JourneyPure At The River is well-known for its comfortable amenities and cutting-edge therapies, including adventure therapy and neurofeedback. But one of the most effective therapies offered as part of its professional women’s treatment program is Jungian dream work, which dates back nearly 100 years and has roots in pre-history.
“All indigenous cultures used dreams for guidance,” said Dr. Tamara Roth, Clinical Director at JourneyPure At The River. “The Bible, for instance, is full of dreams. It’s just in our intellectual, modern-day western society that it’s become pop culture.”
Jungian (pronounced Young-ian) dream work stems from the theories of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who maintained that dreams are more than just the random ramblings of the mind in its restful state. Dreams, Jung argued, are creations of the unconscious mind to challenge the assumptions, values, and habits of the conscious mind. These challenges are presented in the dream as symbols that can be recognized, examined, and interpreted. In other words, no matter how much you might deny it to friends, family, or yourself, your dreams will let you know when something ain’t right.
Why Jungian Dream Work Is Good For Addiction Recovery
With that in mind, Jungian dream work is ideal for substance abuse treatment.
“The patients that enter our professional women’s program are very ‘in their heads,’” said Roth. “If they could think their way out of addiction, they would have done so already. What we try to do is go into the unconscious, and that comes in the form of symbols.”
Roth brought up a client’s recurring dream. In it, the dreamer was beating up a little girl—pushing her, smacking her across the face. Later on, as the recovery progressed, the dreamer began taking care of the same little girl.
These dreams, Roth said, could be interpreted as the recovering addict repairing her relationship with her inner child, or that more pure sense of herself.
“I come from the standpoint of only you can interpret your dream,” Roth added. “In some cases, I’ll say, ‘Well, what does the red truck mean to you?’ But some symbols are very general. A dove, for instance, means similar things to most people.”
A Tricky Business
Interpreting the symbols of a dream can be a tricky business, but Roth—who earned her dream training from the Haden Institute in Asheville, N.C.—argues that the mere act of recording and sharing one’s dreams, either in a group setting or at individual therapy, makes great practice.
“Everybody knows that if they have dreams to bring them to their individual sessions, but I typically host a dream group once or twice a month,” she said. “What I see is that people tend to dream more, and more vividly, when discussing their dreams with others.”
So are recovering addicts’ dreams different from those of people not in recovery? Roth says not really, with one exception: People in recovery tend to have “using” dreams, where they’ve gone back to abusing the substance that brought them to rehab and recovery in the first place.
“We call those compensatory dreams,” Roth said. “I tell our clients to look at them like gifts—you’ve been given the feeling of how horrible it would be to relapse without having to go through the pain. It’s a freebie.”
JourneyPure’s Programs Can Help
JourneyPure’s Professionals Program provides highly-individualized treatment plans for each client based on their specific needs. Candidates for PP include men and women from a wide range of vocational fields, including healthcare, corporate, military, and law enforcement.
Our women’s residential treatment program uses experiential therapies such as Equine, Adventure, Art, Music, Jungian Dream Work, Nature-Based and Spirit Medicine to heal at the cellular level. We find that traditional talk therapy does not always go deep enough. These experiential approaches lead to rapid insight and can lead to instantaneous healing by breaking through possibly limiting belief systems.
Chris Clancy is the in-house Content Manager for JourneyPure’s Digital Marketing team, where he gets to explore a wide variety of substance abuse- and mental health-related topics. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist and researcher, with strong working knowledge of hospital systems, health insurance, content strategy, and public relations. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two kids.