Host: Good morning, this is Kentyn and we’re back in the studio today with Nicoline Douwes Isema. Good morning again, Nicoline.
Nicoline: Good morning.
Host: In our previous interview Nicoline and I discussed her, the overview of her work, but I’d like to go into some details, and Nicoline, could you, some examples of your work maybe a little of the process so we dive a little deeper into it.
Nicoline: Well I can tell you, the way I work with dreams, first and foremost, I'm a counselor, but I'm not a psychologist. So whenever people have a psychology problem I refer them to some of my wonderful colleagues. What I deal with is mostly people who come up to me and say, “Okay, I wanna get more creatively out of my dreams”, or, “I have a dream, and I don’t know what to do with it.” And the second part, that’s of course the fun part, so let me give you an example. I have to focus points are what I really pay attention to, and when I give a workshop, I really try to install those two focus points on people. First and foremost is actual genuine attention. I think just really listening to someone else is of great value, and when I say listening, I mean actually, in your own brain, trying to shut down that voice that says, “Oh I know where that dream goes,” or, “Oh that’s an archetype, I know what it means,” or, “Oh, I had that the other day, you know?” Shut it off. You’re listening to the other person, not to yourself. That is one of the key values I use, and especially when I work with children. It works wonders because somebody's finally paying attention. With adults, it is just as powerful. The second thing that I do is instead of trying to interpret a dream, a lot of people will know this because it’s very familiar; I try to have someone word them. So the words that someone chooses I see as a bridge between an unconscious thinking and a conscious thinking. I love words as a bridge. I see concepts and ideas and pictures as the same bridge. Let me give you an example, makes it a little bit more hands on. I was in a workshop, and there was a young girl, and she dreamt of a horse, and she dreamt of a horse where the skin fell off, and then the flesh fell off, and then she saw the bones and the muscles and the blood, and then the muscles and the blood fell off, and there was just the bones, and then in the middle of those bones there was a bloody throbbing heart, and that’s where the dream ends. Everybody in the workshop was looking around horrified, and said, “What a horrible nightmare!” But she said, “Not a nightmare, it was beautiful! There was this beautiful horse, and this amazing creature!” Mind you, she said creature. “And layer for layer, the outer layers were falling off, and then the core stayed there; the heart.” So, of course, I asked her, anybody who knows LASHGSJDFH knows this question, anybody who knows ALKDJFHA knows this question. “Just casually, tell me about a heart, what is it?” She said, “Well, the heart is basically the essence of any creature; without it, life stops.” Anybody could have said anything, but she said the essence of the creature. So I give back to people and say, “I hear you say that this beautiful creature layer for layer casts off its outer layers until the essence remains.” And then I ask the rational part of them, “Please explain this dream for me, what did you hear me say? How does that apply to you?” That is the beauty because at that moment they’re flabbergasted, I’ve translated their dream for them. Which of course I haven’t done, because they did it themselves. And this woman says, “That is exactly what I’m pondering now. I wanted to discover myself, and I always thought that I had to go to the deepest layer to myself to know who I am, but I don’t! I just have to cast off my outer layers and then the core, the inside of me will just remain; it’s so simple actually!” And she just got up and left! Her entire body language said, “I'm gonna do this! I can do this. This is actually much more simple than I thought.” This was a happy woman – 26 years old, you know, discovering herself; I get it. The simple thing of translating the brilliant idea that she had at night, that she worded in the beautiful image of a horse, to a rational part of her where she could actually take the words and go with them. That is I think the core of what we should do when we work with dreams. And I really feel that this is something, like I feel yoga should be taught, this is something that should be taught in school – that you don’t have to cast away part of your thinking, but you do have to finish it, you do have to finish it in the day before it starts making sense. And please don’t ask somebody else what you’re thinking about. It makes no sense.
Host: I like the message, and I certainly, I think part of your contribution is your enthusiasm to it. It definitely comes out, and it’s enjoyable to listen to you and to contemplate what you’re working on.
Nicoline: I do have to add something, I have to interrupt you, because what I say, a lot of dream workers will think, “Okay, but how about mutual dreams, how about dreams of the future? How about dreams that are absolutely no psychological content whatsoever in them?” That’s where the first part comes in, to really pay attention to something. I really think that not all dreams are about the self. Some dreams are about somebody else or about something that happens in the world. That’s why I divided into two things and say really pay attention to someone else, and to yourself! And I do radio shows on and off, and the enthusiasm helps because I am really enthusiastic, but one of the things I noticed is that most people do not dream about themselves, they dream about something that’s going on the world, or the most impractical dreams, are dreams that you have for your friend. That’s beyond the message. Then it starts to be really paying attention to the other and to yourself. And I think if you combine the two, you got gold.
Host: But I have assumed in that that no matter what the person is talking about you’re still applying the same process, the same process of deep listening, and of letting them come to their conclusion.
Nicoline: Yep, absolutely. You’re right there, you’re right there. It’s maybe, it’s maybe not an all purpose cleaner, but the core process is the same for everything, that’s true. And I think most of people who are listening to this and who are working with dreams will recognize that the essence of paying attention to it, and integrating parts of your mind into a whole thinking process that I think continues in the day, and continues in daydreaming, where I get my best ideas. I think that is something that in this society is quite wanted and needed, and good news for introspective people there.
Host: I like good news for introspective people. Thank you for your time today, and thank you for the interviews, and I look forward to talking to you again.
Nicoline: Me too, thank you so much. Bye.