CINCINNATI -- Two nights in a row, it’s the same dream. You’re back in high school and running late for class. You’re desperate to retrieve books, but for some reason you can't remember the combination to your locker. You wake again confused and frustrated wondering what it all means.
Our dreams act as windows to our subconscious exposing desires, strengths, weaknesses and fears. This weekend, the National School of Metaphysics will host its annual 24-hour Dream Hotline beginning at 6 p.m., April 25 through midnight April 27. Just call (513) 821-7353. Faculty and students from 16 schools across the country will analyze people’s dreams free of charge to help them better understand the meaning. The event started in 1989, and takes place the last weekend of April each year.
Cincinnati branch of the School of Metaphysics national Dream Hotline coordinator Jonathan Duerbeck explained interpreting dreams helps people to better understand themselves allowing the dreamer to make wiser choices in their waking life. We asked Duerbeck to help enlighten us on the significance of dreams.
What is metaphysics?
“Metaphysics is the name we chose to describe what we teach at our school. The way we use the word is that it’s the opposite of what’s physical. It’s the science of how to use your mind to have better control over your life and predict your life.”
How much are dreams linked to our real lives?
“In our experience, every dream is linked to your life. A dream can have more than one level of meaning, but one level will always be about the dreamer. And it will be about the dreamer’s state and content of consciousness and what’s going on inside the dreamer at the time of their life when they have that dream. So for example, someone might dream about being in jail and it shows limitations that they’re struggling with, or people who dream they are flying shows a sense of freedom from doing things they didn’t know they could do or letting go of restrictions. So dreams are definitely related to the waking life. In fact, that’s the whole point, to get information people can use in their waking life.”
How does the dream hotline work?
“We listen very closely to each person’s dream and then we draw on our own experience of teaching dream interpretation and interpreting our own dreams. Some of us have been interpreting dreams for as long as 15 years and we’ve learned that there are some universal symbols that apply for everyone. We’ve also gotten quite a lot of practice of how to put those certain symbols together to see the whole picture and what it means. So we offer people an interpretation of their dream. The whole point of the interpretation is to show a person more about themselves and to have a better understanding of their own desires, thoughts, fears, talents. Our goal is for people to have more information so they can make better decisions.”
Have you received positive feedback regarding the hotline?
“Absolutely. We’ve had a lot of people decide to become students in our school after finding out how valuable the dream interpretation is for them. There’s a lady who had a dream about these airplanes that were always having trouble taking off. The pilots were blind or they were stuck on top of skyscrapers. And basically her career wasn’t taking her where she wanted to go. That’s what the airplane was and she found that message extremely helpful in her career choices. That’s the best when somebody has a big ‘aha’ moment and they know what we’re talking about. ”
Can you train yourself to manage your own dreams?
“Definitely. If you know what the dreams are talking about, then in waking life you can apply the message. For example, I had a bad dream where I took a test and I got a terrible grade because I wasn’t prepared and everything seemed unfamiliar. At that time my life I was tending to put things off and I wasn’t very well organized, so I needed to plan more and be better organized. So I really focused on that and things started to improve. So I had another dream a few weeks later where I went to the same class and I got an A. So I got it.”
Why do we have nightmares?
“We found that nightmares happen for a few reasons. The biggest one being that a person has a situation in life where there’s fear and a sense of not being in control … that you’re a victim of change or circumstances. We’ve found the more they can shed the light of awareness on the fear that those dreams will disappear. In general as people learn to interpret their dreams, they have fewer and fewer nightmares because there’s less and less of the unknown.”
Sometimes nightmares take hold for more nefarious reasons. Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Jill Klingler specializes in the cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dissociative Disorders usually brought on by traumatic events and/or abuse.
How do these conditions manifest themselves in terms of nightmares?
“Sometimes people with these conditions do have the same reoccurring nightmares over and over. Usually
you can tie those back to the central theme of the abuse that they sustained. Some of the abuse is just way off the charts – terrible stuff that no human being should experience ever. But they can be resolved over time.”
How do you treat people with these disorders?
“Especially with PTSD, they tend to have repetitive almost alarming nightmares and horrible dreams over and over. We teach people how to take parts of those and reframe them; to possibly change them and put a positive spin on them so they don’t wake up in a different time of their lives and re-experience the trauma.”
If you identify the problem, do the nightmares cease?
“They do. It often takes a reworking or a retelling of the story or the use of an alternative methodology like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a kind of therapy that helps those nightmares to go into remission. It’s a cognitive processing model that’s based on the internal workings of the brain. A person often has to go over it a few times or it may take a few years before it’s resolved.”
To take part in this weekend’s Dream Hotline, those in the Cincinnati area can call (513) 821-7353.