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Going Deeper Into Dreams: What You Need to Know About Dreamwork

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Two people sitting on the sofa talking, books in the background

Dreamwork has long been a part of our culture, but what exactly is it? If you’ve ever been curious about what dreams are and what significance they have in our lives, then this blog post is for you! We’ll be discussing what exactly dreamwork is – its history, theory, approaches, and what it takes to become a dreamworker.

Read on to learn more about what this fascinating practice is all about!

What Is Dreamwork

Dreamwork, an ancient practice used for centuries to explore the deeper meanings of our dreams, is a fundamental aspect of oneirology, the scientific study of dreams. It involves interpreting symbols and metaphors found within our dreams, as well as understanding the unconscious motivations that may be at play.

The aim of dreamwork is to further personal development and growth, allowing us to gain insight into ourselves and our lives on a deeper level. It can also be used to uncover what our subconscious is trying to say and how it can help us make decisions in the present or even predict the future.

While dreamwork is typically done by professionals, it’s important to note that anyone can practice dreamwork with some guidance. A skilled dreamworker will be able to interpret what’s going on and provide support as you explore what lies beneath your dreams.

History of Dreamwork

Dreamwork has been around for centuries. It was first documented by ancient Mesopotamians in clay tablets believed to be written as early as 4000BC. The main idea behind dreamwork was to understand what the gods were speaking to us in our dreams and what action we should take in response. Dreams in Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, and India have all had significant cultural and spiritual significance, and have been studied and interpreted in various ways throughout history.

Dreamwork was still practiced in the Middle Ages and beyond, but it wasn’t until Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung began their research into dream interpretation that modern theories of dreamwork emerged.

Freud believed that dreams were a way of expressing repressed desires and emotions. On the other hand, Jung believed that our dreams contain symbols and metaphors that must be interpreted in order to gain insight into our unconscious motivations. Carl Jung was the first theorist to introduce the concept of the collective unconsciousness, which is what he believed that our dreams are connected with a greater understanding and wisdom than what we could access on our own.

In the last few decades, two major studies on the power of dreamwork have been conducted. The first study was by Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University in 1980. This study looked into what happens during lucid dreaming – a state of awareness while dreaming where you can choose what to do and consciously interact with your dream environment. The results of this study showed that with practice, people can become aware of what’s happening in their dreams and consciously control what happens.

The second study was conducted by Deirdre Barrett at Harvard University in 2002. This study looked into how dreamwork could be used to gain insight into creative problem-solving. The results showed that participants who underwent dreamwork were able to come up with more creative solutions and gain new perspectives on their problems than control groups who did not undergo dreamwork.

Ilustration of Carl Jung and Zigmunt Freud

The Approaches to Dreamwork

Dreamwork is a form of psychoanalysis, which means it relies heavily on the exploration of symbols, metaphors, feelings, and believes found in our dreams in order to understand what they mean and what unconscious motivations may be at play. There are many different approaches to dreamwork, including:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Dreamwork: This approach focuses on exploring the connections between what happens in our dreams and what is happening in our waking life. It allows us to gain insight into what thoughts, feelings, or beliefs may be influencing our decisions and reactions.

2. Gestalt Dreamwork: This approach emphasizes the exploration of emotions and feelings in our dreams. It also encourages us to find what we can take from our dream and how it can apply to what is happening in the present moment.

3. Analytical Dreamwork: This approach looks at what symbols or metaphors appear in our dreams and what they could mean when looked at as a whole. We look for patterns and hidden meanings that may be occurring between what’s happening in our waking life and what’s happening in our dreams.

4. Shamanic Dreamwork: This approach looks at what messages the dream is trying to tell us from a spiritual perspective. It encourages us to pay attention to what messages we are receiving from our higher selves or spirit guides and what action we can take as a result.

5. Dream Re-Entry: This approach focuses on entering back into the dream with a heightened state of awareness after it has ended. By going back in, we can gain further insight into what our unconscious mind is trying to tell us and what action we need to take in order to make changes or progress towards our goals in life.

Who is a Dreamworker?

Dreamworkers are trained professionals who assist in interpreting dream symbols and understanding what's going on within dreams.

Dreamworkers are people who have studied dreams in-depth and understand their meaning and power, even if they are not necessarily mental health professionals. They are trained to help individuals explore what is being communicated within their dreamscapes, how it connects to what is happening in the conscious world, and what action can be taken as a result.

Dreamworkers use a variety of techniques to interpret what’s going on in the dreamer’s subconscious, such as amplifying symbols, exploring what emotions were evoked during the dream, or using active imagination to dive deeper into what the dream is trying to tell us.

Colorful wall with dream written on it

Dreamwork Training

For those who are interested in exploring dreamwork further, there are various courses and workshops available to help deepen your knowledge and understanding of what’s going on within the subconscious mind. These can range from brief introductions to dreamwork all the way up to advanced training for those wanting to become certified dreamworkers themselves.

1. Institute for Dream studies of Justina Lasley: This is a comprehensive dreamwork training program that spans one year. This program covers key topics related to dream analysis, dream group facilitation, and various dream theories. It is a great opportunity for individuals who are looking to get a better understanding of their dreams and facilitate dream groups or workshops.

2. Embodied Experiential Dream Work Certification Program with Leslie Ellis: This program offers in-depth dreamwork training that combines the psychological and spiritual aspects of what dreams can show us. It provides students with the skills to explore their own dreamscapes and interpret what messages their unconscious is sending them, as well as how to work with dreams on a professional level.

3. Dream Analysis Training “The Five Star Method”: This training program provides detailed instruction in dream analysis techniques, including how to properly interpret what is happening within the dream and what action can be taken as a result. It also focuses on helping individuals gain insight into what their unconscious mind may be trying to tell them about what is happening in their waking life.

4. Dreamwork Training at The Haden Institute: This dreamwork training program focuses on helping individuals gain insight into what their dreams have to say about what is going on within the psyche, and how they can use this information to make changes in their daily lives. It offers in-depth instruction on dream interpretation, dream recall, and dreamwork techniques.

5. Robert Moss’ Shamanic Dreaming Course: This training program focuses on using the power of dreams to explore different realities and to understand what our inner wisdom has to say about what is going on in our lives. It offers an opportunity for individuals to tap into their own inner guidance system and gain insight into what action they can take as a result.

The importance of exploring different types of dreams and what they have to say can lead to positive change and self-discovery. Dreamwork sessions are an excellent way to gain insight into what is going on in your life, while dreamwork training programs provide a more comprehensive approach to understanding what your unconscious mind is trying to tell you. If you're interested in what your dreams have to say, then it's worth considering trying dreamwork.

Signature Joanna Kowalewska | Blue Lotus Queendom

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