Like most Dream Workers that I know, I indirectly entered the practice.
My journey originally started with an interest in dreams - what they are, what purpose they served and what they meant. This interest eventually sparked deeper research into the subject of dreams, along with my pursuit of answers to the dream-related questions that I had.
Studying Dreams: Once my interest in dreams was piqued, the first step towards becoming a Dream Worker was to study more information on the subject. This first stage could be confusing at times, as it appeared that many different perspectives and theories that I read on dreams seemed to conflict. As I continued to read, I found it helpful at times to intentionally read something that I disagreed with, in order to better understand the meanings that dreams held for me personally.
Dream Journaling: This is probably the biggest step I took towards becoming a Dream Worker. Over the course of 2 years, I logged every dream that I could remember into a Dream Journal. Over time, I was able to recall a great deal of dream content. Developing this habit allowed me to gain new insights into my dreams, in addition to my ability to effectively link events that were occurring in my waking life to what was happening in my dreams. As a result, I was able to read my dreams collectively and identify the common threads that began to weave themselves into a story like a tapestry. I recognized that dreams are not unlike chapters in a book, in that they describe progress over time and would highlight major themes in my life. I noticed that different dreams - with different symbols – would still contain the same message or theme. Monday night’s open door, Tuesday night’s bridge and Wednesday night’s airport all had a general meaning of both transition and opportunity for growth.
Asking Others What Their Dreams Meant to Them: Once I had an understanding of my personal dream symbols, I began to ask others what their dreams meant to them. This practice opened me up to the various meanings that each symbol could have, based upon culture, age, gender, belief systems, and personal experience. Listening to what others thought of their own dreams helped me to understand the impact that our beliefs can have on us and helped me to place myself in someone else’s shoes. In the end, the dreamer is truly the expert when it comes to interpreting the meaning of their own dreams.
Reflecting on Others’ Dreams: After gaining understanding of my own dreams and listening to what different dreams meant to different people, I began to offer my opinion on what meanings other people’s dreams held for them. I became the ‘go-to’ person for my friends, after they would experience odd or confusing dreams. What I noticed is that the simple act of listening to another person’s perspective about their dream could be very helpful. It allows the dreamer to reevaluate their dream again, however from another perspective, in order to arrive at their own personal meaning. I noticed that regardless of how close I was to deciphering the meaning of their dream, the dreamer was the only one who was able to accurately identify the specific meaning that their dream had for them personally.
Becoming a Therapist: While not all Dream Workers are therapists, I have found my own experience in the field invaluable. I have worked in Human Services since 1999. My work experience helped me to identify my passion and desire to understand and help others, and encouraged me to further my education and become a licensed professional in order to be more effective in my work. My studies and practice as a therapist have given me a foundation to understand dreams from a therapeutic standpoint. At the same time, my passion for dream work helped me to understand the thinking patterns, beliefs and emotions of clients whenever they shared troubling dreams in session.
Back to #1- Additional Study: Reading books on dreams and dream research made more sense to me once I had a clinical foundation. The information began to “click” for me and I was able to relate a client’s experience to material I was reading if I did not directly identify with it myself.
Labeling myself as a Dream Worker: It was only after utilizing dream work to uncover belief systems and unconscious feelings within my clinical practice to supplement other therapeutic techniques, that I began to provide dream interpretations or dream reflections online and this label began to more accurately describe what I was doing. I realized that I was working with dreams for the purpose of helping others gain more insight and understanding, and as a result the label ‘Dream Worker’ became more appropriate.
If you are a Dream Worker, what unique path did you take to get there? If you want to become a Dream Worker, what steps will you take to become one?