communities of dreamers
Dreams have been part of communities in various cultures for thousands of years. For example, the Aboriginal people of Australia describe their understanding of the world, it's creation and the important myths of its history as The Dreamtime. In Egypt, dreams were explored by specialists (priests and oracles) who used them to advise or direct the Pharaohs and other community leaders. Even in popular culture, dreams have been portrayed in stories, poems, plays, film, music, television, art and the many realms of science including psychology, biology and more.
In my time working with dreams, I have found that any engagement with our dreams, if attended to well, provide insight and awareness of our lives which can be useful. Sharing a dream with another seems to amplify the dream's effect, and sharing our dreams in a group context takes on a much deeper, broader and very unifying dimension not possible in working alone or in pairs.
By far my favourite approach to working with dreams in groups is called 'Appreciating Dreams' and was the work of Montague Ullman and in this YouTube clip you can watch Ullman speak about dream groups and dream appreciation. Since recording this video, Ullman has passed away but his legacy for dream groups lives on.
Appreciating Dreams is by far the best book I've found for describing in detail the Dream Appreciation process. In the book each of the stages are presented in detail as well as Ullman's views on dreams and dreaming are clearly explained. You will find this book on Amazon or your favourite book reseller, you may even be able to order it from your local bricks-and-mortar bookshop. You can click on the book cover here on the left to take you to the UK Amazon store for your convenience.
In the book we find a treasure trove of insights and ideas regarding dreams and working with dreams in a group context. What strikes me most about the approach listed is the way in which Ullman's descriptions just seem to fit. They don't use complex psychological or analytical terminology but present dreams and the playful way in which group participants engage in the dream group process where the two most important factors are Safety and Trust. In the group, it is the dream group leader's responsibility to ensure the dreamer palpably experiences these factors in order for the dream work to be helpful for the dreamer. The dreamer is always in charge of the process though, the leader is there to look to the process and keep the group on-point. Use the newsletter form below if you are interested in more information on Dublin Dream Groups.
The video on the right is one of the few which exist where Ullman answeres a variety of questions from participants on one of his dream training programmes. His education and training in psychoanalysis are clear but have been left behind in order to make way for a lovely synthesis of more positive, hope oriented view of dreams that that of the original psychological theorists like Freud.
There is also a very nice video available to buy where Ullman describes each stage of the Dream Group Process and is available from this website. It is only about 35 minutes long and there is a companion DVD which is a recorded interview one-on-one with Ullman and it can be purchased direct from the author by emailing them at email@example.com
The Dream Group Process
This is an overview of the stages of the Ullman Experiential Dream Group Process by Dr. William Stimson. It beautifully outlines the stages of the group process and is a wonderful representation of the content and flow of a typical dream group session. Dr. Stimson facilitates his own Dream Group in Taiwan, China and has written extensively himself on the subject of dreams (you can find his website here).
The Dublin dream appreciation group
In 2008 I founded the Dublin Dream Appreciation Group (DAAG) with a view to creating a safe and supportive space for anyone with an interest in dreams to come and explore their dreams in a group context. The group size tends to be small with a maximum of about 8 people with myself as the dream group leader for the moment.
The 2008 group met fortnightly, once per week for 10 weeks and was very successful with some remarkable enthusiasm, engagement and enlightening outcomes for many of the participants.
With the launch of Dream Insights, we are delighted to bring the group back on stream for the 2015/2016 cycle.
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