Conference 18 Abstracts
Association for the Study of Dreams
UCSC Santa Cruz, California, USA
1. Type of Presentation: Two-hour Workshop
2. Title of Presentation: Seeing is Believing: Phenomenological
Francesca Ferrentelli is a psychotherapist in St. Louis,
specializing in eating disorders, chemical dependency and adolescent
psychology. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation in
Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Francesca has been
doing serious dream work since 1987.
Martha Peacock is a Ph.D. candidate in Mythological Studies at
Pacifica Graduate Institute. In addition to her mythological pursuits,
she is a teacher and student of dream images, a freelance writer and
lecturer focusing on phenomenological and archetypal patterns of the
unconscious. Martha resides in Tampa, Florida.
4. Summary of Presentation (50 words)
This Phenomenological Dream Theater will demonstrate the thriving
nature of a dream by bringing it to life on an imaginal stage. Without
using the traditional tools of interpretation like word association or
amplification, the dream will be allowed to speak for itself, conveying
its message to participants via a theatrical setting.
5. 3 Learning Objectives and 3 evaluation questions
1. How to carry out an imaginal dream theater by staying within the
confines of a dream and its images;
2. Often our dream analyses become dogmatic, believing that a particular
image has a specific meaning. Our quick interpretations often miss the
mark and we suffer a disservice to the dream and ourselves. In this
workshop, we resist the urge to rush to interpretation, teaching the
participants the benefit of allowing the image to reveal its message;
3. Because the exercise will focus, in part, on the sensuality of the
dream, the participants should learn the benefit of paying attention to
the body's sensations during the dream's reenactment.
1. Did the participant learn how to enact a dream imaginally (or
2. Did the participant understand the value of remaining within the
limits of the dream and the roles of its characters?
3. Did the participant understand the benefit of resisting the urge to
rush to an interpretation and allow the dream to tell its story?
The goal of "Seeing Is Believing: Phenomenological Dream
Theater" is to demonstrate the thriving nature of dream by bringing
it to life on an imaginal stage. Without using the traditional tools of
interpretation, like word association or amplification, the dream will
be carefully described and re-enacted just as it occurred to the
dreamer; its message conveyed through the performance. This type of
"acting" requires no theatrical experience and offers a unique
approach to dream exploration.
Phenomenological Dream Theater differs from other styles of dream
enactment in four ways. First, before the dream is performed, the
dreamer is encouraged to meticulously describe the dream in detail,
helping each participant to "see" the dream in their minds'
eye, or phenomenologically speaking, within the imaginal realm. This
small, but important, shift vibrantly defines the dream's content and
invokes the dream's essence into the room.
Once the participants "see" the dream clearly, characters
are cast and the dream is reenacted without any embellishment.
Phenomenological Dream Theater does not seek to enhance the experience
with dramatic or exaggerated expression in order to amplify an emotion.
Nor does it change the direction or outcome of the dream in an attempt
to problem solve. The idea is to re-enter the dream as authentically as
possible, embodying the dream characters (animate or inanimate) in their
bona fide nature, consciously allowing the soul of the dream expression
on the imaginal stage.
Props can be imagined or "played" by actors: a chair, a
steering wheel, the full moon - any inanimate (and animate) object that
seems pertinent to the dreamer can be considered. The individual playing
the moon, for instance, may sensually imagine being a creamy yellow orb
glowing amidst a dark, empty void, while simultaneously absorbing the
sensation of the dream's re-enactment.
Finally, and perhaps the most challenging part of this style of dream
theater is resisting the temptation to interpret or analyze the dream.
To make associations may predict a certain outcome or explanation that
the dream may or may not be implying. If the performance is enacted
properly, little, if any, interpretation will be necessary. Everyone
will have experienced the dream personally, each leaving with an overall
understanding of the dream's message - not only for the dreamer, but for
Without our interpretation, the dream reveals its intentions. As the
actors play their parts, they may sense an emotional tug during a
certain scene, sense the dreamer's reaction to a movement or react
personally to a character or emotion. Ideally, the dreamer, the actors
and the audience will leave the imaginal theater with a deeply rooted
understanding of the dream's message - a message different than
discussion or analysis can offer.
10. Active credentials
- Francesca Ferrentelli is a psychotherapist psychotherapist in St.
Louis, specializing in eating disorders, chemical dependency and
- Martha Peacock is a freelance writer and lecturer, specializing in
phenomenology and archetypal psychology.
- Both Francesca and Martha have their Masters Degree and are Ph.D.
candidates in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology
at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Specific training in dream work or dream studies
- Francesca and Martha have studied dream work at Pacifica Graduate
Institute, specifically in courses like Myth and Dream, Psychology of
Religion and Depth Psychology.
Nature of experience conducting dream workshops
- At ASD's 17th International Conference, Francesca and Martha held a
Dream Theater workshop. Each woman has formally and informally conducted
dream classes within her respective community.
- Martha facilitates dream classes in the Tampa Bay area.
Orientation, style or name of methods or techniques to be used
- Their orientation is based upon the works of Carl Jung and James
Detailed description of the activities in which attendees will be
encouraged to participate during the workshop
- First, the attendees will be lead in a brief relaxation meditation
in order to prepare a space for the dream's image. Then, a volunteer
will be asked to share a dream in full detail. Participants will be
encouraged to ask questions in order to glean a clear understanding of
the dream's sequence and its images. (Questions relating to personal
association or analysis will be avoided.) Next, the dreamer will cast
the characters and the dream will be enacted. If necessary and at the
dreamer's request, the dream may be reenacted two or three times,
perhaps re-casting characters. After each performance, the reactions of
the dreamer, the actors and the audience will be prompted and discussed.