A patient, a bright college-graduate who was just beginning psychotherapy for depression and anxiety, dreamt that he was traveling deep in the ocean in a submarine. There was a light on the front of the submarine, but it was still too dark to see what was ahead.

The patient said, “The dream makes no sense. I was never in a submarine. Where could it be going?”

“Any ideas? The psychiatrist asked.


“Any thoughts about submarines or trips?”

“Not really. Except that in the dream I was pretty nervous.”

“About what?”

“Just nervous…”

After a few more non-productive attempts at getting his new patient to explore the meaning of the dream, the psychiatrist commented, “It seems like you’re fearful of the upcoming journey.”

“What journey? I’m not planning on going anywhere.”

“I’m referring to the journey into your own mind.”

The young man just stared at the psychiatrist and shook his head in awe. “It’s so obvious, now that you said it. Why couldn’t I see it?”

“That’s what our journey’s all about. For you to see what’s hidden within you, and for you to use that information to feel better.”

Dreams range from the amazing to the mundane. They can help uncover years of repressed rage and love; or just be a simple memory of what happened the previous day. The mysteries hidden within the mind are accessible through the process of psychotherapy and self-examination.

For a writer, dreams can be the direction that will lead a novelist to spend years writing a novel that no one but himself might read. Yes, the wish for wealth and greatness may be there, but to spend so much time on an endeavor so fraught with failure has to be driven by the deepest of passions. A passion so deep that even a submarine might not reach it. And maybe it shouldn’t be reached.  Just the magic of creativity is often enough.

The magic of the dream is that it touches our core, tantalizes our psyche, but keeps us safe. It is our mind’s way of dealing out information in a way that we can handle, gently and carefully. On the other hand, nightmares never feel gentle or safe. But sometimes we might need a two-by-four to wake us up and do what we need to do to improve our lives.

Please leave whatever comments cross your mind.

Keep dreaming and writing! Don’t forget to subscribe to Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist.

11 thoughts on “DO YOU BELIEVE THAT DREAMS ARE FILLED WITH MAGIC? by Art Smukler, author

  1. I never really understood the ‘dreams; reflect things in your life’ business until I had children…. and they started having nightmares. My daughter was so afraid of performing her school dancein public that we were woken nightly by her crying out. As soon as I went to the school and had her excused from the performace in the town square she slept through the night.
    Then my son was being badly bullied in school and every morning would describe in horrific detail his dreams of being in school and people being killed in front of him. Thankfully he can’t remember much about it now although it sparked off his depression which he lives with daily. It still haunts me however, every day I had to drive him to a place that he associated with death and suffering.
    Dreams can be powerful things and should not be ignored.
    Sweet dreams everyone.


    1. It sounds like you’re a wonderful mother. Unfortunately, no-matter how hard we try, we can’t be successful all the time. There are too many forces beyond our control. Thanks again for your comments. Art


      1. Mother lol Last I looked I gave birth to them 😀 rofl. Gill is short for Gillian.

        I absolve you of guilt… you are in the US of A and about the tenth American to think I was male. For some reason Gil has become Gill over there.


  2. Fine, clear thinking, Art–as always. Dreams have always puzzled me. Some are so lighthearted, and some so dark and heavy they make you want to pull the covers over your head. Esp liked your comments about writers. Why pursue a course so fraught with possible disappointment? But I wonder if every fine thing we undertake contains the seeds of failure–marriage, raising children, and on and on. Failure walks beside us. Hope you are fine and happy. Pete


    1. Thanks again for your comments. You may be right, but we can’t let failure continue to grow! Maybe we won’t sell a lot of books or maybe we will, but the process has to keep us strong! best Wishes, Art


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