Last week, I was doing a session of EMDR with a woman who had been through a sexual assault.  At the beginning of each session, I asked her if she had any new thoughts, insights, or dreams.  At those last words, she looked at me and said yes she had a dream, but couldn’t remember what it was except that it had bothered her at the time.  After the session was over, I started thinking about dreams.  Often times discounted by friends, and family, dreams can lead to really insightful work in therapy.  However, in order to discuss, and analyze dreams during a session, one must first be able to remember it in order to bring it to counseling.  So, I’ve taken the time to write a few steps to help remember your dreams.

  1. The best time for capturing a dream is in the space right before you awaken.  You are not completely awake, yet not completely asleep.  Take note of your surroundings in that semi dream state.
  2. Fix on any words, thoughts, images, or feelings that linger during this time
  3. Record them immediately.  It is helpful to keep a dream journal by your bed, and get into the habit of recording pieces on a regular basis.
  4. Make note of words that come to mind, and let your mind wander.  It’s ok if you can’t remember the entire dream.  As you start to record words, images, and feelings, you may start to notice that more of the dream becomes clearer.
  5. It is best to record in the first person, and in the present tense.  Tell the story as you are seeing it, and allow the details to develop.

When you feel that something significant has happened in your dream, bring your journal into your counseling session.  Allow yourself to be open for interpretation, and work with your therapist to explore possible insights, and links.

By allowing yourself and your therapist access to the subconscious, it is possible to bring new ideas, thoughts, and changes within yourself.

Copyright, 2011, Benjamin Wolf. Blog entries and other materials available on Hope & Healing For Life’s website are intended to stimulate thoughts and conversations.  If you or someone you know suffers from a mental illness, you are strongly encouraged to seek help from a mental health professional. For further information about this blog, or Hope & Healing For Life, contact Ben Wolf at 612-643-1920 or