Alumna Dr. Darlene Viggiano (Ph.D. ’10) to Present:
The Role of Dreams and Dream-like Experiences in Spiritual Emergence Processes
29th Annual International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference
22 – 26 June, 2012
Berkeley Marina, Berkeley, CA
In 1992, David Lukoff and a team of psychiatrists advanced religious/spiritual problems as conditions that may be the focus of therapy. One such problem/condition has been termed spiritual emergence, according to Stanislav and Christina Grof (1989) in their seminal work on the topic. The research question in the dissertation on which this workshop is based was, “What is the role of dreams and dream-like experiences (DLEs) in spiritual emergence processes?” This workshop addresses the question by examining contemporary examples of the phenomena plus transpersonal psychology literature, from a Jungian hermeneutical perspective and through participant discussion. The need for this workshop is shown by the relative lack of peer-reviewed literature on the use of dream work for religious or spiritual problems compared to the volumes written on dream interpretation. Implications of the workshop experience may be applicable to spiritually emerging populations and to therapy where dream work is used, particularly Jungian analysis.
The spiritual diversity of therapy populations demands what David Lukoff calls spiritual competency. When spiritual issues arise, dream work may help identify and treat problems from a spiritually informed perspective. Outcomes expected from workshop attendance include expanded respect for religious and spiritual diversity, the ability to differentiate spiritual emergency v. spiritual emergence, and an understanding of the role of dreams and dream-like experiences in spiritual emergence processes. Attendees will discuss the use of dreams in psychotherapy, the need to accurately differentiate religious problems from hyper-religiosity, and the importance of avoiding stereotypes. Specific issues will include helping to de-stigmatize spiritual problems and spiritually oriented patients, aiding psycho-spiritual development, and dealing with distressing experiences of loss or questioning of faith or spiritual values. Experiential exercises will include work in small groups, the sharing of spiritual dreams, and discussion on how a particular dream may contribute to psycho-spiritual growth.
Specific Methods or Techniques to be utilized during the workshop include activities for participation such as use of vignettes, breaking into dyads for role plays, and group discussions. The approximate time planned for didactic introduction is 30 minutes of the 90-minute workshop.
The aims of this presentation are to increase personal self-awareness and emotional growth of attendees; increase attendees’ knowledge about dream research based on Jungian theory; train licensed mental health professionals and graduate students about using dreams in clinical practice; increase psychospiritual awareness. This workshop is intended for all audiences.
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