiritual tropes and shows how they can be harmful when misapplied. Especially to victims of abuse and other forms of trauma. Click here
By Alex Chapunoff, LMHC
By now (pun intended?), you may have heard of “mindfulness” – living in the present instead of getting caught up in thoughts and feelings about past or future. Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now is a modern classic and a great book. But recently I started wondering about the Power of Here – living in the present instead of getting caught up in thoughts and feelings about elsewhere. Working with space (Here) as opposed to time (Now).
For most people, time is a more abstract quality than space; space is, or appears to be, more straightforward. So it could be an easier way for some to approach Presence.
Tolle makes many references to living in the Here: occupying your body fully, feeling all your emotions as they are, paying close attention to everything your five senses receive – really seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. He just includes all this under the word Now.
Some writers and teachers refer to the Here-Now.
When you live in the Now, you check the mind’s tendency to think of past and future. When you live in the Here, you check its tendency to think of other places: the fantasies, memories, ruminations, and so forth, about other locations that keep you from attending to where you are: thus, you can stay present. Wherever you are, that’s the place to be. And you’re there (here) fully. Wherever you are is Here.
And you engage that place – being conscious, awake, present.
You are “in the building.”
The lights are on.
Your body is always in the Here, so this is about aligning mind with body so they work together, occupying the same space.
Here and Now complement one another, and living in the Here can make living in the Now that much more accessible.
Relationships can be challenging but this article shows how some things shouldn't be compromised. Instead, they could be communicated. Click here
This piece shows how hiking (walking in nature) can benefit both body and mind and help with stress management, mood stabilization, memory, and overall health. Click here.
Interesting article on the holistic benefits of exercising.
How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym by Brad Stulberg
This article explores internet addiction and suggests managing it in a balanced way.
Not Going Online Is the New Going Online by Andrew Harrison
Interesting little article from Psychology Today.
"It really helped. Got it off my chest. I flashed back and could see the event play in my head and it brought back memories. Different from just talking about it with friends. It's behind me now." --H.C.
TIR Testimonials are quotes from clients about their TIR (Traumatic Incident Reduction) experiences. Client initials have been changed to protect confidentiality.
A blog is a great way for us to share info with you.