Depth psychology deals with what lies beneath the surface, things that at first glance would not be seen or intuited; it deals with the hidden and subterranean undercurrents of unconscious contents and complexes that have profound and enduring effects on individual personalities and their relations.

It was Jung’s belief that the only thing one takes with one at the time of death, the only thing eternal and therefore worthy of pursuit, is consciousness, and the only way to gain consciousness is to enter into the murky depths of the unconscious. To enter into these depths is to enter into the dream world.

Dreams have a language all their own. In this course, the language of dreams will be explored through the lenses of Freudian, Jungian, and archetypal theory. The course is designed for participants to develop a relationship with the dream images and to deepen their connection to the unconscious.

All night the dark buds of dreams open richly.
— Mary Oliver
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This course is designed both for clinicians interested in working with dreams in their practice and for all individuals with an interest in studying their own dreams. It will benefit people just beginning to work with dreams, as well as more advanced practitioners. Some of the later modules touch on extremely advanced dreamwork theory and technique. For individuals just starting dreamwork, exposure to these advanced levels can plant important seeds that allow for a deeper understanding of what is happening when these levels of dreaming are encountered, which can happen at any point in the process. Dreamwork is deeply unique to each individual.

In the first section

Participants will gain an understanding of the basics of depth psychological dream theory, with a focus on the concepts of wish fulfillment, repression, association, compensation, finality, shadow and amplification.

In the mid-section

We will go deeper into the praxis of dreamwork, with a focus on the connection between trauma and dreams as well as the concepts of active imagination, alchemy and ritual.

In the Final Section

Lastly, the dream will be explored in relation to the mythology of the underworld and the mythologem of descent, based on the work of James Hillman. Other themes covered in this last section include the autonomous nature of dream figures and embodied dreaming. 

The theories touched on in the course include those espoused by Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Stephen Aizenstat, Marion Woodman, James Hillman and Robert Bosnak. There is a special focus on developing compassion and tolerance for the very different perspectives that dream images offer as a way of embracing greater degrees of diversity within and without.

Course Objectives

  1. Develop an understanding of association and the amplification of dream images through practical application of these techniques to personal dream material.

  2. Strengthen the connection to the unconscious by maintaining a dream journal throughout the course.

  3. Introduction to an understanding of Jungian concepts of dream theory.

  4. Introduction to an understanding of the four stages of active imagination through applying the technique to a personal dream.

  5. Reflect on the dream through the mythological lens of the underworld and the mythologem of descent.

  6. Gain an understanding of the various barriers to dreamwork and consider ways to protect the dream from the ego’s control.

  7. Gain an understanding of how trauma, personal and collective, affects dreams.

  8. Introduction to the concept of embodying the dream image and to the autonomous nature of dream figures.

  9. Demonstrate compassion and tolerance for the diversity and different perspectives that the dream world offers.