February, 2014

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Are we conditioned by dreams for the next day behavior in our relationships?

Jamal Hassan

Approved ProvenTherapist

We have got lot of materials since the day of Sigmund Freud and his dream analysis he wrote till his last days. Many of his interpretations are still holding water tight and still many fallen by the way side. We read many articles about why do we dream and what actually brain or unconscious mind does with dreams. Do they do self repairing or housekeeping or saving the memory space akin to disk defragmentation and setting the house in order!!??

sigmundMost of them are true too. May be the brain does the brain Gymming for itself for the next   active day as it feels little leisurely!!  Hence the dreams are practised as rehearsal and training sessions!!!. Contrary to earlier theoretical belief that we dream during REM sleep scientists found and proved that during NREM sleep too we dream. Now additional insight was provided by Prof . Patrick McNamara, added in his latest writings. He found the clear mood difference between REM dreams and NREM dreams. REM status is more likely like our wakeful status and depicts greater number of aggressive social behavior and NREM status is associated with polite behaviors which are socially acceptable in real life too. So as we recall the dreams the brain chemicals reach the same compositions and we are likely to exhibit the patterns of behavior suitable or matching with the status of our mind. In brief he concludes that our dreams shape our behavior but in which channel they are pipelined and manifested in our broader neural network is yet unknown. Definitely our limbic system and amygdale are the two major parts of brain taking part in shaping our emotions.

Another stalwart Dr.Dylan Selterman of University of Maryland held a longitudinal research to come out with more facts that from his laboratory work (DREAM Lab as he named it Dreams, Relationships, Emotions, Attachments and Morality Lab). He conducted the research on 61 undergraduates (aged between 17 and 42 including 47 women) for the first in research and came out with his findings. Indeed bad dreams shaped their behavior in their couple lives like jealous dreams, having sex with their partners pushed them low in their wakeful day. And interestingly it was also found the dream content were nothing related to the previous evening or the day. (But in my clinical observation of the children and adults from their dream scores (dialogues) as recorded verbatim by parents present more connection to their play or school environment dialogue in the case of children and household talks in the case of adults). He also agrees with the explanation by Prof McNamara that the state of chemicals reached at brain by the recalling of the dream shapes the mood and behavior of the recaller. (If he does not recall the dream experience??  Haha…He may save the day in a non eventful way as supported in the research. Even then the effect of dreaming is there. Brain chemicals sometime take whole 24 hours to be neutralized in the Circadian rhythm). The research team concludes “The findings support the idea that dreams are an important component of human social life, the scientific examination of which may provide unique insight into close relationship processes.”

We are fast moving from the redundant days of old theories to latest research supported findings about dreams, a special area of human psychology and behavior.  As the dreams have a determinant role in social behavior on the following day we shall update our knowledge with them carefully into our practice on relationship counseling. Your time and talk + the client time and talk = Success of the session! Remember this simple equation! Good luck fellows!

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