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  • Dana Darrow, LCSW

Delving deeper with dreamwork

Updated: May 24

Dreamwork is an amazing tool that tends to provide a deeper experience of delving into unconscious and subconscious material.


I have used dreamwork personally and with clients who come to me for psychotherapy for many years. It is an amazing tool that tends to provide a deeper experience of delving into unconscious and subconscious material. I have personally found profound insight and resolution to deep issues as I have explored my own dream content.


When working with client’s dreams, I begin by providing information on how to remember dreams. If we will prompt ourselves to remember our dreams before we turn out the lights, we will begin to experience an increase in dreamtime and will also have more recall. I suggest that clients begin using a dream journal to record their dreams. This needs to happen as soon as waking in the morning because our dreams are like a mist and will evaporate if we allow too much time and activity. It’s not necessary to write down each detail, but rather to write enough information for our memory to be prompted.


Next, go back and rewrite the dream in the present tense since all dreams are alive and are happening in the here and now in dreamtime.


As I begin work in the session, I ask the dreamer to tell me their dream in present tense. I will usually ask for associations in the dream. For example, if someone dreamt about a black bear, I might ask them, “What does bear mean to you?” or “What does black mean to you?” After a lengthy time of gathering associations and elaborating on those associations, the dreamer begins to have a deeper insight and feel for the substance of the dream. I then suggest that the dreamer close their eyes and allow a dream image to surface. After a period of silence, I will ask, “Who is visiting now?” or “What is the desire of the dream?” I suggest that the dreamer invite the image into the room with us and allow our visitor to have freedom to engage with the environment.


I find it amazing what often happens next. The image might walk around the room, touch or look at items in the room, and may even begin to talk to the dreamer. I use a lot of silence during a dream session, so that I do not interfere in the dreamer’s process. Many times the image will tell the dreamer the meaning of the dream or at least the meaning of their presence in the dream.


This type of work creates a space for dreams to be acknowledged and honored as messengers from our psyche, and in turn gives us a much deeper way of understanding ourselves and our experiences.


It is also helpful for the dreamer to create a piece of art to represent the image or the dream. It can be any medium available. This representative, concrete object made with our hands provides a tactile experience and can provide information and integration.

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