Monday, November 1, 2010

Launch of New Dream Book in Italy.....

I am here in Italy for the launch of my new dream book. The book has been published by FrancoAngeli and has been very well received since my arrival here. Below is a beautiful photo collage created by Sabine Korth, who created it after the Piombino presentation in the Piombino Castle.

Sharing my work has been very exciting here as I am beginning to understand that in Italy, the study of dreams as a science has not yet been shared with the general public. Authors and researchers of dreams seem to publish in English and as a result, the science of dreaming is new and rare here. For this reason, I am happy to be collaborating with Drs. Donati, Pini, Falicai, and Barcaro with my book. As a team, we hope to share the global dream research with Italy and to continue our own pursuit of the science of dreams and consciousness.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Composer's Dream

There is a newly published book entitled "The Composer's Dream" by Massimo Schinco which is very much worth the read. This is a very innovative book with a new view point on dreams, psychotherapy, and music. The author is able to tie together the underlying mechanism that drives these factors. Though they seem independent of one another, the author is able to make the case that they are in fact, all related.

The writing style is such that complicated material becomes easy to understand. He nicely takes works of great composers and physicists to make his case clearly stated. The reader goes away with a greater understanding of consciousness and the process of creativity itself.

The book is available on and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in dreams, consciousness, therapy, or music.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


There is much buzz around the new Hollywood movie Inception, which led to a posting on the IASD (International Association for The Study of Dreams) website. The question remains, can someone invade the dream of another and if so, should that be encouraged, practiced,or taught?

Anthropological research has recorded the phenomena across several cultures where people claim that they can "enter" the psyche of another person while in the dream state. A small collection of books written,usually under the occult or popular culture,claim there are safe ways of learning and practicing this phenomena. One author compares the practice to be "like a family" going on an outing. Here is my response to the possibility of entering some one's psyche with dreams:

Like any good, healthy and functional family, we must NEVER enter the private space of another. This is not only respectful it is practicing basic integrity. Extending that notion to others, we must never invade any one's private space be it their home, their mail, their office, or any other space. It stands to reason that if someone could enter the psyche of another that this practice would be highly unethical. This is worse than the "home invasion" crimes that are committed. Entering some one's space, be it physical or mental, is clearly wrong.

One may argue (and some have) that this practice can be used for healing, or for sharing in a positive way. If this were the case, then the practice would be shared between people with full consent. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and those who promote the practice are doing so in an exploitive manner.

The issue remains with all matters of the psyche: only practices that promote healthy, loving, kind results should be put into practice. Everything else should remain in Hollywood drama.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

IASD Conference 2010

Dreamers, researchers, clinicians and workshop leaders are here in North Carolina for the 2010 conference. This conference hosted by The International Association for the Study of Dreams is a venue for sharing our work on the Study and practice of dream therapy. So far this conference has proven to be one of the best in the many years I have been attending.

Dream research is a fast growing field which has innovation and sound research practice. The field has gone through it's growing pains but is now on solid ground with established methodology and scientific practice. The publications and presentations are building the knowledge of dreams with a strong scientific community.

The application of dream therapy and techniques continues to grow as more practitioners become educated in the field. There is the emergence of scientifically tested techniques that are allowing practitioners to use dream therapy with comfort; knowing they work and they are reliable.

An interesting growth is seen in the Art created by dreaming. This conference has provided the public with a vast array of beautiful dream-inspired art. This work allows dreams to be shared at a personal and rich level; insight, felt-sense, and connection with the inner world are the result.

As a result, IASD continues to grow at the levels of science, humanity, art, and clinical applications. Dreams and their rich source of information are coming into their own and sharing this work internationally is helping the evolution of this profound human dimension to evolve.

IASD 2011 conference will be hosted in Rolduc, The Netherlands. See

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Playing Soccer or Hockey in my Dreams

After reading and discussing thousands of dreams from research and program participants one thing that stands out consistently is that fact that dreams are culturally relevant. When examining the dreams of Canadian men they often find themselves playing out their waking day issues as a hockey player in a hockey game. Interestingly, the same issues get played out with the dreamer as a soccer player in the dreams of Italian males. The scenes and settings completely follow the continuity hypothesis for the dreamers and their particular culture.

Similarly, the dreams of Canadians have the theme of "Tim Horton's" (a popular cofee house chain) while Italians have themes of towers, the sea and food such as pasta.

In a recent study conducted in Canada and the United Arab Emirates it was found that the UAR dreams had significantly more images of religious and spiritual imagery than did the Canadians (Salem et al., 2010). This is particularly important given the differences placed on religious practices between the two countries.

Perhaps one of the most interesting and salient themes in dreams is this cultural element. A better understanding of the role of culture in dreams can perhaps help predict cultural themes for specific groups and possibly help dreamers understand how culture plays into their own waking day decisions.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Why bother paying attention to dreams?

One of the most common comments I get from readers is that they don't remember their dreams so why should they even bother paying attention to them? Also, if dreams are so important why aren't they remembered upon waking and why is the message not clearer to the dreamer?

All of these questions point to the same notion; people often see themselves as purely "physical beings" in the world. They see themselves in terms of their jobs, their health, achievements, failures, and all the things that they can see or measure. One's home, physical appearance, purchase, or even travels are ways that one can construe "who they are". If someone is ill or unemployed, in a healthy relationship, or not, these become the ways that define the person. From the moment people open their eyes after sleep, they begin to think about Thieu physical world issues. Getting to work, taking the kids to school, paying the bills, calling a friend; all of these behaviours fill the day and fill the mind.

There is however,another level of being that is often unnoticed. That is the inner world of each person; the emotional level of processing. This inner world is unknown and at the unconscious level of being. This is also the level where decisions are made and life paths are taken. The unconscious is often felt as a drive or push from within that directs one's life even when there is no awareness of that push. People get into relationships, get ill, make career choices, and life plans completley unknowingly. Awareness of these circumstances may begin to occur when something goes "wrong". When the relationship ends or the job isn't working out then awareness of these life patterns may occur. So how does this relate to dreaming?

Dreaming is a process that allows the dreamer insight into the unconscious mind. Dreams provide a glimpse into the emotional energy that is pushing life circumstances into certain directions. The feelings that underlie all the waking day circumstances such as sexual attraction toward the boss or deep rooted anger toward one's mother are all forces that dictate how waking life will play out.

The most important reason for paying attention to one's dreams is that it will allow the dreamer to get to know the inner life that is responsible for the waking life that is occurring. The inner drive that dictates one's life will be revealed in the dreaming mind. So to pay attention to one's dreams is to really begin to understand and befriend the pure essence of being alive and that which is responsible for all of waking life.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Can Dream Therapy Boost Physical Healthy?

The research literature has linked distress directly to the immune system. That is, studies in psychoneuroimmunology have found that distress (the physical response to stress) can lead to immuno-suppresion. This means that people experiencing stress may get more colds and flu due to the negative impact on the immune system. Furthermore, individuals with diseases such as cancer may decrease their immune system's ability to fight the disease if any distress is experienced. So how does this relate to dream therapy?

It has been found in the literature that dream therapy can decease distress from illness, life-threatening situations, and transition. This begs the question; can dream therapy boost the immune system and therefore, increase physical health? Theoretically, this should certainly be the case and research directly investigating this is in order. Since we know that dream therapy will decrease distress, and, methods such as Meditative Dream Re-entry decrease negative emotions directly, then dream therapy may be a pathway for increasing physical health.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Precognition or Dream Lagging?

People have reported dreaming about future events since the beginning of dream reports which incidentally, is nearly since the beginning of human life. One question remains: Are people dreaming about future events or does this just appear to be so due to the dream lag effect?

The dream lag effect is a well-known phenomenon where a dream occurs about a waking day event 3 or 4 nights after the event. For example, if a woman travels on business on a Monday then she may dream about those events on Thursday or Friday night. Could this be responsible for dreaming about future events?

For example, a woman goes to yoga class every Thursday evening. She dreams about the class on Monday evening and perceives this as a precognitive dream about the upcoming class on Thursday. Has she dreamt about the previous class or the upcoming class? Is this dream precognitive or just a dream lag?

The research seems to provide support for both of these events. People can certainly dream about events before they occur. This has been shown to occur in the lab with subjects dreaming about an upcoming event or object that they could not have known about previously. Furthermore, the dream lag effect appears to be a common theme as well and people certainly dream about events several nights after a waking day event has occurred. Precognition and dream lag appear to be two events that occur for some dreamers. When can a dreamer tell if a dream is precognitive or a dream lag?

Precognitive dreams appear to occur in approximately 15% of dreams and predict very specific events. Dream lags can be pinned directly to past waking day events and can be very helpful for problem-solving. The key is for the dreamer to become acquainted with their own dream imagery and to come to know which of these circumstances are in fact occurring for them. In either case, precognition and dream lagging appear to be helpful for dreamers in many ways.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Return after a long delay.......

I am back on my blog after a delay of several months. The reason I have been away is that I have been writing, writing, and writing which makes coming to the blog that much harder. I have submitted several research articles which I believe are important for dream research. One is an article on the dreams of women with breast cancer, another is an article that has been accepted for publication for April/2010, which is the relationship among dreams and waking day infidelity. I am also working on an article comparing the dreams and discovery of Italians and Canadians-both students and therapy participants. Other interesting work has included collaborations with colleagues in the United Arab Emerits examining religious/spiritual content in dreams between UAM and Canadians.

The research has continued to flourish over the past months in preparation for the IASD conference in July. Here I will be presenting research with my colleagues on dreams and anxiety, dreams and relationships, dreams across cultures...and others. The research field is growing and I have had the pleasure of working with several teams around the world in preparation for IASD.

So, I have not been at my blog because of my writing in other areas. I feel ready to come back to it now to share the new and exciting findings that are coming up for dream work.

Friday, February 5, 2010

International Association for The Study of Dreams-2010 Conference

Every year researchers and clinicians from all over the world come together to share their work at the annual conference for The International Association for The Study of Dreams. This year it is held in North Carolina (June 27-July 1) and is being held at a particularly beautiful site. This is a perfect venue for scientists who are interested in research on dreams and consciouness. It is also a great venue for clinicians to learn new skills for practice, in terms of current dream therapy.

For information on the organization and the conference go to:

Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Do People Believe That Their Dreams are Important and Meaningful?

In a recent research study, the following question was asked and investigated: Do people believe their dreams are important? As a result, some interesting findings emerged. In the study (King & DeCicco, 2000) the majority of participants stated that they believed that their dreams contained important and relevant information. Furthermore, the most frequent belief was that dreams contain information about relationships.

Given that more than 85% of dreams in general involve characters, and these characters can be linked directly to the dreamer's waking life (DeCicco, unpublished data), the relationship between dreams and waking day relationships appears very important. Furthermore, research on the meaning of dreams has found that waking day relationships was in fact a key meaning reported with dreams (DeCicco & Higgins, 2009). The finding that people believe their dreams to be important and believe them to be mainly about relationships implies that this link is being made, even if somewhat unconsciously. This now clears the path for future research on dreams and relationships to develop more fully and to bring a better understanding of this dimension of dreaming.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year!

2010 offers a new year of dreaming. With every new year comes the opportunity to set intentions and create new pathways for one's life. Though most people set intentions to lose weight, find a new job, find a life partner, etc. few set the intention to be more conscious of their dreams and to pay attention to their meaning. I would like to suggest a few intentions that may be set for 2010 in terms of dreaming:

1. Get a new dream journal and commit to writing them down for the year.

2. Learn 2 new dream interpretation techniques and use them throughout the year.

3. Make the commitment to bring dream discovery into waking life.

4. Join a local dream group.

5. Attend a dream workshop and ask a friend to join as well.

6.Google the website for the International Association for The Study of Dreams and get involved with the organization in some way.

7. Introduce others to dream work so they can benefit from it.

These are just suggestions that may get people thinking about adding dreams to their new year intentions. Along with weight loss, new partners and new jobs, of course!