Enhance your imagination as a legitimate and valuable way of knowing and being.
An imaginal approach to dreamwork emphasizes that, in the night theater of soul, we are truly stuff that dreams are made of. A key question for dreamwork is then: How does one work with dreams in the day theater of one’s own life or therapy room? This course explores replies to this question.
What you will receive
4 Video & 4 Audio recordings
Handout ‘The 9 steps of Imaginal DreamWork’
Access to your own Jung Platform account where all the content you've purchased will be stored.
What do dreams mean? How to work with dreams? This course explores an Imaginal approach to dreamwork.
An Imaginal approach to dreamwork does not replace methods of dream interpretation. It is, however, the first step in working with a dream. Letting the body guide the dreamer into the dream, the work of interpretation that follows amplifies the dreamer’s sense of the dream. It also deepens insight into a living, felt sense of the dream as another world in which a dreamer can audition as it were to play the many possible characters encountered in that far country of the dream.
Robert Romanyshyn had the idea for Imaginal dreamwork in the late 1980s, when he had a number of actors and theater folk in his therapy practice. As he worked with them, he wondered if how an actor gets into character and then embodies a story might be a way to work with dream images and their story. During the 1990s he explored that possibility and developed this imaginal approach to dreamwork.
In this series of four classes he shows how this Imaginal approach draws on the traditions of Jung’s psychology and existential-phenomenology. From the side of Jung, an Imaginal approach regards the dream world as another country (underworld, other world, subtle world) whose landscapes, figures and language are as real even as they are different from the landscapes, persons and language of waking life.
From the side of existential-phenomenology, an Imaginal approach regards the dreamworld as a nightly education inviting the dreamer to try on, like an actor gets into character, a new body of understanding through embodied enactment of the dream figures. This approach opens a space for the dream to make sense of the dreamer before he/she makes sense of it.
The classes are available now.
This course is ideal if
- You have already done some dreamwork and have explored different ways of working dreams.
- You want to experience and understand the role of the body in dreamwork.
- Learn how attending to the mood of the dream can be a bridge between the unconscious world of the dream and conscious world of waking life.
- Be able to deepen and enrich your waking life by attending to the dream as offering possibilities to be imagined.
- Recognize the value of symbolic thinking as a thread between the spirit of the times and the spirit of the depths.
Class 1. Preparing to Dream
Dreams belong to a range of experiences including fantasies, memories, images, and even symptoms which come to us unbidden. Insofar as depth psychology begins with the dream, it begins with the embodiment of psyche. To enter the foreign world of the dream, the dreamer has to cross a threshold into the night theater of soul. Preparing for that crossing: the dreamer has to close his or her eyes, lie down in the dark and wait for the god, Morpheus, to come. We will discuss the figure of Morpheus, the myths and mysteries of the threshold and the consequences of surrendering the waking world of the upright posture as a condition for dreaming.
Class 2. The Grammar and Mood of the Dream
Beginning with the dream as the royal road into the unconscious, psychoanalysis is an education into how one speaks about what one sees in its dark light and a guidebook for how one crosses the threshold from the dream world back into the world of waking life. An imaginal approach to dream work differs from psychoanalysis in four ways:
- As a disguised expression of a repressed wish, an imaginal approach regards the dream not as the guardian of sleep but as a command to wake up to the possibilities carried by a wish.
- As a command to wake up, the dream addresses the dreamer in terms of the imperative mood: Pay attention!
- As an expression of a wish, the dream speaks to the dreamer in terms of its subjunctive mood: What might be and not what is!
- To carry the mood of the dream as a possibility of possibility back across the threshold into waking life, the first move of an imaginal approach is to suspend interpretation, the indicative mood that would make sense of the dream by translating it.
Rituals for this first move are discussed as practical steps that allow the dream to make sense of the dreamer and build the dream into the body.
Class 3. Dream Enactment
An imaginal approach to dream work continues the process of waking up to the dream with a detailed description of a series of practices designed to embody the dream and enact it.
Like the person of the actor embodies a character, an imaginal approach invites the person of the dreamer to embody the figures displayed in the dream. Enacting the figures, a dreamer becomes the dream before interpreting it. Traditional modes of interpretation and amplification follow this work of embodying and enacting a dream, which remains the touchstone for the sense of the dream and its place in waking life.
Class 4. Final Class: Cautions, Consequences, Conclusions
An imaginal approach to dream work requires the ability to distinguish between identification and imitation and several ways to cultivate that distinction are discussed. It also requires the ability to hold in suspension the position of the conscious ego as critic even as one maintains the ego’s conscious role as witness to the unfolding of the process. Two major consequences of the imaginal approach to dream work are a transformed sense of psychological identity and a heightened awareness of the poetic realism of Nature, the subtle displays of Nature’s animation.
These two consequences suggest that dreams are vital for the work of healing our broken bonds with the natural world when and if we take up dream work in the right mood of attending to its ‘what if’ possibilities to be tried out in place of fixing its meanings.
Indeed, an imaginal approach to dream work inverts the relation between the dream and the dreamer: From ‘I’ had a dream last night to ‘I’ was dreamed last night, or ’It’ dreamed me!
By the end of this course you will
- Be able to bring to the issues of the day the wisdom of the dream.
- Specifically have a greater appreciation of the necessity to make a place for dreams in relation to climate crises alongside political, economic, scientific and technological approaches.
- Learn to appreciate the place and value of the image in literature, film and other media.
- Enhance the capacity of the imagination as a legitimate and valuable way of knowing and being.
We here at Jung Platform want to make these programs available to anyone. If you would love to participate yet can’t pay for the full course, then please send us an email at [email protected] and describe why you feel you qualify for a scholarship, how much you can pay, and what you will do to help the Jung Platform promote this and other programs.
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