(Investigator 165, 2015 November)

Dream Therapy is the use of dreams and the dream state to accomplish physical and emotional healing.

Dream therapy has a long history. Hippocrates in the 5th century B.C. promoted it for bodily well-being and mental tranquillity. After being largely eclipsed in the middle ages, it came to the fore under the leadership of the great French physician Philippe Pinel, noted for his humanitarian methods, emphasising the psychological approach.

At the turn of the century, Sigmund Freud made outstanding contributions to the psychology of dreaming, and expounded his views in The Interpretation of Dreams, published in 1900. Although some of Freud's stereotyped dream symbols have since been rejected, most modern studies are grounded in his insights and speculations.

Dreams are illusory or hallucinatory experiences in which facts perceived by the dreamer are the product of  wishes or fears.

There is a divergence of opinion as to whether or not dream therapy can be viewed as an "alternative" health practice, although many psychoanalysts use dream interpretation to facilitate their analysis. It is also a popular self-help process. The theory behind the latter being that dreams can be influenced prior to going to sleep — the conscious mind and the unconscious awareness working together.

If for example, you are suffering from a minor complaint, and think positive thoughts about overcoming the problem prior to sleep, it will have a beneficial effect.


Garfield, Patricia. 1991. The Healing Power of Dreams, Simon & Schuster, New York.

Kaplan-Williams, S. 1991. The Elements of Dreamwork, Element Books Inc., Rockport, Massachusetts.

Kastner, Mark & Burroughs, Hugh. Alternative Healing, Halcyon Publishing, La Mesa, CA.

Raso, Jack. 1994. Alternative Healthcare, Prometheus Books.

From: Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics Inc