Trans4mind Home Page
~ A Journey of Self-Discovery ~


Jump to the following topics:

  1. What is dreamwork?  
  2. Dreamwork is a direct involvement in our dreams.  
  3. The intellect has limitations in working with dreams. 
  4. Techniques of dreamwork.  

What is dreamwork? "Dreamwork" is a dynamic approach to dreams, in contrast to the intellectual technique of interpretation. In dreamwork, we confront the emotions and psychological energies of a dream -- and then we can resolve and integrate those psychological dynamics without needing to know what the dream "means."

Dreamwork is a direct involvement in our dreams. In contrast, interpretation requires that we translate the dream into intellectual knowledge and then we search for a way to translate that knowledge into action -- but dreamwork takes us straight from dream to action. This action might include an artistic portrayal of the feelings, or a wakeful deed (such as a career decision) which is suggested by a dream. Even if the dream doesn't propose a specific action, we come to understand its message more thoroughly by performing dreamwork -- although this "understanding" might be on a level which is more intuitive than intellectual (and therefore more likely to resolve the emotional thrust of the dream).

The intellect has limitations in working with dreams. When we use the intellect (in dream interpretation), we might not be using the best tool for working with dreams.

  1. The intellect relies on the detailed recall of an entire story-line in order to make sense of the interactions of characters in the plot; dreamwork can proceed from a single image or merely a feeling, so we can process a dream even if we don't remember all of it.
  2. The intellect attempts to use left-hemisphere logic to translate right-hemisphere dream scenarios into words (and we can't ascertain how much value is "lost in the translation"); dreamwork uses the right hemisphere, so we are working in the same realm as that of dreams.
  3. The intellect is frequently satisfied with "understanding" a dream without acting on it to resolve the emotional discord; dreamwork is acting on it.

Techniques of dreamwork.

  1. We can express dream images and feelings through such activities as visual arts (painting, mandalas, sculpture, photography, collages, or drawing with pencils, crayons, chalk, or ink), writing (poetry, music, stories, spontaneous prose), crafts (embroidery, weaving), drama (alone or with other people to portray additional dream characters -- as explained below), dancing (or simple body movements), symbolic rituals and ceremonies (in which we use physical representations of the dream-symbols to express our feelings toward them), and "active imagination" (which is described elsewhere in this book). Test these various media to discover the ones in which you feel most articulate (not necessarily the most talented or skilled), and be willing to match a certain dream to a particular medium.
  2. We can use dream drama. In a wakeful dream drama, other people play the roles of the characters who appeared in a dream. We start by reading the entire dream (or just a part which we want to explore), including the dialogue, setting, and emotional content. The actors then put on costumes or masks which express the character they are portraying -- and they play out the dream, repeating the dialogue emotionally (and perhaps improvising as they develop their character and its feelings). The original dreamer can change the plot as it progresses, in accordance with any new feelings or insights which occur. If the actors seem to be genuinely sensing their roles (and not merely rendering their characters superficially), the original dreamer them, "What do you represent?" or "Why are you in my dream?" At the end of the drama, the actors will describe the emotions which they felt when they played the role; these explanations might help everyone to understand the dream (and its characters) more profoundly. The dreamer, too, can share any new ideas which arose as a result of the enactment.
  3. We can use these guidelines for dreamwork.
    • Don't be concerned with the "artistic" quality of your dreamwork. The purpose is to express and contemplate a dream, not to create a masterpiece, or to impress other people. However, some prominent artists (painters, musicians, writers, etc.) have incorporated elements from dreams directly into their work. For example, William Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, said, "A good part of my material comes from dreams. A lot of it is straight transcription from dreams with some amplification."
    • Don't be analytical. Because this is a right-hemisphere exercise, disregard the left hemisphere's appraisals, judgments, censorings, and system of logic. Instead, indulge your spontaneity, playfulness, passions, freedom -- and a desire to regenerate the state of mind which you experienced during the dream.
    • The images don't have to be exact duplications of the dream images. Start with the general topic and emotion of the dream, and allow your artwork to evolve, without trying to maintain a specific focus. As the dreamwork creation develops, it might bring in other images and feelings (including those which we are feeling during this wakeful state). As we re-live the dream, new images might emerge if we remember more of the dream, or if the plot becomes altered, or if it goes beyond the point at which we woke up. Accept these revisions and add them to your dreamwork; if they arise spontaneously, they are as valid as the original dream. If our dream was a nightmare (or otherwise unfavorable), we might change it intentionally -- perhaps by drawing the monster, and then putting a beautiful golden color around it, and then drawing it again to see whether it has gained a friendlier appearance.
    • Examine another character's viewpoint. Let it tell the story from that perspective, and use those images and feelings in your dreamwork. Virtually all elements in a dream are representations of the dreamer, so we can work from the standpoint of the main character ("me"), other people, any animals, and important objects (as opposed to mere "props").
    • Attend to your creation. Part of dreamwork is the creative process, but we can gain additional information about the dream by contemplating the resulting artwork: display the drawing (for example) and let your imagination and feelings "study" it to gain more insight. For the purposes of display, we don't have to use our own drawing, for example; we could exhibit a magazine photograph which reminds us of the dream. Let the symbols become a part of your wakeful life until you feel that you are finished with them. Some kinds of artwork can be kept permanently in our dream journal.
    • Dreamwork can be utilitarian, not creative. If a dream suggests that our financially irresponsible lifestyle is causing psychological turmoil, we gain little by indulging an artistic action such as drawing a picture of money. Instead, we might need to make a budget and pay our bills.
    • Know your psychological limitations. Because dreamwork invokes the energies of a dream, it can be disturbing, particularly if we are recalling a nightmare. If the work upsets you, you might want to do it with the guidance of a therapist or friend.

Dreams Contents | Next

Main Contents
Out of the box

Looking for a better life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of holistic personal development, covering the full range of challenges all of us inevitably meet in life. You'll learn valuable life skills and key insights ... so you no longer have to put off or struggle with changes you need to make in order to fulfill your potential. Plus you have the option of personal support from our brilliant team of life coaches. Start off with a Free Life Assessment and a Free Intro Session.

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Sweet Tooth ~ Train your brain to lose your sweet tooth.
  • Finish What You Start ~ Sprint all the way past the finish line.
  • Do It Now ~ A hypnosis audio to trigger deep, emotionally driven activity.
  • Life Priorities ~ Hypnosis can help you clarify what really matters to you.
  • Stop Thinking About Someone ~ A session to help you move on from thoughts that have been constantly pestering you.
  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
I think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2017 Trans4mind Ltd