Meaning

Dreamworking differs from classical dream interpretation in that the aim of dreamwork is to explore the various images and emotions that a dream presents and evokes, while not attempting to come up with a single, unique dream meaning. In this way the dream remains “alive” whereas if it has been assigned a specific meaning, it is “finished”. Dreamworkers take the position that a dream may have a variety of meanings, depending on the levels that are being explored.

A tenet of dreamwork is that each person has his or her own dream language. Any given place, person, object or symbol can differ in its meaning from dreamer to dreamer and also from time to time in the dreamer’s ongoing life situation. Thus someone helping a dreamer get closer to her or his dream through dreamwork adopts an attitude of “not knowing” as far as possible.

When doing dreamwork it is best to wait until all the questions have been asked and the answers carefully listened to before the dreamworker (or dreamworkers if it is done in a group setting) offers any suggestions about what the dream might mean. In fact, it is best if a dreamworker prefaces any interpretation by saying, “if this were my dream, it might mean …”

In this way, dreamers are not obliged to agree with what is said and may use their own judgment in deciding which comments appear valid or provide insight. If the dreamwork is done in a group, there may well be several things that are said by participants that seem valid to the dreamer but it can also happen that nothing does. Appreciation of the validity or insightfulness of a comment from a dreamwork session can come later, sometimes days after the end of the session.

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