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The Dream Book: A Young Person's Guide to Understanding Dreams    by Patricia Garfield order for
Dream Book
by Patricia Garfield
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2002 (2002)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Patricia Garfield is a clinical psychologist and an authority on dreams and dreaming. She began her own dream diary at the age of fourteen and encourages others to do the same. She starts with a list of crazy dreams, like 'falling through black space' or 'running naked down the school hallway'. We've all had them, but I didn't know that wild, wacky dreams increase with adolescence and the increased sleep time that goes with it.

The author gives a brief introduction to sleep, different kinds of brain waves, and dreams - 'a kind of thinking that takes place during sleep ... in images, like a language of pictures.' There's a fascinating account of dreams in history, and their interpretation in different cultures. Dr. Garfield explains that we can understand ourselves better through examination of our dreams, and recommends 'Dream and discover yourself.'

The author discusses the relationship of many kinds of dreams to what's happening in real life, for example animals representing wild emotions, odd objects that have meaning in waking life, or how food can be symbolic of matters of love. She suggests how to take control of disturbing dreams and nightmares and be empowered by them. Finally there is advice on how to become 'a dream detective' and to use dreams as a powerful tool in exploring emotional life. Dr. Garfield tells us to 'listen to your dreams. They're talking to you.'

I actually kept my own dream journal for a six month period many years ago. I found that it became gradually easier to remember dreams, and when I did, there were obvious relationships to events, people and objects in my life. Though they were often jumbled in the craziest ways, I was able to understand better things that I hadn't realized at a conscious level were bothering me. I recommend putting in the effort to understand your dreams, and suggest The Dream Book as a very good place to begin.

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