כיפת חלומות: האם חלומות מגנים על הנפש בזמנים של לחץ מתמשך? מחקר על חלומות של תושבי שדרות

מאמר שפורסם מאת פרופ’ תמר קרון, אור הראבן ופרופ’ גילי גולדצוויג ב-2015 במגזין Dreaming של ארגון הפסיכולוגיה האמריקאי.

המאמר מציג ממצאים ממחקר חלומות מקיף במסגרתו נותחו 525 חלומות של 44 תושבים מאזור שדרות ועוטף עזה. המאמר נוגע באופן בו החיים בצל איום הטילים משפיעים על חיי הנפש. החלומות שופכים אור על הטראומה עמה מתמודדים תושבי האזור ואופני ההתמודדות איתה, ובחלק מהמקרים מגנים על הנפש מפני השפעותיה ההרסניות.

Dream Dome: Do dreams shield the psyche in times of continuous stress?

Tamar Kron, Or Hareven, and Gil Goldzweig
Department of Behavioral Science Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yafo

Dreaming, Vol 25(2), Jun 2015, 160-172.

Abstract

Results of analysis of 525 dreams, collected from 44 women living near the Gaza strip in Israel under continuous rocket attacks, are presented.

The most frequent themes found are: ‘Togetherness’, ‘Being active’, ‘Stress Situation Related’, ‘Fear and Anxiety’, ‘Helplessness’ and ‘Masochism.

The subjects were divided into 3 age groups – Young, Middle and Old.

The themes were organized into three patterns of reactions on the unconscious level: Psychological freeze, Flight, and Fight.

The most common pattern in all age groups and within all of the groups is the Flight pattern.

The young age group has the highest level of both Freeze and Flight patterns and high frequencies of the themes “Stress related” and “Fear and Anxiety”. The oldest  has the lowest level of the Freeze pattern, and high frequency of the theme ‘Personal Issue’. In the mid group the highest level of the Fight pattern is found.

On the unconscious level the young age group seems to be the most vulnerable to the stress situation, the old age group is the least influenced by it, and the mid group makes the most psychological efforts for coping.

***

Since 2000, the residents of the town of Sderot in Israel- a brief kilometer away from the Gaza strip- have lived under the threat of continuous rocket attacks: an estimated thirteen thousand have been fired at the town and its area since September 2000. In what follows, we present a study of the dreams of residents of Sderot, who live, suffer, and attempt to cope with a situation of a constant reign of terror. Capturing the two major aspects of this study, the term “Dream Dome” in the title parallels the mobile air defense system named “Iron Dome” employed by the Israel Defense Forces in defending against attacks on Sderot and its surrounding areas.

Studies conducted in Sderot and the surrounding villages and Kibbutzim show that a significant proportion of the population suffers from at least one PTSD symptom. Even residents of the area who did not report a specific symptom did report suffering from emotional distress and physical symptoms. (Nuttman- Shwartz & Dekel ,2009; Ablin et al., 2010; Besser & Neria, 2010; Diamond et al., 2010; Gelkopf et al.,2012).

Already in 1920, Freud, aware of the inconsistency of traumatic dreams with his wish-fulfilling theory, wrote: ” Now in the traumatic neuroses the dream life has this peculiarity: it continually takes the patient back to the situation of his disaster from which he awakens in renewed terror…” (Freud, 1920, p. 9.). Trying to resolve this inconsistency, Freud explained the nature of trauma in war and trauma neurosis: “Such external excitations as are strong enough to break through the barrier against stimuli we call traumatic… An occurrence such as an external trauma will undoubtedly provoke a very extensive disturbance in the workings of the energy of the organism, and will set in motion every kind of protective measure. But the pleasure-principle is to begin with put out of action here. The flooding of the psychic apparatus with large masses of stimuli can no longer be prevented: on the contrary, another task presents itself—to bring the stimulus under control, to ‘bind’ in the psyche the stimulus mass that has broken its way in, so as to bring about a discharge of it” (ibid, p.34).

Recent researches on dreams of people under continuous stress show that the content and characteristics of traumatic dreams are determined by a number of variables relating to the trauma itself and to the participative experience. In general, dreams of people who have been experiencing stress and trauma are less symbolic and more concrete, and they include more fragmentary narratives than dreams of people who have not experienced trauma (Nadar, 1996; Brenneis, 1994; Varvin et al.,  2012).

Phelps et al (2011) and Phelps, Forbes, & Creamer (2007) point out that memory for traumatic events is stored in a different way than for every day events. These traumatic memories are unprocessed. Thus the hallmark of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) nightmare is “a repetitive, replay of the traumatic event, complete with accompanying cognitive, affective, physiological, and behavioral response” (p.342) and can occur for decades.

Other researches argue that dreaming allows cognitive-emotional processing of traumatic events. For example dreams of children under continuous stress caused by war and terror were found to be characterized by negative emotions, anxiety, and horror, and the absence of solutions to problems, (Punamaki,1999; Punamaki et al.,2005; Punamaki & El Sarraj,2006; Valli et al.,2005; Valli et al.,2006).

The above authors suggest that dreaming may be adaptive for the children’s coping in continuous stress situations.

Ernest Hartmann is a leading contemporary theorist and researcher who offers a detailed explanatory description of the adaptive function of dreaming. According to Hartmann (2008) dreaming is at the one end of a continuum of mental functioning. At this end, neural connections are formed more easily than when in a waking state. These connections are not made randomly. They are guided by the emotions of the dreamer: The Central Image of the dream pictures or expresses the dreamer’s emotion. This making connections guided by emotions Hartmann calls “weaving in” material – in other words, connecting stressful experiences and emotions with existing memory.

According to Hartmann, in addition to this specific function of dreaming, the waking-to-dreaming continuum has an adaptive function, and thus it is not necessary that the dream mirrors the actual traumatic experience. The powerful images in dreams of people who experienced stressful events express the dreamers’ emotions.

Hartmann defines the central image (CI) of the dream as “a striking, arresting or compelling image—not simply a story—but an image which stands out by virtue of being especially powerful, vivid, bizarre or detailed” (Hartmann, Zborowski, & Kunzendorf, 2001, p. 36). He proposes a direct positive relationship between the strength of the dreamer’s emotion or emotional concern and the intensity of the CI as rated by judges. A key aspect of Hartmann’s (1998) theory is the role of the CI as explanatory metaphor. In earlier formulations of the theory the CI was described as contextualizing imagery because it created a picture context for the emotion elicited by the original waking event. The quintessential tidal wave dream is a pictorial metaphor for a waking traumatic experience of exposure to an overwhelming and harmful force. Both experiences are strongly associated with the emotion of fear. Hartmann has provided numerous examples of such metaphoric dream imagery, drawn from dreams of people who have experienced trauma, and together with his coworkers has compared dreams of various naturalistically occurring groups or dreams recorded after a major traumatic international event ( Hartmann & Basile, 2003; Hartmann & Brezler, 2006; Hartmann, Kunzendorf, Rosen, & Grace, 2001). The results confirm that central dream imagery is stronger for individuals who experience a traumatic event. These findings are entirely consistent with an abundance of persuasive examples of such connections from the dream literature (e.g., Faraday, 1972; Hill, 2003).

In our study we collected more than 600 dreams of residents of Sderot and the surrounding area, during 2009. The continuous stress situation in the area is characterized by fluctuations in the intensity of rocket attacks. The dreams collection followed a stormy period of rocket attacks. Our hypothesis is that the situation of continuous stress is manifested in dreams, the study of which expand our knowledge concerning: a) the effects of the traumas, and b) the functions of the dream in coping with the continuous traumatic situation.

Participants and methodology

Participants included 44 women, citizens of Sderot area. We chose to study only women participants for the following reasons: 1. More women than men agreed to take part in the research  2. Results of studies of differences between dreaming of men and women show that women tend to recall their dreams more often than men (Schredl & Reinhard ,2008; Georgi, Schredl, Henley-Einion & Blagrove, 2010)

  1. It was found in demographic studies of populations exposed to traumatic situations (terror attacks, missile attacks, etc.) that women suffer significantly more from PTSD and SRT (stress related symptoms) than men (Bleich et al., 2003; Bleich et al., 2006; Norris et al., 2002; Raviv et al. ,2000; Huddy et al., 2002; Goodwin et al., 2005; Hobfoll et al., 2011).

The participants were recruited in a chain- referral (“snowball”  sampling). The youngest participant was 14 years old and the oldest 65 years old.

All the participants agreed to be interviewed and signed an informed  consent form. In the case of participants under the age of eighteen, their parents signed a form consenting to their participation in the study. The investigators met twice with each participant. The first meeting consisted of open interview of thirty to forty minutes, in which questions were asked relating to background, residence in the area and its consequences, feelings, and their manner of coping. The participants were also asked about their sleep and dreaming patterns. At the end of the first meeting, the participants received dream diaries. The diary was a notebook prepared by the researchers, with an instruction page. Each page began with the sentence: “Last night I dreamed that…” The participants were instructed to write down their dreams and all associations to the dream for four weeks. In this manner, a total of 525 dreams were collected.

 

Analysis and results

In analyzing the dreams we looked for recurrent “central themes” which can be considered to be related to the continuously stressful situation. In the first stage, two of the authors and five other judges examined all the dreams and revealed 40 central themes based on the content. In the second stage each one of the three authors assessed separately all the dreams and indicated with a 0 for “No” and 1 for “Yes” the presence of each theme in the dream.  A theme was coded 1 only if agreed upon by all three judges. In the third stage the percentage of occurrences of each theme in the total number of dreams was calculated. Out of an initial long list of themes we selected those which had a relative significant occurrence frequency (higher than 24%, with one exception.)

Following is a list of the themes. Each theme is followed by its definition and the percentage of its appearance in the total data base of dreams.

Stress Situation Related Dreams (29%): A dream was considered stress situation related if there was mentioning of the threat of terror, or rockets, or physical injury resulting from an attack or accident. Also if a central image (Hartmann, 2008) appeared , representing strong emotions aroused by the traumatic situation.

Fear and anxiety (32%): A dream was considered a fear and anxiety dream when there was mentioning of fear or anxiety, and when an experience of fear, panic or horror was described.

Helplessness and loss of control (33%): An experience of loss of control of the dreamer in the dream situation and/or feeling of helplessness was reported by the dreamer.

No escape (14%): The dreamer’s attempt to get away from the dangerous area (where there is high probability of rocket attacks) failed in bringing about positive results. The dreamer also encountered danger in the place to which he/she escaped to (This theme was included for its relevance to the stress situation).

Active Ego (62%): The dreamer is active in the dream situation. The activity can be either useful or futile.

Coping with the situation  (24%): The dreamer looks for ways of active coping with the immediate danger situation (looking for shelter, survival techniques, protecting the children, etc.).

 Togetherness (68%): The dreamer is not alone, experiences being together

with others in the dream situation and/or getting support from others.

Symbolic dream: (32%) Fantastic or metaphoric dreams which describe events that did not or cannot happen in reality.

Masochistic dream: (50%) The term, “masochistic dream” (Beck 1967) refers to a dream in which there is a negative self-image, and/or a negative chain of events. This analysis was made utilizing the Beck scale (ibid.) for the measurement of masochism in dreams.

Shadow: (29%) Appearance of a human figure, animal or symbol which

represents repressed or unaccepted parts of the dreamer’s personality.

Shadow refers also to enemy or aggressive figures.

Personal Issue (PI): (40%) A system of related thoughts and emotions tied together around a central theme which is not related to the traumatic situation, and which the dreamer is preoccupied with, either consciously or unconsciously .

The next table summarizes the percentage of the themes in the total data base of dreams, from the highest to the lowest.

Table I: Themes occurrences

Togetherness 68%
Active Ego 62%
Masochistic dream 50%
Personal Issue (PI) 40%
Helplessness and Loss of control 33%
Symbolic dream 32%
Fear and Anxiety 32%
Stress Situation Related Dreams 29%
Shadow 29%
Coping with the Situation 24%
No Escape 14%

Percentages sum up to more than 100% since many dreams include several themes

As can be seen in table I, the most frequent themes in the dreams are – togetherness and being active. These themes might be related to waking life strategies of coping with stressful situations, and will be discussed in detail in the discussion section below.

Other themes that seem to be related to the situation (stress situation related, fear and anxiety, helplessness), show in about a third of the dreams, and half of the dreams are masochistic dreams. These findings are an unconscious manifestation of the reality of concrete danger and distress as a result of living under continuous threat of rocket attacks.

Other themes that appear in a relatively high frequency (PI, symbolic dreams, shadow), may or may not be related to the given situation as will be discussed later.  Generally symbolic dreams frequency is quite low and this finding corresponds with findings in other studies of dreams in traumatic situations. Shadow frequencies are also generally low in a way contradictory to the expectation that the shadow of “the enemy” will appear in high frequency in this population. Is the absence of shadow images related to the fact that rockets have no face and the danger comes “from above”?

Following studies of dreams of children in stress and trauma life situations, we assumed that differences between age groups will be found in our participant population (Raviv, A. et al., ,2000; Punamäki, R.L.,1999; Punamäki, R.L.et al., 2005; Valli, K. et al., 2005; Valli, K. et al., 2006) . We divided the research population into 3 age groups: Young 14-19 (19 Ss); Mid 20-44 (17 Ss); Old 45-65 (8 Ss), and looked for differences in appearance of the themes in their dreams. The percentage of occurrences of each theme in the total number of dreams was calculated for each age group separately.  The differences are summarized in Table II.

   Table II: Percentages of Themes among Age Groups

Theme Young
(14-19)
Middle
(20-40)
Old
(41+)
Stress Situation Related 37% 25% 23%
Fear &Anxiety 35% 30% 29%
Helplessness andLoss of control 33% 33% 33%
No escape 10% 18% 14%
Active Ego 60% 64% 63%
Coping with the Situation 26% 23% 20%
Together 78% 60% 66%
Symbolic 22% 40% 36%
Masochism 50% 54% 44%
Shadow 24% 35% 28%
PI 29% 45% 51%

 

The patterns: Psychological freeze -Flight –Fight

Analysis of each theme separately was followed by organizing them into three patterns of themes, representing three patterns of reactions on the unconscious level to the stress situation. We called the three patterns – psychological freeze, flight, and fight, respectively.

Psychological freeze: A pattern of traumatic reactions on the unconscious level, as they are reflected in dreams. Freeze includes the following themes: Stress Situation Related, Fear and anxiety, Helplessness and Loss of Control, and No Escape.

The following is an example of a Freeze dream :

Noa, age 17, lives in a village near the border. She describes herself as calm and relaxed, and taking the situation “easy”. Although she claims that her dreams are not related to the stress situation, 7 out of her 8 reported dreams are related to the stress situation.

“In my dream I go up in an elevator with my friends, and then the elevator gets stuck. It’s frightening. I crouch on the elevator’s floor. All of a sudden it stops – the lights turn on and the door opens, and as my friend tries to get out, the door slams, the lights turn off and the elevator drops down the shaft. When the elevator stops I see my friend crouching and trying to protect her head. But something is dripping from its ceiling on my head, and I see that the head is bleeding.”

In the dream the Ego (the dreamer) is stuck and frozen. The central image – the elevator that first gets stuck and then drops down the shaft wounding the dreamer – is powerful and expresses helplessness and loss of control. There is no way to escape the stressful situation.

Psychological flight: A pattern of reactions to the stress situation characterized by activity of the ego in the dream without inner psychic work. The motivation is to avoid pain by activity and coping strategies which, in the situation of a rocket attack, mainly involve flight to a protected space. There is also an effort to find support in being together with others. This category includes the following themes: Active ego, Coping with the Situation and Togetherness.

An example of a Flight dream:

Rebecca, 38 years old, mother of 3, lives in a village very close to the border. She is anxious, worried and conflicted about leaving or staying in the area.

I’m in an unknown place, the whole family goes to sleep, the children sleep in simple iron beds. Suddenly there is a warning siren, and I run to hide with my children. I meet a couple, friends who left the village, and I tell them: Good for you that you left the village. They run with us. I woke up feeling stressed”.

In the dream the dreamer, representing the Ego, is active in finding a hiding place. The dreamer is trying to cope with the stress situation and throughout the dream the dreamer is together with others. It is interesting to note that Rebecca’s ambivalence about staying in the village or leaving is represented by the friends, who left the village, appearing there in the stress situation.

 

Psychological fight: The term “psychological fight” refers to dreams which in spite of the stressful outer reality are more concerned with the inner world and personal difficulties. Symbolic dreams and masochistic dreams were found related to better adjustment to stress situations (Hartmann ,1996, 1998; Kron & Brosh, 2003).  Appearance of shadow figure which represents repressed or unaccepted parts of the dreamer’s personality, and dreams dealing with the personal Issues (PI) – are also manifestations of what we call psychological fight.

Thus Fight includes the following themes: Symbolic dreams, Masochistic dreams, Shadow and PI dreams.

Example of Fight Dream:

Miriam, age 50. Married and mother of 5 children  the youngest of which is 9.5 years old. She lives in the town of Sderot. Many rockets fell on the street she lives in, and quite a few inhabitants left the neighborhood. Her 17 year old son was hit by a rocket and is posttraumatic. She is optimistic and doesn’t think about leaving the town.

“I’m in a school or a university. The new director goes to teach in one

of the classrooms and I stay in his room. On the wall there is a relief in

the shape of a human face, and suddenly water bursts out of it and

floods the room. I run out of the room and open the door of the

classroom where the director is lecturing, trying to convince him it’s an

urgent matter. He is not convinced, but later he comes out to see what

happened.”

The dream is symbolic – it takes place in an educational environment, which may suggest psychological development. The main symbol is combining the human element with emotional upheaval. The dream is concerned with the Ego’s coping with personal and collective issues. Even though the dream is a masochistic dream – in the end the dreamer’s effort brings the unconvinced authoritative figure to assist her. The dream is a psychological fight dream in that it expresses the inner struggle and coping with difficulties.

Patterns analysis

The patterns analysis is based on analysis of participants (while the themes analysis is based on analysis of dreams). The themes were coded for each dream, and the percentages calculated for the pattern’s presence in the dreams of each participant.  The rationale for this type of analysis (analyzing patterns within participants) is that we consider a pattern to represent an individual tendency within participants.

Next we calculated the mean number of patterns, and compared them among the 3 age groups.

 

Table III: Means and SD of patterns in the 3 age groups

Pattern Young
(14-19)
Middle
(20-40)
Old
(41+)
Total
Freeze 0.36 (0.25) 0.30 (0.12) 0.23 (0.12) 0.31 (0.19)
Flight 0.52 (0.14) 0.50 (0.14) 0.46 (0.15) 0.50 (0.14)
Fight 0.28 (0.10) 0.37 (0.08) 0.33 (0.06) 0.32 (0.10)

 

Discussion

Managing terror:  Coping with the terror threats

There are likely to be considerable individual differences in the manner in which individuals cope with terror threats (Silke, 2003).  One of our hypotheses is that the study of dreams of our participants can enhance our knowledge concerning the functions of the dream in dealing with the continuous traumatic situation.

Our finding that the theme of  Togetherness  (the dreamer is not alone, experiences being together with others in the dream situation and/or getting support from others) is the most frequent theme in the dreams (68%), corresponds to findings on actual terror management. As attachment theorists have long noted, one important way of coping with threats to one’s safety is to seek support from others (Bowlby, 1969). Primary support is likely to be derived from romantic partners, friends and family (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Clinical studies have demonstrated that such support may be of particular importance during times of war or following the witnessing of a terror attack.  For example, in their study of those directly affected by bombings in Yugoslavia, Putnik and Lauri (2004) found that interpersonal relationships became closer, with respondents reporting the provision and receipt of heightened levels of support. The importance of interpersonal support and, in particular, the support provided by romantic partners has been added to the TMT (Terror Management Theory) (Pyszcynski et al., 2003).  During times of stress, close relationships can act as a fundamental anxiety buffer, providing a ‘symbolic shield against the awareness of one’s  finitude’ (Mikulincer et al., 2003, p. 37). Mikulincer et al. (2003) argue that the formation of close relationships during periods of mortality salience functions ‘side by side and in interaction with other mechanisms’ (p. 26).

Perceived social support  has been found to be associated with psychological well-being in times of stress (Norris & Kaniasty, 1996;Norris et al., 2002) or terror attack (Hobfoll et al. 2006; Hobfoll et al.,  2011), and with resilience in life threatening conditions (Shalev et al.,  2006). In a study of gender differences in coping with chronic terror it was found that for women, more than for men, social support is one of the main forms of coping (Zeidner, 2006). This was also found in a study of the effects of insecure attachment orientations and perceived social support on posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms among civilians exposed to the 2009 Israel–Gaza war. Findings revealed that perceived social support was significantly associated with low levels of PTSD and MDD both during the time of war in Gaza and 4 months after cease-fire (Besser & Neriya, 2010).

The frequency of the theme Active Ego (The dreamer is active in the dream situation, the activity can be either useful or futile) was found to be the second highest theme (62%).  This finding can be interpreted as compensatory to the quite high frequency of Masochism in dreams (50%) and the Helplessness and Loss of control (33%).  In a telephone survey of Israeli nationally representative sample during a period of extreme threat of terrorists attacks (the ‘Intifada’).  it was found that among the 512 participants the most prevalent coping mechanisms were active searches of information about loved ones and social support (Bleich et al. 2003). In a study of gender group differences in coping with chronic terror it was found that women used problem solving coping more than men (Zeidner,  2006).

Differences between age groups

Looking at the differences in frequencies of themes in the 3 age groups we find that there are no differences for some of the themes. Helplessness and Loss of control seem to be a common experience for the participants and appear in the dreams of the 3 age groups with almost the same frequencies. The Ego appears as active in more than 60% of the dreams, with no differences between the age groups. Masochistic dreams appear in about 50% of the dreams, again with no differences between the age groups, and can be understood as connected to the reality of the life-threatening stressful situation. It might be argued that this finding is in concordance with Hartmann’s Central Image theory which in the dream represents the emotions  aroused by the stress situation.

The frequencies of symbolic dreams are low in all age groups. This finding corresponds to findings in researches of dreams of people who have been experiencing stress and trauma (Nadar, 1996; Brenneis, 1994). PTSD dreams are often literal representations of the traumatic event, reflecting  the psyche’s inability to process and integrate it through symbol formation (Levy, 1995; Wilmer, 2001; Varvin et al. 2012).

The most common pattern in all age groups and within all of the groups is the Flight pattern. This finding may indicate that the psyche’s most frequent unconscious reaction to such a stressful situation is an urge to somehow actively cope with it.

Never the less a decreasing order can be seen in the Flight pattern: the young age group has the highest level and the older age group has the lowest.

The same decreasing order can also be seen in the Freeze pattern, but the differences between the age groups are bigger.

The young age group has the highest level of both the Freeze and the Flight patterns. In the dreams of this group the highest frequencies of the themes Stress Related Dreams, and Anxiety and Fear were found, while symbolic dreams had the lowest frequency. Taken together, these findings indicate that the young age group is the most vulnerable of the three age groups. In this vulnerable group also the highest frequency of the theme Togetherness (78%) was found in the dreams, which may be understood as seeking on the unconscious level social support as means of coping with the chronic stress. These results may indicate a split within this group between dreamers who are paralyzed by the traumatic situation and those who are trying to cope actively, mainly by looking for social support.

In the dreams of the old age group a different picture of the reactions on the unconscious level to the chronic stress situation can be seen. In this group the frequency of the theme “PI” is the highest (51%). This finding is compatible with Erich Neumann’s principle of Centroversion, which derives from Jung’s theoretical premise of individuation (Neumann, 1954). Centroversion is the movement of the psyche towards integration, a process which involves the Ego’s turning from preoccupation with the outside reality to the inner world. According to Jung and Neumann, this turning of the Ego usually comes about midlife. In accordance also with the centroversion principle the old age group has the lowest level of the Freeze pattern while the Fight pattern is relatively high: the outside stress has less impact on the unconscious level. Again in accordance with the centroverion principle our findings show that there is a decreasing order in the Flight pattern, and the old age group has the lowest level of that pattern. Nonetheless, this pattern is high, relative to the other two patterns inside the old age group. This can mean that the outside stress infiltrates the inner world in such a way that necessitates trying to cope with it even on the unconscious level.

The mid group has the middle levels of Freeze and Flight patterns relative to the two other age groups, but has the highest level of the Fight pattern. This finding surprised us at first, as we predicted that the mid group, which includes a majority of mothers of small children, will be most preoccupied with active coping also on the unconscious level. But this same fact can explain the high level of the Fight pattern. It can be safely assumed that these mothers’ ambivalence about staying or leaving the area is more profound. Evidence to this assumption is the relatively high percentage of the theme No Escape: dreams which describe futile attempts to run away from the dangerous area.  In order to be able to cope with the stressful situation these women need, besides the Flight pattern, also deeper inner work which is expressed in the Fight pattern, and relatively high frequency of symbolic dreams. This finding echoes the finding in a research done by Kron & Brosh (Kron & Brosh,  2003) on the relationship between dreams during pregnancy and postpartum depression. It was found that women whose dreams during pregnancy reflected inner work as preparation for the coming birth did not suffer from postpartum depression, while women whose dreams were shallow and ‘nice’ during their pregnancies did suffer from postpartum depression .

In conclusion

 Do dreams shield the psyche like the iron dome shields against rockets falling? On the unconscious level it looks as if the younger participants are the most traumatized, and the mid group is the most in the mode of trying to cope with the situation. The older participants are more occupied in their inner world than with the stress situation. We may say that DreamDdome is most needed for the 20-45 old women, who have to care not only for themselves but also for their families.

We will conclude with a symbolic dream of a dreamer from the mid group:  “I was near the village’s dining room with my younger son, and met my two daughters with another boy. I asked them: Where to will you run if you hear the warning siren? And they pointed to the house of one of the grandmothers which has a protected room. I said ok, and started to walk with them in the direction of that house. Suddenly out of this house a huge helicopter came out and flew very low in the direction of the dining room. I looked at it admiringly and told one of the kids: look, we have a show here. I believed these were our soldiers. Suddenly the helicopter opened and out came figures from Star Trek and started to shoot around. There was one figure there which shouted: run for your life! And I started to run in the direction of our home with my son. “

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