Letter to my Daughter
You asked me to give you some information on dream counselling.
I have obviously been thinking about what is best to share with you in regard to dream counselling. I have learned so much over the years, and am trawling through it to see what the most important things are. I guess there is a difference between what the world sees as important and what one’s passions move towards.
One of the things that has been etched into my being very deeply is that while I was trying to crawl out of my own depression and sexual misery, I was living on quite a low-wage and helping mum to bring up the five of you. For about 14 of those years I didn’t have any money of my own. It all went towards train fares, and it made me very aware of what it is like to live hand to mouth and not be able to claim much of the world’s goods. So in my own sickness I did not have money to spend on therapists or therapies. What happened to me was that I met some crazy but loving people like Mike Tanner and Sheila Johns who were willing to walk into the unknown with me, and support me in all manner of ways.
The result of this was that all the courses we did were donation work. Of course, when I worked as a therapist one to one with clients I did charge them, but always very little. I no longer work as a teacher or therapist largely because I cannot adapt to the commercial aspects of what happens today. But those people I do work with I tend to ask how much they earn an hour, and for an hour’s work charge them an hour’s pay. So you have to understand that what I will pass on is somewhat coloured by those experiences. Somehow this has worked, and I am reasonably well off despite my apparent unworldliness.
Also my journey started from the point of view of a believer looking for God as my healer. Although this modified over the years, I maintained this relationship with each client, so that in the end we were discovering their spirit as well as their mind, their childhood difficulties as well as their timeless self.
Although I never undertook any training that did not emerge from within my dreams or my LifeStream experiences, I do realise that the world requires this of us but I never took any training, and I was lucky to find spaces in the cracks of the world where I could live. Also I find that what came to me from finding an entrance into the inner world of the unconscious was the fullest training I could have. I still do believe though, that a reasonable disrespect for authority is healthy.
So, to get down to the business:
As with the Jungian psychology, I see it as essential that if we are going to work with people using their dreams, we need to be deeply acquainted with our own dream life. I don’t mean simply interpreting our own dreams or thinking about them. Dreams emerge from a vital and dynamic part of our being. They are not just a “head” experience. To understand them we must occasionally enter their world, full of passions and energies, primitive drives and transcendent visions. We do this by swimming in the dream, as it were. It is a bit like immersing ourselves in the sea, knowing the calm as well as the storms. This is something that takes a while to learn, and it takes trust. I know this sounds naïve, but I have never understood people being afraid of the devil or being possessed if they opened to what was in them. I had surrendered my being to God as fully as I was able, so I didn’t feel there was anything much to fear.
The best dream work we can do is not to interpret another person’s dream for them, but to be a companion while they explore their own inner life through the doorway of their dreams.
This approach not only helps the person, but is also a revelation to us, because it provides us with profound insights into another person’s being. From this we gradually learn the language of dreams, so that in fact we can begin to interpret the persons dream if I they are not able or willing to enter into it themselves.
I have noticed again and again, that where a counsellor has never met their own passions and fears in any degree, they tend to hold back their client from making that journey. They pass on fear to the client, and in most cases it is completely unnecessary. The unconscious is not there to devour us. It is the source of our growth and healing.
Sharing presence — Dad