Holistic Health Practices/Part 17

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2007
Dream work involves the exploration of and/or interaction with dreams as an adjunct to physical healing, for psychological insight in psychotherapy, for spiritual insight in “Christian” dream work, and/or the manipulation of dreams for occultic revelations or spiritual growth in New Age practices.

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What is Dream Work?

Dreams fascinate millions of people, including a large number of researchers. Dream work involves the exploration of and/or interaction with dreams as an adjunct to physical healing, for psychological insight in psychotherapy, for spiritual insight in “Christian” dream work, and/or the manipulation of dreams for occultic revelations or spiritual growth in New Age practices.

Dream work practices, which extend into antiquity, claim that our dreams can powerfully reflect and/or influence physical, psychological, and spiritual realities. In physical healing, dreams may allegedly be used to reveal hindrances and provide assistance to the healing process. In psychotherapy, exploring dreams may allegedly open doors to the unconscious mind to reveal and help resolve hidden emotional conflicts or other problems. In Christian dream work, dreams are seen as signs or even personal messages or revelations from God; therefore, for some, exploring dreams is equivalent to studying “God’s Word.” In New Age practices dreams can be explored and even manipulated, as in lucid dream work. In lucid dream work, dreams are employed for various reasons, including occultic revelation, spirit contact, psychic development, astral travel, and to induce altered states of consciousness.

Considerable research has been done on the nature, purpose and meaning of dreams; however, much still remains tentative. Dreams may reflect the events or concerns of our own lives, but they are not the solution to all our problems.

The major problems with dream work are as follows: (1) the value of dream work to physical healing is unsubstantiated; (2) dream work interpretation in psychotherapy and other therapies is often subjective and contradictory; (3) in psychotherapeutic and “Christian” dream work, and in New Age occultic manipulation of dreams, the practice may have unexpected or unforeseen consequences. For example, some researchers have speculated that dream work may inhibit the normal process of forgetting damaging experiences; (4) many of the dream-work books and manuals we consulted promoted spirit contact under the guise of dialoguing with “dream characters.” Dream work can also be used for other occult purposes, explaining why spirit guides frequently encourage the practice (e.g., the spiritistic revelations found in such books as Edgar Cayce on Dreams and Jane Roberts’ Seth: Dreams and Projection of Consciousness).

Perhaps it is best that normal dreams are not given a spiritual or other significance they do not possess. Divinely inspired dreams such as those found in the Bible are (1) relatively rare, (2) given by God to accomplish His will, (3) unable to be induced or manipulated by man, and (4) clear in purpose and meaning. God’s use of dreams in the Bible stands in contrast to their common use in psychotherapy, Christian dream work, and occultic dream manipulation where their value and meaning are unestablished.

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