Psychoanalyst sheds light on dreams

By Dave Heaton

A presentation on dreams gave NIU students the opportunity to view their dreams in a new light.

Susan Schreiber-DeVilles is a psychoanalyst from Palos Heights who has conducted extensive studies on dreams and how they relate to and affect our waking lives.

“The functions of dreams hold a very real purpose in our lives,” Shreiber-DeVilles said. Most of our dreaming occurs during the deepest stage of sleep, the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage.

Schreiber-DeVilles said studies have shown that if a person is deprived of REM sleep (which is a deprivation of dreaming) for a period of three days, they will begin to hallucinate.

She said when we have a nightmare in which we experience something that in real life would be physically demanding, our body goes through those very stresses.

Schreiber-DeVilles said this is why people become physically exhausted if they have nightmares too often.

She also said our dreams have an impact on our mental health as well as on our physical health. “Our dreams make us aware of the ‘unfinished business’ that subconsciously distracts us in our waking lives,” Schreiber-DeVilles said. “Dreams tell us that something needs tending to.”

She said people are capable of changing their nightmares. If people rewrite the ending of the disturbing dream so that nobody is harmed, the problem that spurred the dream will be easier to resolve.

Dreams also can aid in healing the wounds in our lives if we don’t ignore them but act on the warnings they provide us with.