Dream Work

We spend much of our time sleeping and we spend much of that time dreaming. Our dream life is not primarily random; it is always specific to the individual person and their life situation -- different people at different times have different dreams. They are always rich, full of surprises, and with great depth and significance at multiple levels simultaneously. Together, in therapy, we can look at your dreams and help you make meaning of them. Through this process you can develop your relationship with yourself in a holistic way.

When dreams come up in therapy, it is natural to engage with them. My approach is to thoroughly integrate dreams into individual psychotherapy whenever there is dream material. Many people find that after making or attending a first therapy appointment they have a particularly significant dream. Dreams that emerge during the course of therapy, recurring dreams, and first dreams that are remembered from childhood can also be fruitful to explore in therapy.

Many people think they don't have dreams, or feel frustrated about not remembering dreams. I have helped many people develop greater dream recall through encouraging certain habits of behavior and attention. Experience has shown that there is a sort of reciprocal relationship between the waking and the dreaming parts of oneself, which develops through paying conscious attention to dreams and treating them with respect and significance. No dream or part of a dream is too small to be worth paying attention to in a therapeutic setting, and the rewards can be significant.

My approach is a holistic one. The human organism is homeostatic in nature; it has a tendency toward equilibrium. Just as, in most cases, physical illness is a sign of a movement toward healing and wholeness, which the physician treats by supporting the natural processes, something similar is happening with emotional or psychological difficulties. The mind is part of the body, and waking and dreaming are parts of the mind. By paying attention to dreams as well as to waking experiences, we can best see how to support the process of healing, growth, or development that is already underway.

When working with a dream, it is helpful to re-enter the dream to whatever extent possible. Together we can walk around inside it, taking a fresh look. Helpful questions to ask yourself to stay with the dream include: What do I see, hear, or touch there? Where does my attention go in the dream and what else is happening? Where in my life is this situation happening? What does this remind me of?

Many people find that, after a concerted effort to follow their dreams in a meaningful way, they start to feel that their dreams are leading somewhere -- that they are not meaningless, random side effects of sleep but rather that they are indications of the homeostatic process at work, a marvelous mechanism of healing and wholeness.