Dream Types: What Type of Dream Did You Have?

When Sheila Balgobin mentioned her dream types during our recent conversation, I was intrigued as they’re similar yet different than my dream categories. I knew her guest post would add value to my readers, so without further ado:

The Relationship Between the Unconscious and Conscious Minds

In order for psychological healing to occur, a relationship between the conscious (the part of us that says “I”) and the unconscious must be established. A relationship is achieved when the conscious mind becomes aware of the contents of the unconscious – remember, the unconscious knows all about us, while the “I” part of us knows nothing or very little about our unconscious – until some disturbance arises.

It is important to note that, whether or not the unconscious helps or hinders us depends on our relationship with it. In ancient religion Gods and Goddesses were jealous and their favour needed to be won – psychologically, this means that we must pay attention to the unconscious when it speaks; anything we do not deal with will quickly turn against us.

Five Dream Types

I have found over the years of working with clients that dreams generally fall into five categories:

  1. Smokestack – burning off the stressful “remains of the day.”
  2. Problem solving – bright ideas and inventions suggest themselves.
  3. Snapshot – “this is where you are at this moment.”
  4. Recurrent dreams – you’re not getting the message, so it’s repeated.
  5. “Big Medicine” Dreams – these are so important that they will remain clear in your mind for years or even the rest of your life.

Smokestack Dreams

Smokestack dreams are what I call clearing the remains of the day – another driver cut you off on the way to work, you had an argument with a colleague and your teenagers are driving you crazy – little snippets of those incidents appear in your dream as a way to “burn off” the unexpressed stressful feelings created during the day.

Problem Solving Dreams


Do you know how many things were invented because of dreams? Some of them are:

  • Google
  • Sewing machines
  • Shelley’s novel Frankenstein
  • Paul McCartney’s song Yesterday
  • The movie Terminator
  • Einstein’s famous equation e=mc2

The unconscious mind continues to work – even when we sleep – and will work on a problem until a solution is found. The answer may come in a dream, or it may be something someone says or an article you read; the unconscious uses whatever means appropriate to get your attention and help you solve the issue(s).

Snapshot Dreams

As a bereavement and drug/alcohol counsellor, once my clients were aware that I worked with dreams and invited them to present any dreams, I invariably found that my clients dreams were often messages to me as well as my client—the unconscious letting me know if I had understood the message presented – or if I was off with the fairies!

As the clients’ dreams changed over time, I was able to get a picture from the unconscious of the internal shifts occurring in my clients. These dreams I would label as “snapshots” – they give a quick summary of what is going on.

For some clients, however, dreaming was simply not happening – from belief systems to medication, many factors can prevent dreaming – or remembering dreams. Over the years, I developed a simple, but effective techniques to help people to improve both their ability to dream as well as being able to recall them.

Recurrent Dreams

These dreams are really about the unconscious trying to get your attention….and the message is either being ignored or misunderstood.

Think Groundhog Day every night!

When working with clients who have had repetitive dreams – sometimes for their entire lives – we carefully look at the clues in the dream and “crack the code” (each dreamer has their own personal dream symbols – as well as universal symbols common to everyone on the planet). If we have correctly understood the message, the dream stops and never returns; if however, the dream was either not understood or partially understood, the dream will repeat or vary in detail from the original dream, respectively.

It was a recurring dream that I have no doubt saved my life – and it was also in my next dream category, Big Medicine Dreams.

Big Medicine Dreams

Dream Types

This last category is for dreams that are so powerful and deep that they remain a clear memory for years or even the rest of one’s life.

These are life-changing dreams – if they are heeded.

They may be about your current life, but I have found personally that these “big” dreams usually foretell future events. Such dreams not only brought my second husband back into my life (I met him before I married my first!) but as I said, literally saved my life. When I think what could have happened had I NOT listened, I can only say a silent prayer of thanks for the warning.

To learn what the dream was about, the story is in my book, Wide Awake in Your Dreams: Listening to the Thoughts of Your Heart (on Amazon)


Sheila Balgobin

Sheila has helped clients around the world to decipher the code of their sleepless minds and wild dreams – i.e. to identify the root cause(s) of their distress – and either eliminate them or mitigate their impact on body, mind and emotions.

She is a fifth generation “Dreamer”, born with the gift of dream interpretation and is a natural intuitive; those gifts are backed up with training as a practitioner and teacher of various holistic therapies for over 25 years and training as a psychotherapist. Sheila is also a bestselling author and a sleep and dream coach.

Sheila believes in the power of nature to heal body, mind and uses that power – in the form of plant-based remedies and simple techniques – to help clients to address and reduce their stress levels, improve sleep and use their dreams to help create the best lives possible for themselves by encouraging clarity of thought and beneficial decisions with themselves at their center.

Learn more at her here.

Sheila Balgobin Dream Type

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