A Long Road of Inception

Movie Still of Inception
"I can see my house from here!"

When Frederik van Eeden first coined the term “lucid dreaming” in 1913 he believed he had found a rare phenomenon, which could change the face of dream psychology. Studies have often suggested the impact of lucid dreaming has to therapy but it is only recently that science has woken up and taken notice of the benefits. In his official report J.Allen Hobson agrees that Lucid Dreaming will become a stream of high popularity in treatment psychology.

Lucid dreaming is becoming more recognised in scientific studies as it is the process of the individual realising that they are dreaming and are able to control, to a certain extent, their actions within their dreams.

Nightmare Image
Nightmares associated with little girls screaming.

The surge in studies is unlikely to have anything to do with the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Inception’ in which the lead characters unlock secrets from connecting to others dreams but when you pull back the movie glamour there is a science behind the art.

Professor Mark Blagrove of the University of Swansea Sleep Laboratory believes that the new surge in lucid dreaming comes from people beginning to understand what lucid dreaming is and that it is achieveable and the popularity growth is slowly mounting. He goes as far to say that “people’s abilities during dreaming are altering”

A lot is still unknown and the theory is open to critics believing that it is too hard to measure and draw conclusions from fantasy. Professor Jim Horne, of the Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre, is one of these critics and draws comparisons from the theory to the glamour of ‘Inception’, citing that dreams are merely “the cinema of the mind”.

No matter what evidence suggests otherwise, lucid dreaming is being used in legitimate therapeutical techniques, such as post-traumatic stress therapies and many other psychological disorders. Lucid Dreaming can provide situations for people to confront that they wouldn’t normally when awake and it is possible to change personality structure, as outlined by Paul Tholey, a former leading German Gestalt therapist.

Mainstreaming of lucid dreaming relies significantly on the popularity and research availability as many are uncertain of the benefits versus the ignorance. ‘Inception’ tackled this and has left the door open for many to think more proactively about the phenomenon, which in turn has led to an increase in the intrigue of the subject. 

Dreams have long been a fascination of many but when people become more aware of the benefits, this could keep dream therapy from becoming dormant and instead rouse a legitimate part of human therapy.