Unlock the Power of Your Dreams: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Dreams and Trauma

Mar 02, 2023
Unlock the Power of Your Dreams: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Dreams and Trauma

When you have high expectations of yourself, you can achieve greatness.
― Dave Shepp


Dreams are mysterious and powerful. They can reveal our deepest fears, show us our greatest desires, and help us heal from trauma. But how do we access their power? What do dreams mean in different cultures? How does psychology inform our work with dreams? In this article, we’ll explore these questions and more as we dive into the world of dreamwork.


Indigenous Understandings of Dreams

Dreams have been a part of human culture since ancient times. Indigenous people around the world have traditionally viewed dreams as messages from spirit guides that offer guidance on life decisions. For example, some native American tribes believed that a dream could provide an individual with knowledge about healing plants or animals. And in some African societies, dream interpreters were consulted when making important decisions such as choosing a partner or starting a new business.


Photo credit: Sergey Pesterev @Unsplash


Carl Jung & Freud

In modern times, psychologists such as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud have helped us gain insight into why we dream and what our dreams mean. Jung proposed that dreams arise from the collective unconscious – a shared repository of archetypes that live deep within all of us. These archetypes often manifest in symbols or images in our dreams, which can then be interpreted to provide insight into our inner lives. Freud argued that all dreaming is wish fulfillment – each dream represents an unfulfilled desire or repressed emotion from our conscious lives. By interpreting these wishes and repressed emotions through dream analysis, we can gain insight into how they impact our daily lives and relationships.

Gestalt & Archetypal Psychology

The Gestalt approach to working with dreams focuses on understanding the context behind each dream image rather than seeking literal interpretations for them. This approach emphasizes an embodied exploration of each image to uncover its deeper meaning – for instance, what feelings come up when you imagine yourself in the scene? In contrast, archetypal psychology seeks to understand the universal themes that appear in many different people’s dreams – such as death or transformation – and how they relate to current events or cultural beliefs.

That said, there is no “right” way to work with your dreams – everyone approaches it differently depending on their background, culture, and personal experience with trauma. The key is to be curious about what your dream images evoke within you so that you can begin to make sense of them on an emotional level rather than trying to interpret them literally or symbolically.


Working with your dreams can be a powerful tool for healing trauma as well as gaining greater self-awareness around your own emotions and behavior patterns. By understanding indigenous views on dreaming as well as psychological approaches like those developed by Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, we can begin to access the power of our own inner worlds through careful interpretation of our night-time visions. If this article has sparked your interest in learning more about how to work with your own nightmares or daydreams for healing purposes then I recommend checking out my free training on working with dreams below. Together let’s unlock the power of your subconscious!

 Photo credit: Joshua Hibbert @Unsplash

Video credit: Albert Wong

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