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Your Dream Journal: Increased Detail Leads to Greater Insights

by Gillian Holloway, Ph.D. (Dream Discoveries Newsletter, Summer 1995)

Keeping a dream journal is still the best way to harvest the valuable gifts and self-discovery your dreams contain. I am often asked to recommend a format or approach to make the process more systematic and less time-consuming. Here is an approach that works well, and makes interpretation and understanding more accessible:

  1. Record the Date and Location: At the top of each entry routinely record the date as well as the location where you were staying that night. It can be very important to note that visiting your parents, in-laws, or traveling on business causes certain dream themes.

  2. Title the Dream: Frequently this doesn't seem possible until you have written the dream down. Then in looking it over a title will come to you. You may be very creative with some titles, and pick the easiest memory trigger in other dreams. Do what works for you in any given circumstance. Titling your records will enhance your ability to recognize them even years down the road. You will understand new dreams better in light of the old ones. Titles provide additional insights into how the dream strikes you, like a Rorschach or TAT. (Thematic Apperception Test.)

  3. First or Final Dream: Record when the dream came in the night. The first and last dreams of the evening contain important information, with the final dream just prior to awakening giving you practical problem-solving insights. If you record dreams two or three nights each week, you will be amazed at the insights that become clear to you. This habit can literally change your life in dramatic ways.

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