|When we share our dreams with another person or in a dream group, we are sharing a very deeply personal and sensitive part of our being. In order to feel safe in doing so, it is best to have ground rules or ethics that are agreed upon by those involved. Here are some basic ethics:
First and foremost, confidentiality. It is best to request and agree that any dreamsharing dialogue among individuals will be contained within those relationships.... right up front/in the beginning. Confidentiality is prerequisite to developing trust.... and trust is a necessary ingredient in experiencing quality dreamsharing;
Secondly, No one in a dreamsharing relationship should feel pressured to share a dream. It takes some individuals time before they feel safe to share.... and that’s OK. When a dream is shared, the dreamer is in charge of the process and maintains the power to comment if they’re feeling uncomfortable and/or wants to stop the process at any time. When the dreamer allows questions from the group, they are to feel completely comfortable if they choose not to answer.
Listening with full attention and respect for the dreamer and the dream is about the most important skill we need to develop in any dreamsharing relationship. It takes courage to do this work and listening attentively conveys a message to the dreamer of our respect for their courage in being willing to share.
When asking questions of the dreamer, let them be open-ended, not probing or intrusive. We’re not attempting to be therapists here! To quote an extraordinary dream pioneer, Montague Ullman, "....no one in the group is to assume the role of therapy.
Put another way, the only therapist in the room is the dream itself." An example of an open-ended question is: "How did that (person or event in the dream) make you feel?" not, "Did you feel angry?" or "Is that what your father used to do to you?" Work on developing skills at open-ended questions, which allows the dreamer to make their own associations and connections. Open ended questions are one of the key ingredients in dreamsharing that can help a dreamer to get an AHA! of meaning from the dream. One well respected dreamworker suggests you tell the dreamer you are from a different planet when asking questions about events, persons, symbols in a dream. That way the dreamer has to work to give a full description and definition of any given part of the dream. A good suggestion.
When a new discovery is made by the dreamer.... try and build on the connections they make in an open-ended way, as well. This is one of the places where the genuine excitement in dreamwork is to be found!
Remember, no one will ever fully get it! -- or understand -- the meaning or layers of meaning -- of their dream.... but the dreamer. It is important to restrain ourselves from telling someone what their dream means. As stated earlier, the best place in the dreamsharing process for making statements regarding your feelings and thoughts about any given dream is after asking the dreamer’s permission for you -- or the group -- to comment on the dream. Each comment made is best prefaced by a statement like: "If it were my dream..... "
Lastly, throughout the dreamsharing process, the dreamer is to be fully aware that 1) they are in charge of the process and can choose to discontinue at any time and 2) any comments made by you or members of the group are purely projections.
These are a few of the basic ethics or ground rules most dream groups choose to adopt. You will develop and add your own, as you evolve your own dreamsharing associates.
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