In the work that I do, dreams are seen as the divine call to wholeness, working in us each night, and all dreams come in the service if healing and wholeness. Every creature that has an eyelid has REM sleep, and dreaming is a process as important as breathing, whether you remember your dreams or not. When you do remember them, working them in a circle of trust is an amazing way to further the spiritual journey.
Unlike working with a therapist one-on-one to analyze one’s dreams, the group process is non-analytic and demonstrates the importance of community — how we fellow human beings need each other, and the different perspectives we each bring, in order to understand ourselves.
In the experiential dream group no one functions as a therapist. The dream group leader is there to insure the integrity of the process. The leader makes sure a safe container is formed and that appropriate boundaries are in place.
The leader functions as a facilitator and has the option to share a dream as a member of the group. Another responsibility of the facilitator is that he or she make each member of the group aware of the steps of the group dreamwork process. The dynamic is not that of expert and layperson. Each of us has the power to work with our dreams and to learn and gain knowledge from each other’s dreams. Our job is to make sure we do it safely.
Once the group members understand the process, it is the group’s responsibility to carry it out. An experienced group is essentially a leaderless group with each one in turn taking on the role of leader and moving the group through each stage of the process at the proper time. I am available to do 6-week sessions for your church or group and to provide you with experience and resources to carry this important work forward in your community.
In a dream group, as opposed to analysis, the dreamer remains in control the entire time. The dreamer is not under any contract to share a particular dream if s/he does not wish to do so. No one in the group may tell another what his or her dream means, or take hold of the dream and use it to point out perceived issues in the dreamer. The dreamer determines the level of sharing s/he feels comfortable with and is never pushed or challenged to go beyond that. The dreamer is responsible for setting his or her own limits which means, in effect, that s/he can keep his or her defenses as high as s/he wishes. The other members of the group, including the leader, are there to be of help to the dreamer only to the extent that the dreamer wishes that help. They follow where the dreamer leads and never open areas not opened up by the dreamer.
The goal of the experiential dream group is to bring the dreamer in touch with the dream, proceeding always at the invitation of the dreamer and never in an intrusive way. When conditions for the safety of the dreamer are met and the group works with the dreamer in a way that is nonintrusive, the effect is healing. The dreamer has made contact with his or her own images from the unconscious, and the creative way they reflect his or her current state of being, as well as the information they offer for future direction.
~based on the work of Dr. Montague Ullman, The Rev. Bob Haden and Jeremy Taylor