Using Dream Analysis To Alleviate Pre-Marital Anxiety
Woman Often Feels Nauseous Without Reason Before Marriage; Dream Analysis Reveals the Cause
Psychologist: It is a Biological Reaction Triggered by Anxiety
Dreams symbolise the content of our unconscious mind. While we should be responsible for the “plot” of our dreams, in reality, we have no control over them. From a psychological point of view, dreams contain information that is closely related to us, reflecting our psychological condition. For example, a bride-to-be may feel nauseous without a medical cause. She consulted a psychologist using dream analysis as psychotherapeutic intervention for her. The analysis revealed that the woman was anxious about her upcoming wedding. Once she addressed her suppressed concerns, the woman’s nauseating episodes stopped.
There is a Chinese saying “日有所思夜有所夢”, which means dreams are made up of the thoughts we have in the day. This phrase is a simplified description of the scientific process of what goes on in our brain as we dream during sleep: the brain consolidates and stores the memories of what happened in the day. From a psychoanalytic perspective, dreams are symbolic content of our unconscious mind. Hence, they surface when we sleep.
Dreams Reflects Our Psychological Condition
Dreams reflect our psychological condition; therefore, they contain many symbolic meanings. As such, psychologists often regard dreams as useful “investigative tools”. Description of a dream’s contents allows a psychologist to study the details to identify the cause of concern. We have an example of a woman (over 30 years old) who recently felt nauseous. As doctors were unable to diagnose any medical cause, she decided to try a psychological approach and sought help from Dr. Vinci Cheung. Dr. Cheung states: “Her nausea could be triggered by psychological factors. Having a state of mind that was highly overwhelmed could have led to nausea as this was a physical means to let go of what she was unable to cope with. Repeated occurrence in this state thus led to the repetitive nausea. Dream analysis could help locate the source of her issues through her subconscious mind.”
During therapy, the woman provided the contents of two dreams to Dr. Cheung. In her first dream, she dreamt of standing on a high spot, looking down at a dangerously steep flight of steps. She cried in fear and wanted her fiancé to take her away from there. In real life, the woman had always felt that her fiancé was not committed to their relationship as he only agreed to marriage after rounds of back-and-forth talks. The dream indicated that the couple had not reached a consensus on marriage and the woman was insecure.
Recovered Without Medication Once Concern was Addressed
In her second dream, the woman was at her wedding, which was simple. In her gown, she kneeling down while her fiancé was sitting alongside another woman. Dr. Cheung analysed that while the woman could finally get married, she felt aggrieved and not very important to her husband. Further exploration revealed that the woman sitting with her fiancé in the dream was a third-party. Although the relationship issue had been resolved, the sense of threat from the third-party remained deeply rooted in her. As she understood the underlying meanings of her dreams, the woman decided to reconsider her relationship and marriage; miraculously, her nausea episodes stopped thereafter. Dr. Cheung says: “Our body reacts when our inner anxiety and fear are not addressed, similar to what the woman in our case study experienced. When our inner emotions are regulated as we attend to the concerns brought out by our dreams, the body reactions will cease.”
Situations where Dream Analyses are Suitable for Counselling Purposes
- Experiencing discomfort or pain in our body that does not have a medical or physical cause
- Experiencing negative emotions such as heaviness in the chest, feeling unhappy, fearful or worried, etc., but unable to find an obvious cause
- Having strong paranoid thoughts that you cannot explain and others are unable to understand these thoughts
- Having repeated dreams or dreams with similar content within a month
- Wanting to understand your true thoughts and feelings when facing a decision
- Experiencing a mid-life crisis, with the need to refocus and make adjustments to your life direction
Dr. Vinci Cheung