Goals of the course
This course has two primary goals– first, to help participants develop deeper and fuller access to their own personal dream lives; and second, to train participants to become dreamworkers. Aiming for the second goal is not advisable without having made some headway towards the first. In the end, for some, accomplishing the first goal may be enough. If you are truly interested in dreams I would advise you to keep the door to both goals open at first, since the world is very much in need of skilled dreamworkers right now.
What is a dreamworker?
A dreamworker is a person who can consistently help other people get more insight and meaning from their dreams. In my experience the best dreamworkers do not interpret or analyze too much, they primarily facilitate. They help set up conditions in which the dreamer is more likely to have a valuable insight.
How does the course work?
The course consists of a series of 15 modules, each of which covers a particular aspect of dreamworking. Each module has two sections– readings and experiential dreamwork.
When you purchase a module you will receive your course materials from me by email, typically 10-12 pages in length. This is your core material for that module. It will be supported by related recommended readings and activities that have been chosen to give key background for that subject area.
Once you have completed the readings you move on to the experiential dreamwork section. In this part you will be working with a real dream, either your own or that of a subject who has agreed to share a dream with you, and have you use it for this purpose. You then discuss all the key learning points of the module in relation to this dream. At this point you can either submit your work to me in writing by email and receive my written feedback, or you can book a one- hour Skype, phone, or in-office session to discuss your work with me.
How long does the course take?
You are free to work at your own pace depending on your individual working style. There are 15 modules in all. If you are relatively new to the RERI method I recommend doing the first 4 foundational modules in order, to establish a solid base of theory and terminology. After that you can explore the remaining 11 modules in any sequence you wish. At the end of the 15 modules, if you have completed all the work, you will receive a Certificate of Completion.
Can I pick and choose individual modules?
Yes, if you see a certain module that you are particularly interested in, you can just order that single module. If you are interested in completing the course and receiving the dreamworker certification however, you must complete all 15 modules.
What dreamworking methods will be used in the course?
The core method that you will learn and practice throughout this course is my (Christopher Sowton’s) Re-enter and Re-imagine (RERI) method. This name is simply descriptive–you can re-enter the dream and re-imagine a different outcome happening. This method is the subject of Module 3 and will be described there in detail. Other methods will be discussed and referred to and may be used in the experiential dreamwork section alongside or in comparison to the core method. The RERI method has the following characteristics:
- It is non-analytical (you do not need to analyze or interpret the dream).
- It is client-led (or dreamer-led).
- It is more direct and usually takes less time than other methods
- It involves re-entering the dreamscape while awake
The RERI method involves working from within the dream, rather than trying to understand the dream from the outside. The central question is not what does the dream mean? but rather what is the dream asking for? We attempt to discover what the dream is asking for by re-entering it and exploring different possible outcomes until we find one that feels right. We then visualize this outcome happening, thus initiating a transformation even before we fully understand what the dream means or how it may connect to our waking life. A sense of insight, connection, and meaning typically arises spontaneously and naturally once the imaginal transformation is underway.
What materials are required for the course?
The main resource you will need for this course is my recent book– Dreamworking–How to Listen to the Inner Guidance of Your Dreams. This book, published by Llewellyn, is a required accompaniment for the course, as frequent references will be made to specific subject areas in the book (it is referred to as ‘the textbook’ throughout the Modules). For more information on the book go here.
In addition to the textbook numerous other recommended materials (books, articles, films, websites, online videos, etc.) will be referenced, quoted and discussed.
What is the cost of the course?
Each module costs $200. This includes the course materials for that module that you will receive by email. It also includes the personal feedback on your dreamwork assignment for that module, whether you choose to receive this feedback in written form via email or through a one-hour session with me via Skype, phone, or in person in my office here in Toronto. You may use this one hour of personal contact to get feedback on any topic you wish related to the module you are working on. Most often we would be discussing the dream you chose to work on, perhaps re-entering together, and exploring further possibilities for moving the dream forward. But any other questions and issues you may be wanting to discuss can also be put on the agenda.
Module 1: How Do You Relate to Your Own Dream Life?
You will examine your current relationship with your own dream life: is it limited or held back by anything? How would you like it to develop and grow? Topics covered include:
- the nature of the dream-making function
- the practical value of doing dreamwork
- limiting mindsets about dreams
- problems with remembering and anchoring dreams
- three separate aspects of dream recall
Module 2: How to Get a Clear and Complete Account of the Dream
The goal of this module is to develop your proficiency in clarifying the dream– getting a clear and complete account of the dream so that you can start to work on it. Topics include:
- the SEFA guideline (setting, events, feelings, associations)
- how to determine when the dream setting is important and why
- how to construct a connection set-up using the feelings
- a technique for gathering associations.
Module 3: Re-enter and Re-imagine–The Core Technique
In this module you will move to the heart of our dreamworking method– re-entering the dreamscape and transforming it from within. Topics include:
- four reasons to re-enter a dream
- the relationship between re-entry dreamwork and lucid dreaming
- how to keep the focus on transformation rather than interpretation
- how to engage the problem-solving power of the imagination
- choosing a re-entry point
- overview of the RERI method with facilitation questions and phrases
- the importance of not denying the problem depicted by the dream
- the importance of staying within the dreamscape while you work
Module 4: The Language of Dreams
This module focuses on 5 essential elements of dream language to help establish the backdrop of familiarity needed to work effectively with dreams. Topics include:
- defining a dream
- how to translate from ‘dreamish’ into plain language
- the use of figures to play parts
- the use of metaphor
- the use of feelings and emotions that connect to our waking lives
- the use of exaggeration and urgency
- the use of figures of speech.
Module 5: Limiting Field Dreams– Snapshots of Stuckness
Now you begin exploring common dream motifs. First up: the Limiting Field motifs, motifs that depict our limiting mindsets and circumstances. Topics include:
- how to recognize a limiting field dream
- responding to a field dream by finding a way out
- the brain field
- the family field
- the relationship field
- the social field
Module 6: Shadow Dreams–A Part of You is Knocking at the Door
We return to motifs in this module, exploring the dream motifs that arise from the shadow, the true parts of self that are repressed, disowned, or newly emerging. Topics include:
- understanding our shadow dreams psychodynamically
- common variants of the shadow dream
- how the shadow figure becomes more positive when encountered
- response strategies for shadow dreams
- asking for help when working with frightening dreams
Module 7: Ego Check Dreams
You will explore one of the most critical functions of dreams–the feedback function. Topics include:
- why we need ego check dreams
- driving difficulty dreams
- dreams of killing small defenseless creatures
- health warning dreams
- dreams for the overly self-critical ego
- how should we respond to our ego check dreams?
Module 8: When the Core Technique Doesn’t Work– Back-up Techniques
What if the re-enter and re-explore technique bogs down or runs into a block? In this module you will learn how to navigate through these moments using one of the back-up techniques. Topics include:
- the be the part technique
- using a connection set-up
- asking the inner or outer question
- asking the good thing or bad thing question
- asking the dynamic/ stuck question
- other strategies you can try
- re-entering the dream once you feel oriented
- what to do when there is no dream material to work with
Module 9: Dreams of the Personal Spirit
You will explore dreams that arise from trauma and its after-effects. Topics include:
- what happens when we are traumatized?
- how to recognize a personal spirit dream
- focusing our re-entry on reconnection
- what if the reconnection is blocked by something?
- the universal motif of the orphan
- transpersonal dreams–dreaming for others and for the world
Module 10: Responding to Your Dreams
You will learn about the art of responding to your dreams– imaginally, ritually, and actually. Topics include:
- allowing the response to arise organically from the dreamwork
- keeping the response in alignment with what the dream is asking for
- can we respond if we haven’t fully connected the dream?
- reinforcing the response by rehearsing the outcome with self-guided imagery
- the progression from imaging to enacting to actualizing
Module 11: Frightening Figures in Dreams– Good, Bad, and Dangerous
In this module you delve into one of the most complex and critically important facets of dreamworking– how to differentiate and work with the many kinds of frightening figures that appear in dreams. Topics include:
- the big bad 8–an overview of fearsome dream figures
- how to distinguish between shadow figures, ego check figures, external figures, introject figures, brain field figures, rogue self-care system figures, disease figures, and sleep paralysis figures
- the importance of holding back your response until you know what kind of figure you’re dealing with
- working with children’s nightmares
- working with PTSD nightmares
Module 12: Introjects in Dreams– Something Inside You That Shouldn’t Be
This module puts the spotlight on dreams that arise when we are trying to rid ourselves of old negative belief systems that have been living inside us. Topics include:
- the psychology of introjection
- how to recognize an introject dream motif
- the 4 phases of introjection– threatening, inside, trying to expel, and expelled
- guidelines for responding to introject dreams
Module 13: The Waking Body and the Dreambody
You will examine the differences between your physical body and your dreambody (your body as it is within a dream). Topics include:
- the dreambody’s desire to be free of constraints
- flying dreams
- starting, falling and crashing dreams
- erotic dreams
- amazing ability dreams
- dream input from your physical body
- the phenomenon of sleep paralysis
Module 14: Dreams of New Beginnings
This module explores the huge variety of dream motifs that arise from the energy of birth, rebirth, and creation. Topics include:
- the dream template of rebirth
- recognizing distinctive features of a rebirth motif
- identifying blocks and working with rebirth dreams
- how early traumatic experiences appear in dreams
Module 15: Becoming a Dreamworker
In this module you turn your attention to a possible future career as a dreamworker. Topics include:
- do you want to be a dreamworker?
- different ways to be a dreamworker
- common fears and worries about working with dreams
- what background knowledge do I need to be an effective dreamworker?
- ethical concerns in dreamwork
- dreams about dreamworking
- taking the next step