by Mary Kennedy
As a practicing psychologist, I find that my clients are fascinated by dreams. Most of them have read a little Freud, who called dreams “the royal road to the unconscious.” Freud believed dreams can help us access our innermost thoughts; our fears, wishes and desires.
When I came up with the premise of the Dream Club Mysteries, I envisioned a group of Savannah women who would meet once a week to eat some fabulous Southern desserts and talk about their dreams. And of course, they would solve a murder or two in every book.
When I’m asked to speak on dreams, I find that people have strong beliefs—and sometimes misconceptions—about dreams. Here are a few questions I’ve come across.
*You can only dream about things you’ve experienced in real life. Is this true?
No, of course not. Anything can happen in a dream. You can take on a new persona, explore lands both real and imaginary and have adventures worthy of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.
*Our bodies don’t respond to our dreams. We continue to slumber, unaware that our minds are playing out a little fantasy in our sleep.
This is false. Think about the last time you did something physical in your dream. Were you climbing a mountain or swinging from a zip line like Angelina Jolie? Your blood pressure may soar, your heartbeat may rachet up a notch and your chest probably felt tight. If you awake in the middle of an “action” dream, just take a few deep breaths and everything will return to normal in a few minutes.
*What does it mean if a dead relative appears to me in a dream? Does it mean I’m going to die?
No, not at all. When people dream of a loved one who has passed, they usually experience a sense of joy and peace. It reassures them to know that their friends, relatives and spouses really do exist on another plane. Invariably, the loved one appears to be in perfect health, happy and relaxed, with no sorrow or cares.
*Why do I keep dreaming about a beautiful house?
The “House Dream” is very common and well documented. The house is supposed to represent all the untapped potential in your life. All the rooms are bright and airy, and dreamers report that they seem to stretch on forever.
*Sometimes when I’m dreaming, I’m suddenly aware that I’m dreaming. I can choose to end the dream if I want to. Is this common?”
This is called “lucid dreaming” and most people aren’t capable of doing it, but it’s an interesting phenomenon. With practice, you can become proficient at it.
*I have vivid, violent nightmares. How can I make them stop?
Some medications increase the likelihood of “disturbing dreams.” Also, many people experience nightmares at times of great stress in their lives.
*Sometimes I find myself dreaming about being stranded in a strange city at night. I have no car, no money and no way to get home.
This is a classic anxiety dream. The dreamer feels alone and vulnerable and this usually occurs when things seem to be “spinning out of control” in real life.
Whether or not you’re a “believer,” it’s fun to explore our dreams and try to decipher what they really mean, as the women in the Dream Club do. But do clues from their dreams really solve crimes? Is it luck, or coincidence or a combination of the two? I leave it to the reader to decide.
Thanks for stopping by and I'd love to hear about your dreams!