Trainers and therapists would do well to note the chief effects of each of these techniques so that there are appropriate guidelines for evolving the process. Dreamwork process is best grounded in the dream and in the outcomes that emerge for the dreamworker.

We must be aware as much of the results of the dreamworking as of the original dreaming experience, and the life experiences that may have evoked the dream.

Most dreamwork techniques can be self-enacted but when assisted by a skilled dreamworking guide with the support of a committed dream group the process often seems to go deeper. Both approaches to doing the dreamwork have their value. Perhaps the greatest limitation in doing self-initiated dreamwork is that the dreamer is likely to keep the ego viewpoint in control of the dreamwork experience. Yet if the dreamwork experience is powerful enough then the dreamer’s ego may be forced to let go, and this is often scary, for who knows what might happen as the process takes off on its own?

Thus it is that the dreamer is better supported in doing dreamwork by being in a committed group with a skilled leader as guide. The dreamer will usually let go more this way if there is trust in the group and in the leader.

However, leaders who have not been sufficiently through their own dreamworking process will seek to control the dreamer’s dreamworking experience. This often leads to insecurity because the group instinctively recognizes the leader is not in herself. When the leader is not secure and grounded how can others be secure and grounded?

The clearest separation between dreamwork leaders and guides is between those who are truly professional and those who are not.

We call for a sharp distinction in the field of dream sharing and dreamwork between clinically trained professional dreamworkers and all others who lead dream group sharing or teach classes on dreams and dreamwork. This latter group should not take individual clients from their groups and classes, or from the general public. Of course it is impossible to prevent this but at least within our organization we stand on principle that a sharp division should be made between dreamwork therapy and general dream sharing done in a group without a dominant leader.

The public should know that untrained dream group teachers and leaders do cause harm as well as sometimes encourage people in their dream sharing, especially in individual sessions. Even among professionally trained dreamwork things can be dangerous.

All people working with members of the public must be professionally supervised according to the capacities to do so. This can be done by email reports, individual supervision hours, group supervision hours, and evaluation of performance in written and real feedback. All students must be thoroughly evaluated as to their levels of development and professional competence. This is in the best interest of the general public as well as for the professional standards of the program.
It is our position that those not clinically and professionally trained to work in depth with psychological problems should not do individual dreamwork sessions with members of the public.

It is not professional for those who are not clinically trained to work as dreamwork psychotherapists with individuals and their dreams. This means, in our view, that individuals not clinically trained should not be teaching others and offering them certificates and degrees for becoming dreamworkers or any other titles that set them up as able to work with individuals and groups on their dreams.

A note on the dream book writers: because someone has written an interesting and somewhat useful book on dreams is no qualification in our view that this author can also work with people and their dreams in a professional manner, although there are a number of authors who have set themselves up to do dreamwork with both individuals and groups without sufficient professional training and commitment to professional ethics to be able to do so.

by Strephon Kaplan-Williams