We all dream at night. Sometimes we remember our dreams and often we forget, but all dreams can teach us something about ourselves. Fortunately, we need not have a M.D. or special psychic gifts to learn from our dreams.
Want to have some fun with your spouse or significant other? Want to talk about something other than kids, schedules, finances, or in-laws?
Try this …
If you remember some dreams, great. If not, when falling asleep, just tell yourself you will have a dream and will remember all its details. Keep a notebook at your bedside. The next time you awaken with a memory of a dream, immediately write it down in detail from beginning to end. Don’t wait until later; you’ll probably forget the dream entirely or at least some important details.
Pick a time when you and your partner can spend a little quality time together. The person who has a dream to share will be the Dreamer, and the other will be the Partner.
Dreamer: Tell your dream to your Partner from beginning to end. It’s o.k. if the dream does not seem complete; even small parts of your dream can be interesting. To help enrich your storytelling, try including some of the following:
a. What is the main theme or storyline? If you could give your dream a title, what would it be?
b. What were the major feelings? Anger? Sadness? Fear? Shame? Love? Happiness?
c. Describe as many details as possible, such as the people, places, things, and actions. Be specific.
Partner: After the Dreamer has told you the whole dream, ask the Dreamer any questions that will help you understand the dream better. Be curious. Then it’s your turn to tell the dream. Tell the same dream back to the Dreamer, as if it were your own. Use “I” not “you” when telling the dream. Be sure to be nonjudgmental.
While retelling their dream, what feelings are evoked in you, the Partner? There are no right or wrong feelings. Tell the Dreamer what you think the dream might mean. What do you see as the main storyline? What “title” would you give the dream? Discuss any special messages you think are in the dream.
Dreamer: After your Partner is finished, discuss with them any new feelings or meanings that were evoked in you. Discuss if this helped you understand your dream better. Would you now change your title?
Did this exercise help you learn something new about yourself or your Partner? As an added suggestion, how would both of you re-write a happy or happier ending to the dream?
Remember to have fun -- together!
Richard Drobnick, LCSW, DCSW is the Director of the first Mars & Venus Counseling Center in Northern New Jersey with offices in Teaneck, Oradell, and Ramsey. He has been a practicing counselor/psychotherapist for more than 25 years. For more information on Richard Drobnick and the Mars & Venus Counseling Center, please visit www.marsvenusnewjersey.com or call 201-692-0508.