Once upon a dream . . .

So one of my co-workers started this dream group, and it’s turned into the highlight of my summer.  I’ve always had vivid dreams and have sometimes taken a stab at interpreting the dreams that I remember, so when I heard about this dream group, I was hooked.  The woman who runs the group is a depth psychologist (which means she knows a lot about Jungian archetypes and other cool stuff)–check out her website www.tayriaward.com .

Anyway, the dream group has had two meetings so far, and it fascinates me to hear others’ dreams as well as their interpretations of mine.  Listening to others’ dreams, I feel as if I slip into the dream with the dreamer, as if I’m seeing the dream flash before my eyes like a movie.   It’s a powerful experience that Tayria calls entering the dream space, when everyone in the group has the same feeling of being in the dream with the dreamer.  I suppose the dream space could be the great collective unconsciousness that Jung describes. 

The dream group has helped me come to some realizations, about myself, others, and this modern culture we live in.  A few years ago, I started to pursue my masters in clinical psychology.  I dropped out of the program at the end of the first semester for a variety of reasons–illness in the family, beaucoup loans to pay from undergrad without adding more, etc.  However, the main reason I dropped out was because the program and I were not a good fit.   

Modern psychology tries desperately to  be as reputable a science as biology or chemistry, and science is for our society what the Catholic Church was for Europe in the Middle Ages–a seeming explanation for everything that is and will ever be.  This is a great comfort in some ways–it’s nice sometimes to be able to organize everything into neat little boxes and have some expert tell you that the disturbing dream you had last night was only because you ate a bad salad.  Putting things in boxes, organizing your mind as you would a closet, seems to keep life under control.  It’s safe.  Predictable.  And boring beyond belief.    

In the dream group, we’re tapping into a vast sea of ancient archetypes, symbols, and mystery that can’t be put into little boxes.  It can’t be controlled or rationalized away, this intuitive, emotional, spiritual, mysterious part of us, the part that connects us to everyone else and everything else alive on this planet.  It’s called our soul, and it’s what I was missing in that clinical psychology program.

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  1. Yugo Lalla

    August 23rd, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Karen,
    “A Little Course on Dreams” is a great book on the dream study process. Somewhere along the way in my career as a psychotherapist I concluded that the process was an art not a science. The whole striving to emulate the medical model that the profession is caught up in these days (largely because of insurance company rrequirements) is misguided. Any form of human communication is an art. Whatever happened to the idea of the “healing arts?” That made sense. Glad you are benefitting from your dream group. Take care.

  2. Karen

    May 5th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks Yugo–your wisdom is always appreciated, and I’m glad you shared your experience as a therapist. In grad school, it felt like I was the only one who was having rebellious thoughts about the scientific component. However, I’ve met a number of therapists since then who feel as you do about the profession. The most talented therapists I’ve observed are the ones who treat it intuitively, as an art rather than a science.

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