Experiential Dreamwork

I work with dreams frequently.

There is much I can say about dreams but simply dreams serve to practice new ways of acting and behaving, emotional processing, and memory formation.

Contrary to the common myth that dreams need interpretation, dreams tend to interpret themselves, or more accurately: reveal their meaning, when they are looked into and worked with directly in the ways that I have learned to work with them.

Dreams can be re-entered in waking life. This has been practiced by Jungian therapists for a century.

I have learned to take this a step further and involve the use of the body, emotions, and action. And to assist the client in working with the imagery and learning from it directly.

For example, I may help a client struggling with addiction to enter a “drug dream” or using dream where this person went about their ritual and was about to relapse but woke up. In a way this is the psyche wrestling with their new stage of sobriety and it’s ensuing struggles. I would assist the client in exploring not using or throwing away the paraphernalia.

Or a client with a history of abuse may have a reoccurring dream of a person or thing after them. They can bring this dream back to the here-and-now of the session. I will techniques such as bring my voice into the waking dream or an imagined person of whom they may feel safe and protected to be able to stand up to this haunting thing or person and it may powerfully reveal what it’s about.

There are many ways to work with dreams in a session other than interpreting them.

What is powerful about dream work in this way is that it can help the therapy process to get unstuck. Many times dreams go deeper to what is needed to change than even the deepest conscious work can touch on.

For more on dreamwork in a self-help way:

Let Your Body Interpret Your Dreams

Jungian Dreamwork

IT’s Not Always Depression: A must read book on transformation focused psychotherapy!

I want to share that the second self-help book based off of Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy has just been released.

Some reviewers have given this book an unnecessarily negative review on this book because they were looking for a book that is more depression specific. The title means that depression among other “disorders” many times are really symptoms of a difficulty with authentic relating to oneself and how to get to the bottom of many of these problems and disorders to change.

I truly wish my clients and many people in the world can have the great knowledge and practices contained in this brilliant and practical work transmitted to them.

Here is the link to the book for sale and I also want to second the former self-help book based off of this approach to experiential psychotherapy:

It’s Not Always Depression

Living Like You Mean It

Time Frame for Therapy

Everyone is different with vastly different personalities and struggles to work with that there are no cut and dry time frames for good therapy to be transformative.

That said, for the majority of clients that I work with, it takes about 1-6 sessions before knowing that this approach is right for them. That they can experience that visceral “feel” of change beginning. I tell many clients to give a therapist the benefit of the doubt  for at least a month. But within 6-10 sessions, a client should be able to sense if this work is going somewhere. That change will occur with this therapist and this approach.

My main approach: AEDP, had grown out of a brief therapy approach in the 1980’s and 1990’s but grew well beyond brief therapy. It now provides an extremely flexible time frame for change.

I have seen cases of life long issues dissolve in the first or second half of a session. Sometimes right from the start, much more often it takes weeks to months for that to occur.

Although I work towards change as quickly as possible, quick change is not always possible. Some people have traumas and struggles that require a more long term approach.

Although numbers are artificial, about two years is a relative maximum time frame. That is a whole lot of therapy in any case. If no change occurs within 6 months to a year with the client’s engagement in the work, something would be very much missing and a new approach, angle, or therapy would be required.