Why we dream: the definitive answer

by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell


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Paperback (265pp)

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The remarkable story of how the Irish psychologist Joe Griffin went on a quest to discover why dreaming evolved – and eventually succeeded.

With a strikingly simple, intuitively and scientifically satisfying explanation for why we dream, he reveals what dreams do for us and gives readers the key to understanding their own remembered dreams.

Since earliest times, humankind has puzzled over and been inspired by the self-evident symbolism in dream. In modern times the phenomenon remained a mystery to science – until the explanation revealed in this book was announced, tested and found useful.

Thanks to Griffin's experiments and his 'expectation fulfilment theory' we now know that dreaming keeps us sane, or, in certain circumstances, can drive us mad (psychotic). And this knowledge has opened up wonderful new possibilities for humanity: greater creativity; improved mental health and deeper understanding of who we are.

Why we dream is full of real-life stories, dream examples and case histories. It also explains why dreaming and daydreaming are crucial to human development, and why stories and metaphors have universal appeal. Why we dream: the definitive answer will genuinely change lives and rejuvenate psychology.

Key topics covered:

  • How to work out what our dreams really mean
  • How daydreaming, hypnosis, creativity, dreaming and lucid dreaming are related
  • Why our dreams seem so intense and significant when we experience them, and yet are so easily forgotten
  • Why everyone loves stories
  • The connection between emotions and dreams
  • Why psychotic people appear to be living out bad dreams
  • Why animals dream differently from us ... and much more.

  • Format: Paperback (265pp)
  • ISBN: 1-899398-42-2

About the author(s)

Joe GriffinJoe Griffin is a social psychologist with graduate and postgraduate degrees from the LSE. He has had many years experience both in psychotherapeutic practice and in training psychotherapists.

Scientific reviewers around the world have described his research on dreaming with such phrases as, “The bridge between neurophysiology and psychology... rigorously scientific... an important milestone... moves our understanding on significantly... a watershed in our exploration of the evolution of mental processes... a major key to the nature of all psychic states.” He is co-author with Ivan Tyrrell of five landmark monographs about advances in psychological interventions for emotional disturbances and numerous best-selling books, including How to lift depression...fast, Freedom from Addiction and Why we dream: the definitive answer.

Joe has two daughters and lives with his wife, Liz, in a small medieval town by the river Barrow in rural Ireland.

Ivan TyrrellIvan Tyrrell's interest in psychology stems from a childhood experience of undergoing surgery under hypnosis. For twenty years he studied the comparative effectiveness of psychotherapy and counselling models, linking this to what science is discovering about the brain and mind/body/mood connections. As Editorial Director of the Human Givens Journal he has collaborated on many major articles with a variety of distinguished clinicians, writers and other individuals with a focus on psychology, social issues and mental health.

Ivan worked for many years as a psychotherapist and lecturer and is now director of Human Givens College. He founded the Human Givens Institute. He has one son and three daughters and lives with his wife, Véronique, in the Cotswold countryside.


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Definitive AND game changing

This highly lucid and compelling book outlines one of the most important recent discoveries in the field of psychology.At its core the book not only argues, but very convincingly demonstrates that we evolved to dream in order to unburden ourselves of certain emotions that accumulate daily in the brain - and which are unexpressed.Dreaming is a kind of release valve, the authors say, that discharges those emotions, thereby working every night to keep our mental health in check. The implications of this discovery for psychology are colossal, in part, because Griffin and Tyrrell show that when the brain is overwhelmed by too many of those emotional burdens (worries and ruminations), and when dreaming becomes excessive as a result, we quickly slip into disequilibrium. Depression, or even psychosis, tend to result.This connection between dreaming and mental illness, if popularly acknowledged, would be a game changer in the field of psychology. This elusive linkage, now effectively demonstrated, might have come to light earlier were it not for the preponderance of pseudo-philosophical (and largely self-serving) theories put forward by writers like Freud and Jung. Their notions which had little practical value for mental health, are convincingly deflated by the authors.We may not all be psychologists, but every one of us dreams. And if we're to better understand ourselves, our minds, and especially our dreams, we would do well to consider the ideas presented in this book.

John Zada

Sep 27th, 2017