When we are holding unresolved trauma in our system, it is always there. Whether we are awake or asleep, that survival energy is running in the background, affecting all levels of the mind, including the unconscious and subconscious landscapes that we often traverse in dreams, and so we often experience impressions of those survival energies through frightening dreams.

As far as what to do with it, the answer is: do this work. We just have to keep going and do this work consistently and make it part of how we live our life. What is so wonderful to see happen, and I see this over and over again, is that as people start to heal in the waking world, those positive changes also cross over to the dream world, and people start to have changes in familiar, disturbing scenarios – like all of a sudden they are able to say NO, or fight back, or escape.

Also, if we wake up from such a dream, we may want to go to our resources and soothe ourselves, rather than immediately trying to go back to sleep. Or, we can work right then and there with the imagery. This means not suppressing or soothing any lingering fear but rather, working with it. Sit up and put your feet on the floor and let the legs run, let them express that fear you are feeling. See yourself in your mind successfully escaping the dangerous thing from your dream. Or flip the script into fight – imagine an image of the thing your system is fearing and use your Healthy Aggression tools to mobilize the body into expressing self-protection. This approach is more advanced and requires more capacity, but can sometimes lead to a deeper resolution than simply soothing the system. Your choice!