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          About the Book


  Links of Interest

            Nightmares ?
    Bad Dreams, or Recurring      

          Dreams ?
      Lucky You!


    Nightmare remedies
      rescripting the brain


   Jung on Dreams

   Dream interpretation:
The study of of dreams


        Carl Jung

   The Dream Theorists


  Serpent symbolism


                                                                          Strick_Sadieb_with_border.jpg (63184 bytes)
                                                                   Sadie E. Strick PhD

                                   Calendar of upcoming events click here                     About the Author

                                                                 Email Dr. Strick here

Troubling Dreams                                                  Upcoming speaking engagements and Radio Interviews

     Unlocking the Door to Self-Awareness   by Sadie E. Strick, Ph.D.     

    Troubling dreams and nightmares are your best friends.  Yes, they are!   They are your personal alarm system that
serves to alert you, the dreamer, that there is trouble in the works.  The problem or problems that the dream is
making reference to may not yet even be conscious.  Nevertheless, the dream is helping to bring the problem into
your consciousness; or if you already know there is a problem but do not know what to do about it, the dream is
at the ready  to inform you and further help you to come to resolution of the problem.

     Any therapeutic intervention must take into account the state of the ego. The ego represents what we know in
consciousness. It is the “I, Me.” The task of the ego is to enlighten us about ourselves in relation to the rest of the
world, to aid us in developing our goals and to stay the course until we meet our goals. As we meet one goal, the
ego prepares for the next goal. The ego is the referee between the conscious and the unconscious mind. If the ego
is compromised, then the task of therapy is to develop and strengthen the ego in addition to the task of solving
the problems that are contributing to the discomfort of the dreamer.  Whatever it takes!  

     In psychodynamic psychotherapy, dream analysis is an essential part of the therapy.  Without the dream,
there is only limited data with which to work. To solve any problem, we need all the data.  What we know in
our conscious minds is limited to our waking experiences.  What we do not know is what lies in the unconscious
and yet, what lies in the unconscious belongs to us as well.  The unconscious holds memories, experiences and
repressed contents not readily available to memory.  The unconscious never sleeps, is always at the ready, and
never needs maintenance or rebooting. It is the most reliable of information systems and it is in your service to
advice, warn and inform you 24/7.  It is your personal informant. We would do well to take the messages in
the dream seriously.

      The dream has four functions:  it may speak of past experiences that have never been resolved.  It may
address present problems that are causing you to worry.  It may speak of the future, enlightening you about
future events not yet realized. It may be compensating for what you do not have.

      At its very deepest level, the unconscious speaks to us in symbolic language.  Symbols are a language
common to all cultures, and the symbols that occur in the dream are meaningful and necessary to guide the
dreamer and the therapist toward healing and integration of all the separate parts that make up the whole

In tribal societies, an animal in the dream is believed to possess sacred, symbolic meanings and is called
a totem. The totem is revered as a spirit guide for the dreamer.  It is analogous to the guardian angel in
modern religions. Symbolic dreams, such as the serpent dreams, are often experienced in times of crisis
when change is inevitable. To the extent that she does not attend to the underlying problems that are
contributing to her discomfort, the images may become increasingly toxic and disturbing. The primary totems
featured in the stories of the women profiled in this book are the serpent, the most powerful, widely
recognized symbol of death, transformation, healing, wisdom, and renewal and the dog, the fierce guardian
of the dreamer.

       To encounter the serpent is to encounter change—ready or not! The initial appearance of the dream
serpent is a harrowing experience indeed, and represents the call to action. As the healing begins to take
form, the serpent changes from terrifying to benign and finally reveals itself as the divine healing serpent.  The
most common symbol of the healing properties of the totem serpent  a staff with two serpents entwining it
(the symbol of the physician.) The difference is that the initially terrifying encounter with the serpent in the
dream gives way to the healing serpent.   The initial appearance of the snarling dream dogs, the symbol of
guardianship, is just as harrowing.  As the dreamer attends to her problem, the dog, as sentinel, walks
protectively with her, guarding her all along the way. In symbolic form, serpent medicine means change
and dog medicine is fierce and faithful guardianship.  

      The personal histories of the women featured in this book inform the reader of the journey into the depths
of the unconscious to emerge triumphant and empowered; ready to face the future with courage and
determination, with trust in herself and in her own ability to be all she can be. People who are depressed and
anxious are often subject to disturbing dreams of a frightening nature, physical, and psychological discomfort.
  The most widely reported symptoms of the women profiled in this book are depression, anxiety, sleep
disturbance, gastrointestinal problems, back and neck pain, headaches, poor self esteem, and a sense of
pervasive fear and powerlessness—this despite the outward appearance of professional confidence. The
wounds they carried were often based in painful childhood experiences which had never been resolved.
  Unresolved wounds leave us more vulnerable to the same type of situation and we repeat the same story
over and over again with our choices of spouses and friends. After all, that is what we know best!
    Each of the women profiled in this book reported nightmarish dreams that terrorized their sleep. A
common inhabitant of the dream was the serpent in its most malicious, threatening form.

  Symbolic dreams, such as the serpent dreams, are often experienced in times of crisis when change
is inevitable. To the extent that she does not attend to the underlying problems that are contributing to her
discomfort, the images may become increasingly toxic and disturbing.


       It takes incredible courage to attend to the task of righting that which is amiss in our lives.  Even to

engage in therapy is often a frightening experience in the beginning, but the task is to persevere and

ultimately triumph over the obstacles in her way—her own feelings of powerlessness representing the

biggest obstacle of all. In the true stories recorded in this book, we follow the path that takes these brave

women from fear, despair, and helplessness to growth, renewal and empowerment.  The path we

follow is by way of the dream

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