Georgina Németh: The nature of hypnotic dreams – early research and current questions

The topic of hypnotic dreams is missing from contemporary literature, though this field could, on one hand, make substantial contributions to the modern debate about theories of hypnosis, and on the other hand, provide a thorough theoretical grounding for clinical practice related to hypnotic dreams. My aim is to investigate how hypnotic dreams occur, and to what extent it is validated to treat them as dream-like experiences. First I introduce basic similarities and differences between dreams occurring during hypnosis and sleep. Then, I review early psychoanalytic studies aiming to uncover dream work behind hypnotic dreams. Next, I explore the connection between hypnotic relationship and occurring dreams. These problems lead us to the question of whether the alteration of the state of consciousness or the desire to fulfil the expectations assigned to the hypnotist makes the occurrence of dreams possible in hypnotic situations. The closing line of thoughts of this paper concentrates on the therapeutic efficiency of hypnotic dreams. Here, first the possible functions of night dreams are introduced, and then it is considered whether these functions might be generalized over hypnotic dreams.

Keywords: hypnotic dreams – nocturnal dreams – dream work – hypnotic relationship

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