Inception: Hypnosis, Dreams, & Nightmares

Published by Angel


City upside down in hypnotic dream image.

“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bit bigger,” says the character Eames (played by Tom Hardy) in the movie Inception.

The movie is about Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a thief who steals corporate secrets by penetrating the subconscious minds of his targets when they are in a dreamlike state.

He and his team are hired by a mysterious Japanese business mogul called Saito (played by Ken Watanabe) to implant an idea in the mind of a competitor: and that idea is to break up the financial empire that the new CEO has inherited (and thus be less of a threat to Saito’s own business).

The plausibility of the plot isn’t really the point. What’s so interesting about the movie is (1) the recognition that we can implant ideas in the subconscious (which is partly how we believe that hypnosis works) and (2) the recognition that our experience of our dreams can, and sometimes do, shape our decisions in daily life.

Pleasant dreams can put us in a great mood for the day. And, more than that, they often feel very meaningful to us. We can often remember a lucid dream for years to come as if it were a real event in our waking life. Nightmares, in contrast, can leave us feeling exhausted and nervous about falling asleep.

As I’ve mentioned when discussing my own personal self-hypnosis regime, I often enter a state of hypnagogia (a state of consciousness in which we experience short dreams) through deep self-hypnosis. That’s partly why I do it, though self-hypnosis has plenty of other benefits for the mind and even the body (such as letting go of stress).

I work with clients to help them improve the quality of their sleep and dreams, and/or to stop having nightmares. If that sounds like something that would interest you, check out my work on hypnosis for dreams.