“This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you do not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known.” ~Marion Woodman
What is Somatic Dreamwork?
Somatics: The word somatic means relating to the body. We live in a world where we are often encouraged to be externally aware, but we're not always asked to sense into our own own body, a process called proprioception. While traditional talk-therapy relies on the verbal content of what the client shares, somatic approaches view bodily experiences as equally important and treat the felt-sense as a doorway to deeper self-awareness and, ultimately, improved wellbeing.
Dreamwork: Dreamwork is a broad term used to describe the exploration and integration of dream material. While dreamwork can be used as a self-help tool, I work with dreams as a gateway for deepening the process of therapy to resolve "stuckness" in life. The dreamer's intentions may vary, from wanting to find solutions to life difficulties, to increasing self-awareness, to improving mental health. The meaning of a dream is always unique to the dreamer, and each dream often holds many layers for exploration and discovery.
Dreams are powerful because they are able to take us deeper beyond cultural norms and internal defences that keep us from seeing certain truths. Dreams are honest. They speak to aspects of our life situations or of our current behaviours that are otherwise kept hidden, even from ourselves.
They can also be one of the safest ways to work with trauma. For example, according to Spoormaker & van den Bout (2006) lucid dreaming has been shown to effectively treat nightmares because of the the way one can make choice within the dream which empowers people to take action where they may have otherwise been stuck in a pattern of fight, flight, freeze (or please). We will work together with various places within the dream to gently inquire where there might be a different way forward. The results of dream research may be surprising to some - current research into dreams and therapy indicate the effectiveness of this work for healing symptoms of trauma, complicated grief and PTSD.
My Approach: Dreams are creative works so they can provide us with fresh perspectives. Yet, we may lose the sense of energy in them if we simply attempt to analyze them from our linear left-brain thinking. Dreams are alive within us so I find dreamwork is most powerful when it is approached with curiousity towards body-feelings.
Somatic Dreamwork is birthed from my own personal therapy experience with a Jungian-oriented therapist, Ana Mozol, various dream interpretation workshops & mindfulness meditation retreats, my current training in Focusing-oriented Therapy and 20 years of paying attention to and recording my personal dreams.