11 Feb 2014

Dreams used in therapy

8:05 am on 11 February 2014

A Native American mental health worker is encouraging young Maori and Pacific people struggling with depression to form what is known as "dream" groups, to help them open up and share their stories.

Eduardo Duran.

Eduardo Duran. Photo: RNZ

Eduardo Duran, who belongs to the Apache Indian nation, spoke to a large audience at the Maori, Pacific and Indigenous suicide prevention symposium in Wellington on Monday.

He says in his experience as a clinical psychologist working among native Indian young people, dreams are the one thing they like to talk about.

If teenagers are asked what their problems are, they're probably not going to say anything but it opens the door to a whole other world if they are asked if they are dreaming about anything - and makes them feel like they're being listened to, Dr Duran says.

The mental health worker says in his culture, and similarly with other indigenous groups, dreams play an important part of where people get their guidance and inspiration from because they are messages which come directly from their tupuna (ancestors).