What’s the E-mail Dream Dialogue? Dreams are a profound resource available to us only during sleep. The problem is finding ways to use them when we’re awake. Dreams can be “worked” in the therapy office to excavate their deep meanings in service of self-understanding, healing and growth. A less profound and targeted, yet still intriguing and quite rewarding, approach is the E-Mail Dream Dialogue. You email me a dream, and I offer feedback intended to push you deeper into the dream’s unknown territory.
Then what’s the point of trying? The very fact that you dream and remember means the dream “wants” to be heard. Whatever you can get into consciousness, even if it’s no more than writing it down, and even of you don’t understand it, does that. And it makes room for the next dream to give you something different.
What’s it mean to "work" a dream? When you work a dream, the goal is to get as much as possible of the dream’s meaning up and out of the unconscious, and into consciousness. There are techniques for this that can often (not always) lead to specific interpretations that can change your conscious life.
Why not “work” dreams by email? Because working a dream is a deeper, more personal process than the Email Dialogue. It requires moment-to-moment, face-to-face interaction with the therapist.
Can I do this Email Dream Dialogue instead of therapy or counseling? Yes, but you must realize that this Dialogue is not a substitute for therapy, or for dream analysis in therapy. If you're in therapy, continue it. Tell your therapist about the dream dialogue, and offer to provide him or her with printed copies of our exchanges. Don't start without his or her approval, and discontinue the Dialogue if s/he tells you to.
What if I don’t have a therapist? You must have one at least “on call,” and you must release me to talk to him or her if necessary. You must also agree to visit him or her at least once if I recommend it. If you don’t have a therapist I can refer you to one.
Can you be my therapist? No, not unless you’re already my client, or become one because you want psychotherapy, before the Dialogue begins. Ethical clarity prevents me from accepting a client for therapy just to have the Dream Dialogue. Dreamwork in therapy, on the other hand, is a legitimate motivation for and form of psychotherapy.
What kind of feedback do you give? Questions about details of the dream‘s “story” itself; questions to your unconscious through your conscious mind; statements about how the unconscious may process experience; paradoxical comments intended to push your thinking into unknown territory; and so on. The deep psyche wants to change and evolve, and the Dialogue is designed to help that along.
What’s it cost? I charge my standard fee: $130/hour as of 5/1/12 (subject to change), prorated by the quarter-hour or any part thereof. A single email response to a dream may take no more than the first quarter-hour ($32.50). If it takes me 20 minutes, or 30 minutes, the charge would be $65.
Can I use my health insurance to pay for it? No. The email Dream Dialogue isn’t treatment or therapy, it doesn’t produce a diagnosis, and there is no procedure code that covers it. Insurance will not be billed. Insurance won’t reimburse you. (This may not apply to Health Savings Accounts. If you have one, consult the rules for it.) You will be charged directly by email and/or U.S. mail.
How do I know which dreams to send? Send the ones that stir you up — provoke your anxiety, curiosity, excitement, whatever. Nightmares and recurring dreams are the best. Send as many as you wish.
How will I know if it's doing me any good? You'll "know." If it's working, it will stir a gut-level response -- excitement, anxiety, curiousity about yourself. You'll have a feeling of getting closer to truths about yourself -- your Self. And if it doesn't work, you can stop any time you want.
Dr. Vince Ward