Howard Tyas

Presentation title: “Nightmares – Urgent Messages from the Guiding Self”

Presentation description:  For Jung there is an older, wiser part of the psyche, the Self, which desires both the well-being of the ego and the establishment of a dialectic relationship between the ego and the deep recesses of the unconscious.  It is in the context of this dialogue that one’s true personality is hammered out through the process Jung referred to as individuation. Dreams offer singular and therapeutic perspectives initiated by the unconscious. They are designed to maintain a psychological balance in the moment while also beckoning us toward a life felt to be authentic.  When we lose sight of or stray from that authentic personality, the Guiding Self will often resort to nightmares to redirect our attention - the more nightmarish the dream, the more urgent the call. Nightmares attend to those wounds we carry that are in need of healing; they help us address the fears and anxieties life so often brings; and they call us to focus on issues hindering us from living a creative and meaningful life.

Dr. Tyas will begin our exploration of nightmares by examining the personal and psychological context out of which nightmares arise, namely, the self-regulatory nature of the psyche and the ongoing process of individuation.  He will briefly address understandings of the nightmare expressed in art, then the phenomenon of the nightmare as experienced in film.  A majority of our time will be devoted to looking at various dreams which are nightmarish in quality, with an eye toward trying to understand both their urgent message and their timely meaning.

Nightmares are a natural part of how the psyche has evolved and how it functions, despite being extremely unsettling. Current scientific research suggests nightmares are an integral part of the psyche’s and the body’s self-regulatory dynamics, helping to process feeling states that are either overwhelming or unacknowledged.

This presentation will explore nightmares that occur in response to a traumatizing event or experience, and the truth behind them. Nightmares can result from a complex formation of military combat or PTSD, natural disasters, intentional acts of violence and violation, and the death of a loved one.  Dr. Tyas will discuss how nightmares can be a transition to healing.


HOWARD W. TYAS, Jr., D. Min., is a certified Jungian analyst and a licensed Pastoral Counselor. He currently has a private practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, working primarily with adults in individual analysis, making use of dream material and expressive techniques.  He also lectures, leads dream groups, and conducts monthly seminars focusing on dream work and various images which reflect what C.G. Jung referred to as the individuation process.  These seminars are often co-led with his wife, Karen Hodges, also a certified Jungian analyst.

Dr. Tyas has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Texas. In 1991, Dr. Tyas traveled to Zürich, Switzerland, to study at the C.G. Jung Institute, where he graduated with the Diploma in Analytical Psychology in 1996.  Dr. Tyas is a member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology and the Association of Graduate Analytical Psychologists (Zürich). He is a charter member of the North Carolina Society of Jungian Analysts. 

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