Case Conference: Dreaming

2-Year Certificate Program (2YCP)
2023-24, 2nd Term — Mondays, 8:00-9:15pm
Julie Wood, MA
Jacob Markovitz, MD


Welcome to Term II Case Conference!

We look forward to working and learning together with the theme: How do I work with dreams? We will think together about all the layers of dreaming: the subjective activity of dreaming, the clients’ telling/not telling of the dream to therapist, the therapist’s receipt of the dream, the therapist’s associations to the dream material, the patient’s associations, the therapist-client system metabolism of the dream, working with dream material,  interpreting dream material, making an interpretation clinically useful to the work, the therapist’s dreaming, the therapist dreaming of the patient, the patient dreaming of the therapist, the work of psychotherapy as a dream space, dream space as play space… we could go on.

We will ground ourselves in your prior reading of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams excerpt, in the Freud Reader. Please review this for the first class. We will review Freud’s original ideas about dreams. Will talk together about how each of you (and we) currently work with dreams and what you may want to learn in our 8 weeks together. We will cultivate an atmosphere of play, creativity, awake dreaming, and self-reflection. We strive for emotional safety and intellectual curiosity.

In each of the following weeks, we will actively work with dreams. In doing so, we are practicing the discipline of radical openness, unconscious receptivity, creative holding, dream interpretation, and lighthearted play. Each week we will ask “Who has a client/patient dream to share?” We will spend the entire class time working together with and on the dream and integrating that into the course of psychotherapy. We want to express our gratitude ahead of time, knowing that sharing your clinical work can feel vulnerable. We see your dream offering as a gift to the class. We are here to work together in learning, as opposed to evaluating correctness or supervising a case. There is no “correct” way to do dream interpretation or to use dreams. Our goal is that this will support your dreaming about and formulation your own answer to the question: “How do I work with dreams?”

In preparation for class, we ask that you start to notice your own dreams. This is a practice for unconscious receptivity. Please put paper and pen by your bedside. (Sometimes people use their voice message, email to self, notes, or other electronic device means of recording dreams.  Do what works for you.) We ask that you maintain a dream journal for our time together. We won’t ask to see or ask you to share the journal. It’s for your experiential learning.

November 20, 2023

[13 pages]

Freud, S. (1900) The Interpretation of Dreams (excerpt), in The Freud Reader, pp130-142


Gabbard, G. (2017) Ch 7 "Use of Dreams and Fantasies in Dynamic Psychotherapy" in Long-Term Psychotherapy: A Basic Text, Third Edition, pp141-155.

Atlas, G. (2013). Eat, Pray, Dream: Contemporary Use of Dreams in Psychoanalysis. Contemp. Psychoanal., 49(2):239-246.

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