Most of the clients I have treated recently have recurring nightmares, so the content, events and storyline of each nightmare follows a pattern.
One lady I treated had nightmares about being trapped or chased. Sometimes she was chased by an evil presence and sometimes by characters from well-known horror films. Another had recurring nightmares about being unable to help someone who needed saving. The themes of being chased or trapped are very common.
So, why do we have nightmares?
There are many theories about why we dream and what dreams mean. However, so far there is a lack of scientific evidence to fully explain dreams. My personal theory is that when we are dreaming, our subconscious mind is sorting through and arranging all the information inside our minds. I believe that nightmares are often caused by the subconscious mind sorting through things that we have perhaps been avoiding thinking about, or perhaps we worry about and feel that we don’t have a solution to. The nightmare may simply be the subconscious mind trying to process the fear or worry and find a solution to it.
Suffering with nightmares can be very debilitating. They disrupt sleep making the person experiencing the nightmares feel generally fatigued. If a nightmare evokes some very negative emotions then the anxiety or fear you feel when you awaken can take some time to disappear.
Nightmares often start in childhood, when we do not have our adult understanding of the world. When we are children it can also be much more difficult to change anything in our world which frightens us.
There are many ways I help my clients who are suffering from nightmares. Often, people do have an idea about the origin of their nightmares. Sometimes a person suffers more when they are feeling particularly anxious or stressed. Sometimes nightmares result from a traumatic event in childhood. Even if we have consciously resolved these issues, our subconscious mind may not have done. Using hypnotherapy I help people to resolve issues or problems in their subconscious mind. Dealing with stress, anxiety or problems from your past, using hypnotherapy is hugely beneficial to your whole life as well as your sleep.
Another great way of tackling nightmares is to use the following technique.
1) Enter hypnosis, either using self-hypnosis or with a hypnotherapist
2) Allow your recurring nightmare to form in your mind but remain detached from it, as if you are watching it from above.
3) Make the nightmare really vivid.
4) Take control and change the nightmare. There are various ways in which you can change the nightmare. You can either change yourself, or change the environment. If you are being chased, imagine that you grow to be 20 feet tall and then turn around and face your attacker. If you are trapped in a room imagine all the walls falling away to free you.
Remember, you are in control and using this technique you teach your subconscious mind that it can overcome the nightmare.
I find that my clients often only need to do this technique once to stop their nightmares.
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