Addressing Work-Related Nightmares

Available for Interviews:  Dr. Colleen Cira

Dr. Colleen Cira, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in Women and Trauma, and has worked with hundreds of people struggling with mental health issues.


Talking Points on What Dr. Cira Can Say in an Interview
About Work-Related Nightmares:

For most of us, work is one of the main domains of our lives; it’s where we spend the majority of our days, and therefore the majority of our energy. Most corporate cultures want us to check our personal stuff at the door the moment we arrive at work, that’s not possible. We’re human beings, not robots, so our “baggage” is with us, always. And it’s going to show up at work. 

some simple explanations

  • Some of us struggle with anxiety—performance anxiety, social anxiety, etc.—and because we spend so much time at work, these anxieties are going to manifest there.

  • And all of those worries don’t go away the second we get home. Our worries are with us wherever we go and if we’re worried about work, it’s likely going to show up in our dreams at some point.

More complicated explanations

  • The work setting has all of the players and dynamics of a family. There are authority figures that run the show and folks lower on the totem pole who are held accountable by their managers, supervisors and bosses. 
  • So for folks who have experienced childhood adversity, toxic stress or trauma in their family of origin, this set up at work can trigger old wounds. 
  • Perhaps an upsetting disagreement with your boss feels much worse in your mind if you and your parents were often having aggressive disagreements when you were a kid. 
  • When the upset runs much deeper than whatever the actual situation was at work, it’s easy to see how this would stick with us and show up in our dreams.
  • Essentially, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes we are anxious or sad or angry and it shows up at work and then we have feelings about it which carries over into our sleep. 
  • But sometimes worries, conflict and connections at work can trigger much deeper wounds from our past. And when that happens, our feelings about whatever happened are often much bigger than the situation necessarily calls for and in these cases, it’s easy to see why it would stick with us for longer or in more disruptive ways, including nightmares. 


Interview: Dr. Colleen Cira

Dr. Colleen Cira, Psy.D., received both her Masters and Doctorate from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois.  She’s the Founder and Executive Director of Cira Center for Behavioral Health, PC, a boutique group practice specializing in Women and Trauma with locations in Chicago and Oak Park.

She was named one of the “Top 100 Women in Chicago Making a Difference” by Today’s Chicago Woman.  Dr. Cira is a trauma and anxiety expert, clinical supervisor, writer, speaker, consultant, activist, wife, and Mommy to two little ones.

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.

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