The Use of Dream Journaling in Therapy
As a stand-alone practice, the act of writing out your thoughts and feelings in a journal is scientifically proven to be good for you. Getting the emotions out of your body and mind and onto a page is evidenced to be a positive therapeutic tool between sessions with a mental health counselor.
It is meditative to put pen to paper and helps to improve mood and memory function. Journaling can help as an outlet for emotions. It can help to organize what you are feeling. By doing so that you can make sense of what is happening in your body. It also helps to keep an inventory of thoughts, which makes it easier to see your own patterns. This will, in turn, lead to opportunities for growth.
Even more helpful is keeping a dream journal. Science shows us that we forget most details of our dreams almost instantaneously after waking up. Research says that we forget most details within 5 minutes of waking. If you can get into a habit of jotting down details and memories from dreams just after you wake up for the day, it can greatly assist in personal growth.
But why are our dreams so important?
In REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the left and right brains are activated to work through our thoughts, feelings, grief, and trauma. Our brains are really so incredible. Dreams are our brain’s attempt to heal itself and make sense of our anxiety and fears.
Have you ever woken from a dream and thought “That’s so strange! Why did I dream about that?” It’s likely because your brain was working in overdrive healing things that have been repressed and stored in your inactive memories.
The components of the dream often don’t seem to fit together or make sense on the surface. That’s a very good rationale for why it’s important to write down as many details as possible before they are forgotten. This practice can help give you clues about what needs to be worked on. It also provides an amazing amount of content for your next therapy session.
Some Things to Consider when Dream Journaling
Consider the following questions below which may provide clues for what your brain is trying to heal for you:
- Who was in the dream?
- How did you wake up feeling?
- What objects appeared in the dream?
- What were you doing in the dream?
- Did you awake with any sensations in your body? (Tightness in your chest, clenched fists, etc)
Dream Journaling and EMDR
Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), was a pioneer in our field who discovered that the very same left and right brain activation method could be incredibly useful in clinical settings to bring traumatic memories to the frontal lobe of our brains (where rational thought process occurs) in order to make shifts towards more positive cognitions and less emotional reactivity to these past traumatic memories. It is speculated that what is happening in an EMDR session is parallel to what happens in our brains naturally in a REM cycle.
EMDR has become wildly popular and is known as the gold standard in trauma treatment currently. This is because its efficacy has been measured in many scientific studies and simply put – IT WORKS! If you are already engaged in EMDR therapy or considering starting, keeping a dream journal between sessions can be extremely helpful. It’s a way to keep track of the work that your brain is trying to do on your behalf in between active EMDR sessions. It can also help expedite the relief that you are seeking and deserve.
Begin EMDR Therapy in Palm Beach, FL
Coping with trauma takes time and the right support. Our team of caring therapists would be honored in supporting your work through past hardship. We are honored to support you both in-person and online. To start your therapy journey from our Delray Beach, FL-based practice, please follow these simple steps:
- Contact Mangrove Therapy to meet with a caring therapist
- Check out our page on EMDR Therapy
- Start experiencing the benefits of EMDR therapy
Other Services Offered With Mangrove Therapy
EMDR therapy isn’t the only service our team offers at our Delray Beach, FL-based practice. We understand there are a variety of mental health concerns you may struggle with. This is why our therapists are experts in treating trauma and PTSD/C-PTSD, depression, body image issues, anger management, anxiety, and low self-esteem. We also offer therapy for codependency and love addiction, anger management, DBT, CBT, and personality disorders. Please feel free to learn more about how we can support you by giving us a call or visiting our blog page today!