Beautiful Dreamer

Barrett L. Dorko, P.T.

 

Okay, here’s the idea: Nonconsciously generated movement designed to reduce mechanical stress, also known as ideomotor movement, arises, obviously, from the unconscious. Dreams, last I heard, also come from the unconscious. And, there’s a school of thought that feels dreams are present in order to help us sort out the conflicts between our inner and outer lives. The notion is that everything and everybody in the dream is a part of us, and that the best way to deal with all of this is to simply let the dream grow through various forms of examination. These would include speaking about it, feeling fully whatever it made you feel, and writing it down. 

Something important to emphasize here is how to deal with monsters in dreams. Many say that the best way is to offer them a gift; the gift of your attention. The monster is a part of you or your life that will no longer be ignored, and only by letting it express itself fully can it help you. In effect, you have to let it speak. 

Now, back to ideomotor movement. Since it comes from the same source as any dream, we might consider the possibility that it can be as useful if only we allow it its complete expression. Of course, this would imply movement that is as surprising as any dream. It might not always be perfectly comfortable, and it might be a while before we’ve moved far enough to make our way into a relatively painless state. The same could be said for any series of dreams, especially if they contain some monsters. 

Question: If we get dreams from the unconscious during our sleeping hours, what do we get from it during our waking hours? Answer: Muscular activity. If this activity is not allowed free and full expression, it will not disappear entirely, it will simply express itself as isometric activity. Sound like any patients you’ve seen lately? 

So what is the therapist’s role in all of this? First and foremost it would be one of understanding. Characterizing dreams as “weird” or “bizarre” or “crazy” demonstrates a misunderstanding if not a complete rejection of their usefulness. Instead, we should consider them opportunities for insight and psychological progression. Similarly, the muscular activity that is unconsciously generated in our patients (and, in fact, in everyone) should be identified as potentially helpful but only insofar as it is allowed its full, isotonic expression. This certainly produces movement out of the ordinary and none of it is expected. It’s like any dream in this respect and those who don’t understand its origin and purpose will typically reject it, suppress it or ridicule it. If it is somehow accepted as healthfully present it is typically misinterpreted as an expression of inherent motility in the nervous system or a movement of the connective tissue. Both of these explanations are biologically implausible. 

Understanding this, all that’s left for the therapist to do is devise a method that encourages unconsciously generated movement. My own is called Simple Contact, and for the dreamer in every patient, it is enough.