“Dreams don't come from an astral plane. They come from ourselves,” says Charles McPhee, known to radio listeners in Minnesota and across the country as the Dream Doctor.
Through his radio show and his web site, DreamDoctor.com, McPhee is systematizing and interpreting the language of dreams - without all the mumbo-jumbo often associated with the field. His background is in nationally recognized sleep research clinics, not in metaphysics.
He encourages parents to talk to their kids about their dreams because they can let you know about the big concerns weighing on their minds.”
He says there are three sleep phenomena parents should be aware of: night terrors, nightmares, and parental instinct dreams.
Night terrors aren't actually dreams. They occur during deep sleep, not REM sleep, and are common for toddlers and preschoolers.
During a night terror, a child may scream or cry inconsolably, looking straight through a parent who has come in to comfort him or her. Night terrors, are a sleep disorder and have no psychological meaning.
Nightmares do have psychological meaning and can be connected to stressors - big or little - in the child's life, like moving to a new home, changing schools, losing friends, or watching parents fight. Your child may have dreams about falling or drowning; about a friend, parent, or sibling dying; or about war or violence. “If a child is acting violent in dreams” says McPhee, that's a metaphor for anger. If a friend or parent dies, that shows a fear of separation. Talk to your kids about these dreams and reassure them that it's not going to happen in real life just because it happened in a dream.”
Parents need reassurance, too, McPhee says, that their dreams can't foretell the future. Parents of infants and toddlers, especially, are prone to have dreams about the children drowning or disappearing. “What these dreams are telling you is that you're a caring parent: Even in your sleep, you're worrying about your child.”
The Dream Doctor Show can be heard in the metro area from 9 p.m. to midnight daily on WFMP (107 FM).