Dr. Charles Freeman and Lucid Dreams

Dr. Charles Freeman has lent his professional and medical expertise to add a scientific dimension to the exhibition, “Lucid Dreams.” Celebrating the Paris Salon, a tradition that featured emerging fine artists and critical writings. Often, the artists presented their work in parallel with academia, theatre, fashion and science. (Prime example: Pablo Picasso pictured above). Proudly, this tradition continues with Dr. Freeman, sleep psychologist, who has written a second installment to compliment “Lucid Dreams.”

Awe-inspiring artwork, music, literature, and theatrical vision have been created from artists’ dreams. In fact, purposefully dreaming and manipulating dreams through a conscious thought process can be an incredible and quite surreal way to use our imagination. Otherwise known as Lucid Dreaming, this conscious acknowledgement of bending reality within your dreams can help those who have a difficult time sleeping due to nightmares. (Esther Pearl Watson)

The treatment of nightmares can be addressed in many ways. Two popular methods include Lucid Dreaming (Dr. Stephen Laberge) and Positive Imagery Rehearsal (Dr. Barry Krakow). These pioneers in their fields addressed both sleeping and conscious methods of working with and treating nightmares. (Irene Hardwicke Olivieri)

Jungian Psychology, named after the renowned Swiss Psychiatrist, Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, has an additional methodological approach to a specific type of nightmare. Jung encouraged one to confront the “shadow” or repressed unacceptable emotions or urges through dream work. These non-psychopharmacological approaches can offer tremendous relief to those experiencing stress and lack of sleep because of nightmare episodes. (Tasha Rae Tatro)

Lucid Dreaming is loosely defined as the act of dreaming with a full awareness that you are in a dream state. Dream and sleep expert Stephen Laberge explains that the practice of Lucid Dreaming can have many intrinsic benefits. Since you are essentially training yourself to overcome everyday physics while in the dream state, your imagination and creative impulses are being dramatically stretched. Lucid Dreaming exercises create problem solving skills and increase confidence by taking control of sometimes-fearful situations in dreams. The practice of Lucid Dreaming can go hand in hand with other methods like Positive Imagery Rehearsal. (Megan Whitmarsh)

Dr. Barry Krakow became interested in sleep research while studying the side effects of sedating medications on sleep. In treating nightmares, he encourages the use of Imagery Rehearsal methods for patients while awake, where patients are instructed to rehearse a positive outcome such as being protected or armed against an attacker or the danger. This method leads to patient efficacy and empowerment to address the dream stressors while he/she is sleeping. In turn, waking anxiety, irritability, and angst due to poor sleep are diminished , and resiliency to stressors is enhanced. (L/Mark Todd and Florabella R/Jim Houser)

Another method of confronting dreams occurs in Jungian Psychology, which believes people have an ever-present “shadow side,” usually portraying anger, fantasies of harming another, misdirected sexual urges, etc. The dreamer is instructed by the Psychologist to turn and confront the threat and to engage the “shadow side” in dialogue. This understanding of the shadow’s wishes symbolically and structurally integrates the powerful previously repressed energies. This is an acceptance strategy, rather than feeling guilt/shame and labeling internal impulses as “bad.” Similar to Aboriginal Healers who teach their youth how to confront their enemies appearing in dreams, this technique has a positive impact on insomnia caused by nightmares. (Marc Bell)

Now that science recognizes the fact that stressors during nightmares or insomnia can be addressed both through conscious and unconscious methodologies, Sleep Psychologists have demonstrated that increased well-being can occur in 6-8 sessions without medication. Not only is it possible to challenge negative forces in dreams, we can actually stay within a dream, become conscious of weaknesses, and use it to expand on strengths for an improved quality of life. (Souther Salazar)

Dr. Charles Freeman, Ph.D., L.P. is a Holistic Behavioral Medicine and Sleep Psychologist who will be presenting this Friday, August 5 during the “Lucid Dreams” panel discussion. You can RSVP, learn more and visit “Lucid Dreams” at the Noel-Baza Fine Art Gallery curated by Mark Murphy. Read article No. 1 by Dr. Charles Freeman here. (Tasha Kusama, and all above images are featured in Lucid Dreams. Pablo Picasso is featured in the San Diego Fine Art Museum)

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