Psychological Self-Help

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the unconscious mind to give us its wisdom about handling emotional
situations. Thus, the conscious mind needs to discover what problem
the unconscious mind is working on and then decipher the
unconscious's solution. Langs has a book and a workbook for
understanding dreams. Other dream experts (Delaney, 1995; Garfield,
1994) are constantly publishing a new book for understanding or
controlling dreams and problem-solving. 
As some ancient tribes, Indian medicine men, yogi dream
interpreters, and psychoanalysts believed, perhaps we should listen to
dreams for insight and our emotional health. Humans have certainly
wanted dreams to have meaning. But physiological psychologists are
finding more and more evidence that dreams may merely be our
cortex trying hard to make sense out of meaningless signals straying
up from the midbrain during sleep. This possibility should make us
cautious. Think of it this way: perhaps dreams are not highly
significant camouflaged messages from our unconscious, but, in any
case, dreams do reflect our concerns of the day and our memories.
Also, our conscious speculation about why our cortex had the
particular associations (resulting in a vivid, complex, fascinating
dream) to the random signals may aid our self-understanding. Dream
analysis could be for understanding our cortex trying to make sense of
nonsense, instead of for understanding unconscious motives. For
instance, wondering about the significance of what we see in a cloud
or an ink blot may yield some helpful self-awareness, without our
believing that the cloud was formed by a higher power specifically to
send us a message. Consider this method a challenge, not necessarily
a "royal road to the unconscious." 
Purposes
To gain self-understanding, especially about repressed feelings
and basic needs or motives. 
To release or "discharge" some emotion by dreaming, e.g. fears
or tension, anger, sadness or others. 
Steps
STEP ONE: Learning to remember your dreams.
Most or all of us dream, usually about five or six times every night
during REM sleep. But a dream, if it occurred in the first 3 or 4 hours
of sleep, will probably not be remembered at all the next morning.
Even if a dramatic dream occurred just prior to awakening, you may
have trouble remembering the details a few minutes later, unless you
concentrate on the dream and exclude other thoughts, like what you
have to do today. A few people remember their dreams very well,
most people don't. However, everyone can learn to keep a dream
diary. (Since the day's experience has so much impact on our dreams,
we should also keep a daily journal.) 
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