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Celebrating the Power of Dreams
One hundred years after Freud we are still grappling with questions about dreams: what are they? What do they mean? How do we access them? In the years since the publication of Freud’s seminal Interpretation of Dreams at the turn of the 20th century, dream work in western society has slowly developed into an area of scholarly respect.
With the formation of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) in the mid-1980s, clinicians, scholars, and the general public have gathered every year to celebrate the dream and try to understand its mysteries. Despite 50 postsecondary institutions offering dream courses in North America and Europe, there are very few certificates or degrees specifically devoted to dream studies. Saybrook was the first school to offer a graduate certificate in Dream Studies that can be taken primarily online.
Despite this growing professional and public acceptance of the importance of dreaming and dreams, few psychologists obtain any formal training or certification of expertise. In fact most clinicians enter their professional life with absolutely no such training and often feel frustrated or baffled when a client presents a dream in the therapeutic process. Psychology scholars too are poorly trained to understand and appreciate the richness that dream work has to offer their explorations of the human condition. Increasingly cognitive psychology tells us that considerable human information processing occurs outside human awareness, yet what Freud called the "royal road to the unconsciousness" still remains too little investigated and understood. This certificate program helps address this inequity.
The Dream Studies Certificate will give you an understanding of dream research, practice, and personal meaning. If you are a practicing clinical psychologist, the certificate is an excellent way to supplement your training and enrich the quality of your therapeutic work.
The Dream Studies Certificate is designed to help students gain an understanding of important research about dreams and to implement that knowledge in order to accomplish personal and professional goals. Our teaching approach encourages the student to explore personal interests and learn through experience as well as to come to an appreciation of research in the field.
The certificate in Dream Studies consists of four three-credit courses, a three-credit practicum, and a one-credit integrative paper. Three of the courses are required:
- Experiential: CSP 3160 Personal Mythology and Dream Psychology
- Neurological: CSP 3150 Neuropsychology of Dreams and Dreaming
- Research Based: CSP 3010 Art Based Inquiry
Practicum: A practicum equivalent to one month of full-time effort is required. The practicum is a special project specifically tied to a research interest of the student. This can be a scholarly study or an experiential one. Acceptable projects might include your own dream journaling and analysis; reflections and report on clinical uses of dreams; or a research/scholarly study. Your practicum, which will be planned with a certificate director, can be tailored to your professional needs.
Integrative Paper or Project: The last activity in the certificate program is writing a final paper that integrates what you've learned from the four courses and the practicum. This culminating assignment also gives you an opportunity to assess your strengths, identify further learning needs, and develop a specific plan for continuing your personal and professional development in the area of dream studies
The four courses, practicum, and final paper requirement for this certificate are designed to give you a theoretical, experiential, cross-cultural, and research foundation in dream studies. Upon completion you will have skills in multiple domains:
In the neuroscience domain you'll be able to:
- Appreciate the characteristics of the sleeping brain, the various stages of sleep, and the differences between rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
- Understand the major neuropsychological models of dreaming, to highlight similarities and differences between these models, to recognize how they explain the process of dreaming, and to identify the data or arguments that support or contest each of them.
- Explore the implications of an understanding of the physiology and neurochemistry of wakefulness, sleep, and dreaming for a range of associated phenomena.
In the personal experiential domain you will:
- Understand the concept of "personal mythology" and its relationship to dreams.
- Become aware of one's own guiding personal myths as expressed in dreams.
- Understand Feinstein and Krippner's 5-stage process to determine through dream work which of your personal myths are functional and adaptive, and which are dysfunctional and maladaptive.
- Develop proficiency with methods that can be used to help a person explore the nature of his or her own personal mythology as expressed in dreams.
- Understand how the personal mythology and dreams concept can be used for personal growth, counseling, and/or psychotherapy.
- Understand the role of metaphors in dreams.
In the cross-cultural domain, you will develop the skills to:
- Appreciate the wide range of cultural differences in how the dream is understood.
- Experience your own dream(s) from the perspective of a culture different from your own.
- Become sensitive to anthropological uses of dreams in understanding the nature of culture.
- Apply cross-cultural understandings of the dream to clinical settings.
Our teaching approach encourages you to explore personal interests and learn through experience as well by appreciating research in the field. You may complete a certificate in Dream Studies with a team of co-learners who work together on various aspects of the certificate or in an independent study format.
Team Format: Learners in the team format complete the three core courses together in a virtual classroom. For each core course, this entails reading the assigned texts, spending an hour per week online adding to the team conversation, and writing and posting a minimum of one paper for other team members to comment on.
Independent Study Format: Learners in the independent study format download a syllabus, complete the assigned reading, and write three essays for each course. Elective courses and the practicum are planned with the certificate director.
Meetings: You are required to attend at least Dream Studies Certificate meeting, which are held in conjunction with residential conferences for the School of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Inquiry. The Dream Studies Certificate meetings will include a number of short presentations by students and faculty, including featured presentations by certificate graduates. There will be no cost for the meeting but non-degree students will be responsible for transportation, lodging, meals, and any other expenses.
For more information on this or other certificate programs, please complete the form on the right. You may check multiple options.
To enroll in this certificate as a non-degree student, go to Apply Online and select the desired certificate option. This certificate is available to current Saybrook degree students in certain programs as part of, or in addition to, degree classes. Please contact Admissions or your faculty advisor/mentor about enrolling.