NEW TRENDS IN DREAMWORK, PART II

by Richard Wilkerson

Summary:

In Part I, the benefits of taking dreams seriously were discussed. The article covered how dreams have moved out of the therapist's office and into the culture at large. Both guidelines for safe dreamwork and suggestions of different styles and techniques were offered. In Part II, both group dreamwork and dreamwork on the Internet are discussed and a simple process is offered.

Group Dreamwork. Similar guidelines apply to groups as well as individual dreamwork. A moderator may help facilitate the process, but the individual whose dream is being discussed is still in control of the process and the final arbitrator of the dream's meaning and value. Preliminary research has indicated that face-to-face dreamwork tends to focus on the emotions of the moment, while Internet groups provide more reflective insight.

Starting a Group on & off the Internet. Offline groups can be started via local dream networks, churches, newspaper ads, and posting notices on neighborhood public bulletin board, or by using Internet Usenet Newsgroups,dream related magazines, and Web sites with bulletin boards. However, these groups generally have to draw on interested persons in your locale or city. For those who live in suburban or rural areas, it is often hard to gather enough people to have a group. One solution is to use the Internet for the dream group. These groups can be conducted via e-mail and include participants from around the world.

Starting & running an e-mail Dream Group. The first step is to post a request for participants and leave an e-mail contact address. Posts for participants can be left on Usenet newsgroups, relevant mail lists, electronic magazines (e-zines) on dreaming and bulletin boards set up for this purpose on the World Wide Web. After gathering the group you can discuss and decide how the group will work, for how long, and whether or not there will be a group leader. The role of the group leader is to moderate and move the group along from one phase to the next, not to be the authority on the meaning of a dream.

The moderator may also function as host and create closure and make decisions on the technical problems that arise using the Internet. The e-mail group is held together by each member always sending all mail to everyone else in the group, even when it appears to be a personal question or reply. This is done simply by always putting the full list of e-mail addresses in the CC: column of the message. Finally, the process for doing the dreamwork is decided upon. A typical process includes:

Working with dreams with others has been found not only to improve relationships with friends, lovers, partners, parents, and children, but also to build community, intimacy, and thereby to have an impact on society as a whole.

Psychologically speaking, we can talk about how dream imagery suggests new paths and how creative responses build supportive platforms from which the dreamer may be offered more vital and relevant images to engage the the world and understand him/herself. But more deeply speaking, we are really talking about potential self-empowerment though a vehicle that occurs to each and every one of us every night. This ability to access and initiate our inner resources is egalitarian, democratic, and freely available to everyone. Dreams truly are our friends.

5/28/98

 

Richard Wilkerson is general editor for The Internet Dream E-zine, Electric Dreams, and director of DreamGate, the Internet Communications and Dream Education Center. He writes the Cyberphile column for the Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter.

 

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