Dreamers wishing to participate in the process of dream coaching should have several years experience working with own dreams, in groups, with peers or with an individual dreamworker. The ability to understand symbols and identify metaphors is essential.
Process in Groups
The first few weeks will include sharing interpretative approaches so that all dreamers will be able to answer these questions:
- In this dream, what does psyche want from you?
- In this dream, what does psyche want for you?
- Is dream-ego the healthiest part of the dream? (We must be able to determine this major dream element before the above questions can be sufficiently addressed.)
- Are you judging the dream rather than embracing it?
Once this is accomplished, the coaching process begins. Each group creates its individual format and procedure. Specific instructions for participation (avoiding destructive or futile styles of communication such as engaging in the common game of “Yes, but…” or launching into stories that deflect the energy of the group and the dreamer.
Here is a simple definition of the coaching process:
A primary coaching notion is that accomplishing both long and short-term goals is a great deal more probable and less complex with a trained, experienced and knowledgeable partner/ally. In part, a Coach’s responsibility is to discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve. This is accomplished, in part, by encouraging the client’s self-discovery, eliciting client-generated solutions and strategies and by holding the client responsible and accountable. Is this model applicable to dream work, an essentially ephemeral, vague, slowly unfolding, often paradoxical and frequently confusing process? Here are some reasons I’m convinced that it is.
Why Move Dreamwork into Coaching?
Serious dreamers trust the dream to uncover and clarify the changes that are needed to move closer to wholeness, to living a truly authentic life, to individuate. Healing past wounds that have left gaping holes in both soul and personality is a major element of this transformational work. Parallel to that are the dreams that unfold the future self: the attitudes, self-concept and behaviors that create the consciously chosen life. Shadow elements of the personality are presented in dreams that contain unsavory, threatening or abandoned dream-characters. Using some conscious coaching processes creates opportunities to more quickly integrate and transform the shadow energy into a constructive force.
In addition, I have found that clients are often more resistant to recognizing and owning their Golden Shadow than their dark side. The myriad blocks to integrating and utilizing the best of our selves (often represented by archetypal characters) is a major focus of coaching.
Ann Conrad Lammers writes: “Ethical life…requires conscious engagement of the ego with the events that meet it—inner or outer. Dreams provide raw material for the ego to confront and assimilate; but confronting their imagery does not automatically create wholeness.” Psyche can confront but, if we wish to appreciably transform, we must not only assimilate but also commit to conscious alteration. Without this, we usually see the repetition of problematic dreams and difficult awake life experiences. Nor do we experience the conscious unfolding of the very best that psyche wants from us and for us.
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