Working with Dreams and Images

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This technique was originally developed by Glouberman (1989) and takes for granted that you have memorized a significant dream you have had and now wish to enhance it to allow it the opportunity to be of some function (see also Keeping a Dream Diary). Possible suggestions of you how you may go about this are:

  • Locate the dream and get the feel of any atmosphere. Are you able to put a name to it? Is it familiar? Go into the dream, and experience the atmosphere. Identify feelings, relationships, and the situation. Is there anything familiar about them?
  • Discover the dream taking a ‘birds eye view’ of it, flying high looking down on it, note what you see:
    • Do you notice anything significant?
    • Is there anything obvious you can do to improve the quality of the dream?
    • What would you like to whisper to the dream self?
    • Look at the dream from different angles, i.e. the left, the right, behind, in front, underneath, noticing what comes to mind about the dream and the dream self.
    • Envisage that the dream stage situated centrally in a room and physically walk around it.
  • Developing the images can be achieved by discovering the most striking feature of the dream – person, scene, building, object, event… move into it, either in your mind, or by picturing it on a chair opposite and switching seats. Talk about yourself and your viewpoint, including your view of the dream itself. Transform into each important feature in turn – what does each feel and see? Have conversations between the dream self and any of these features, or between the various features. Every piece of the dream, whether it is a person, a table or a movement, has a communication that you as dreamer need to hear. Talk to the dream as a whole: ‘Dream, what do you want to tell me?’ Become the dream and answer.
  • Combine the viewpoints by returning to the dream as the main dream character. Look intently around at all the characters, features, perspectives, etc. and think about what each have told you. Think about what you have learned from progressing the dream and what you now understand about how you live in the dream world and how you might live? Invite your unconscious to take in and put together these various understandings and perspectives. Take the time to let them sink in. Try to put the lessons in words as clearly as you can.
  • Adaptating and progressing the dream more successfully by visualizing what new approach, attitude or personal quality you need in order to live this dream so as to feel really enhanced at the end of it. Try reliving it with this new approach or personal quality. Should you find it too difficult to imagine acting differently, just say to yourself:
    • If I did have that quality
    • If I were like that, what would I do?
  • If you get stuck anywhere, leave the dream and reconsider whether you need anything else in order to go forward. Try to find a way to live the dream so that it feels good. Continue this reworked dream into the future. What happens next, and after that? Validate out the new approach you have just tried from the various perspectives you explored before. What do the other characters, features, etc. think? What does this new dream look like from the ‘birds eye view’, below and the various sides? If there are any further shifts that seem appropriate, try them out.
  • Understanding, re-examining, looking forward and surfacing occurs when you feel good about the dream, thank your unconscious for giving you the dream, and thank your conscious self for working so hard. Request your unconscious to put together your new understandings, and to present you a new dream in the near future that will characterize your new state. Prior to and following emerging, think about the relevance of your understandings to your life. Where in your life are you relating to the world as you did in the dream? How could you operate differently? Write down your experience, paint the dream or express it in some other medium.