Blog 14: Working with Dreams Part 2

Written by Jim Sheehy

Hi.  My name is Jim Sheehy.  This is and this blog is on working with dreams part 2.

Can I start by asking you to whizz back and remind yourself what I said in Part 1 of Working with Dreams.

Great.  Thank you for doing that.  Can I also ask you if you have started remembering pieces of your dreams.  If so, have you ‘played’ with what they ‘symbolise’, what that character represents for you, or that event in the dream like falling or climbing. In therapy, I use a client’s drawings a lot to shortcut a route into what’s happening at a deeper level of self. 

This young client was searching for identity?  Who was she in the crazy world she inhabited? She draws herself as faceless, because until she knows and loves the girl inside, what chance has she of engaging with friends, school, community. Her hair is tidy, and that is her social profile.  Everybody sees her as ‘tidy’ – tidy home, tidy student, tidy friend – all front and nothing within.  Now, this quite amazing girl has what she likes to call ‘charisma’, - she breathes and lives a hunger to be different, someone with plans.

So, pretend this girl had a dream with ‘faceless’ characters and she asks herself: ‘what does being without a face symbolise for me?’  She might think: ‘nothing to show, am blind and don’t know where I’m going!’  Get the idea of how this works. was absolutely conceived in my dreams long before it became a reality.  My conscious self said: ‘Jim, cop yourself on.  You’re too busy! Not enough energy!’  I kept having dreams that encouraged and annoyed me into actually believing I could make this happen.  One part of me – the conscious, practical part – negotiated with another part – the subconscious, creative part – and here we are today. 

So, if you are the one person in a hundred that is interested in working with your dreams – have fun, trust yourself, let me know how you get on.  A way of helping you if you are finding it hard to say what the characters or events in your dreams or nightmares are saying or meaning, ask your best, creative and trusted friend to come around for a coffee and say to her: ‘okay, don’t freak out on me but I want ask you something.  If you had a dream and you were in an open coffin and everybody was passing by the coffin but nobody is actually bothering to look at you in the coffin, what would that symbolise for you?’  At this stage, your best buddy is asking for brandy in her coffee and says: ‘well, if it was me had that dream, the coffin would mean the end of something, me in the coffin would be furious because everybody’s having a bloody good time at my expense and giving me frig-all attention!’  At this stage, you’re both on brandy but how this helps is that you see how the event can mean something if your friend had that dream.  And so it encourages you now to ask yourself: ‘I did have that dream. So what does the coffin… the people not looking .. mean for me’.  We don’t blindly act consciously on our dreams like slavishly believing a psychic’s predictions for the rest of your life.  You bring what has come out of the dreamwork and see if and how it fits into what’s happening in your work, family, relationships, plans and fears. Working with dreams is designed to heal the scars the conscious self endures through the waking hours. As well as the body enjoying and benefitting from sleep, our minds also need a cleansing and nourishing massage before a new day dawns.  This is the reason we dream.

Also, the first hour you exit the bed in the morning is an in-between time when the subconscious is still around and lively while you’re showering and dressing.  Be ready for insights. When a thought pops into your head about ‘ that relationship … work-life balance … your interview today …’ PAY ATTENTION – your subconscious has been working on this issue all through the night … and here is the result! 

You enter your subconscious in so many ways: the poem, the song, the drawing, the daydreaming walk on the beach, the visit to the therapist.  If, and only if, allow the amazing world of dreams to be yet another channel.  Working with dreams makes the drudge and grind of life much lighter and more colourful.  And makes us appreciate how complex and surprising we humans are.  Have fun with dreams.  If your 9 year old remembers a dream, why not suggest he / she draws the characters and situation of the dream – and ask; ‘Tell me, what does that whale jumping over the ship’ mean for you?’  And yes, I did have a child with just that dream!  Have fun!

A big Thank you to Rosemary Byrne from Kilcar who generously provided the art for this blog. 

Presentations on the 4 zones are also available on video and podcast through the website – see If you enjoy the material, please get the word out there among those you care for.  You can contact me with comment or suggestion via Facebook at Jim Sheehy Therapy and on Twitter @jimsheehy2017

Take care,

Clarifying Disclaimer:  While the material I am presenting is well-researched and suitable for the general population, I believe each person’s issues and needs are unique.  I encourage you to seek medical and/or therapeutic support if you struggle with an issue or condition that negatively and seriously impacts your life.

All material in Jim Sheehy Therapy as presented in video, blog and podcast form is copyright and may only be redistributed with permission of author.












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Jim Sheehy M.Ed. MIACP
Co Donegal 
F94 WV99

087 2137922


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