Dream symbols could aid treatment of mental health problems
A psychology researcher from the University of Adelaide has suggested that dream images could give an insight into people's mental health problems and may help with their treatment.
Dr Lance Storm, a Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology, has been studying dream symbols (or "archetypes") and their meanings, as described by the famous psychologist and psychiatrist, Carl Jung.
In the early 1900s, Jung proposed that these archetypes were ancient images stemming from humans' collective unconscious. He believed that dream symbols carried meaning about a patient's emotional state, which could improve understanding of the patient and also aid in their treatment.
In a paper about one of Dr Storm's non-clinical studies- he supports Jung's theories and recommends that dream analysis be explored further for potential clinical use.
Dr Storm argues that Jung's theories have practical significance and could broaden the range of options available to patients undergoing treatment for mental health problems.
"Our research suggests that instead of randomly interpreting dream symbols with educated guesswork, archetypal symbols and their related meanings can be objectively validated. This could prove useful in clinical practice," he said.
"We believe, for example, that dream analysis could help in the treatment of depression. This is a rapidly growing area of mental health concern, because depressive people are known to experience prolonged periods of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is directly linked with emotional processing and dreaming," he added.
A paper about one of Dr Storm's non-clinical studies has been currently published online in the International Journal of Jungian Studies.