I’ve written over the past few months a few introductory articles about my approach to dreamwork and why I believe it’s a good tool for healing, self reflection, personal growth, and spiritual expansion. I say this as both a practitioner and as a student, for I am both, and probably will always be a student of the mysteries of consciousness and dreams.
Today. I am hoping to provide a brief answer to the question “Is dreamwork right for me?”
Imagine you and I have just met at a social gathering, and I tell you I am a dreamworker. You’re intrigued. You have a pretty active dream life, and have always wondered if your dreams were more than just regurgitation of the day’s events or replays of old stressors or relationship patterns. You’ve already asked me to tell you more about what dreamwork is, and I have, and now you’re considering whether you want to try dreamwork, either with me or another practitioner.
Typically at this point (if we were at a social gathering) I’d likely suggest you give me a call so we can talk more in depth … in a quieter, less stimulating environment. (You might not get overwhelmed at parties, but I often do!)
When I first talk to someone on the phone or in a brief email exchange, I start off by asking this:
“What is your current relationship with your dreams?”
And within this overarching questions there may be more specific ones:
“How often do you dream? Every night? Many times a night?”
“How well do you remember your dreams?”
“Do you record your dreams? If so, where?”
Sometimes (often, actually) people aren’t able to answer these questions. And that’s actually okay. I’m happy to hear the answers if you have them, and I’m also happy to hear “I don’t know.”
It might be the first time anyone has ever asked you what your relationship is to your dreams. I don’t blame you if you’re stumped at first or whether you use our call to figure it out. It might take a few dreamwork sessions before you know, even.
As with any brand new question, we might need some time to think, consider, or process the question before we answer.
The sad, but true fact is that most people don’t ask us about our dreams. I wish they would. I love talking about my dreams and I’m usually really interested in hearing the dreams of my friends or family.
I might ask you about your life: how good or not your sleep is, how you would characterize your physical and mental health, how active you are, and who you turn to for support. (Family? friend? partner? co-workers? dog?)
If you don’t offer it, I may inquire about what you’re currently struggling with or learning about yourself or moving through.
Often, I find that people are interested in pursuing dreamwork after they’ve already been in psychotherapy or graduated from a personal development course or tried working with a coach. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done any of the above. Sometimes people find their way to dreamwork other ways: through interest in esoteric practices (like witchcraft or mysticism), through alternative medicine, or through religious observation.
I found my way to dreamwork through a love of dreams. From the time I was a little girl I had a sense that my dreams were more than anyone was telling me or teaching me. This hunch was validated through a great young adult book I got a hold of at age 9 called Into the Dream by William Sleator. In a way Sleator, and the characters of his book, were my very first dream teachers. In the book, the characters have dream telepathy, and solve an old mystery about their births when they start meeting up in dreams! It wouldn’t be until years later I would discover nonfiction books about dreams, dreaming, and psi.
Over the years, I have sought out advice or guidance for my dreams, but didn’t realize until well into adulthood that I could actually engage in dreamwork with a guide or a teacher. I didn’t realize dreamwork was a “thing.”
For a few years I silently agonized over how long it took for me to stumble upon dreamwork, but I’ve since come to accept (almost…) that we all arrive at our purpose when we arrive there, and that everything we experience along the way is built-in education that we can then apply to our work.
Sometimes people come to dreamwork because they are frightened: their dreams disturb them and they want some freedom from that fear.
Sometimes people come to dreamwork because they are in pain, grieving a loss or a rejection. They want to know if they might be able to communicate with their lost loved ones in dreams, and they want to understand whether or not that interaction is “real.”
Sometimes people engage with dreamwork temporarily to work through a traumatic incident. Others engage in dreamwork as a regular life-long practice, believing it to be as key to optimal health as exercise and a healthy diet.
If you want to know if dreamwork is right for you, I’m happy to have a short call to ask you some or all of the above questions. Or we can just talk and you can tell me what brought you to dreamwork and what you’re hoping to uncover, feel, or learn about your dreams.