Joe Griffin is the Irish psychologist who solved the ancient puzzle of dreaming. His extensive published research resulted in the first comprehensive, scientifically consistent theory of why we evolved to dream – his expectation fulfilment theory – which has led, through his work with Ivan Tyrrell, to huge improvements in the treatment of depression, addiction, psychological trauma and the early stages of psychosis.

He has a remarkable intellect and questioning mind, is a riveting speaker and widely regarded as Ireland's foremost practical guide to the mysteries of the mind.

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Why do we dream?

Why does Nature select certain experiences to be the subject of our dreams? Why do they feel so meaningful to us? And what purpose do they serve?

The renowned Irish psychologist Joe Griffin's illuminating lecture answers these questions and many more as he takes us through the story of how he solved the mystery of why we dream – and discovered at the same time the significance of dreaming for our mental health.

In the 20 years since Griffin first published his hypothesis, every new piece of dream and sleep research has substantiated it – none has contradicted it.

In this talk, he examines the evidence and explains why other dream theories fail to come up with satisfactory answers. (His own 12 year research project was prompted by the realisation that the discovery of the REM state in 1953 meant Freudian and Jungian dream theories were 'dead in the water'.)

Whilst describing his own experiments and the key 'light bulb' moments which finally helped him solve this age-old mystery, he takes us on a fasincating exploration of the significance of various scientific findings in the field – some previously overlooked – before demonstrating how his expectation fulfilment theory of dreams succinctly pulls them together into a powerful explanation that makes absolute evolutionary and common sense. Nature, as ever, has been clever and economical.

Other subjects covered include:

The auto-symbolic process; why all dreams have to be metaphorical to prevent false memories building up; metaphorical pattern-matching; why we evolved to suppress emotions; why dreaming was Nature's way of conserving energy; why dreaming evolved to maintain the integrity of mammalian instincts; the connection between unfulfilled emotional expectations and nightmares; dream predictions; and why all mammals dream.

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“The linkage of waking emotional materials to dreams is entirely convincing.”


If you've found this talk interesting, you might like to find out more:

The many insights and practical applications that have stemmed from Griffin's highly original work intro why we dream have huge significance for us all – and they have been quietly revolutionising the successful treatment of mental health and behavioural problems for years through the human givens approach to psychology, psychotherapy and education, co-founded by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell. You can find out more here.

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