I am starting a new experiential dream group, using the format and techniques developed by Montague Ullman. The group is designed to help individuals gain greater understanding of what their dreams are communicating to them. The group will meet via Zoom bimonthly – every other Saturday from 11:00 to 12:30 EST. In each meeting, a group member can volunteer to share a dream and the group will go through the process developed by Ullman to aid the dreamer in better connecting to the dream material and understanding its underlying meaning. The group will consist of a minimum of 5 members and maximum of 8. The group will be ongoing, with a minimum commitment of 4 sessions for each member. Cost per session is $75.
Ullman’s process involves 3 stages. In the first stage, a group member presents a dream, ideally a recent one. In the second stage, the other group members make the dream their own and together explore the affects and metaphorical significance of all aspects of the dream, while the dreamer listens and determines what resonates. In the third stage, the dreamer further explores the context of the dream, i.e., feelings and things that occurred in the days leading up to the dream. Then the group enters into a dialogue with the dreamer to aid in further understanding the context as well as the meaning of the specific imagery in the dream. Group members then offer what Ullman calls “orchestrating ideas” about what the dream may mean.
Ullman has described the benefits and feeling of participation in the experiential dream group as follows: “By the time the third stage is reached, a feeling of trust and rapport has developed between the dreamer and the group. A genuinely concerned, helpful, and supportive response is elicited when someone has had the courage to share a dream and self help with it. There is an important though implicit aspect of the process that further nurtures this trust. It stems from the fact that the process evolves dialectically into one of mutual self-disclosure. The dreamer defines himself by offering a dream. This in turn leads to the group members defining themselves through the projections they offer. In the final stage all parties become better known to themselves and to each other. The dreamer gains from those parts of the group’s projections that are relevant to him. The group members gain from the discovery that aspects of their responses that they thought related to the dreamer were really their own projection. They learn by being confronted with their own biases as the images fall into place in the dreamer’s life.” (Ullman, M. in Wolman, B. Ed. 1979. Handbook of Dreams. P. 417-418)
About the Group Leader
Dr. Anne Cutler is a Licensed Psychoanalyst, in private practice in New York for over 30 years. She received her psychoanalytic training at NPAP in New York City. She recently completed her doctoral degree in psychoanalysis at the Boston Graduate School for Psychoanalysis. Her dissertation, entitled “Dreams: Royal Road or Garden Path”, involved research examining the place of dreams in psychoanalytic treatment. Anne was a member of Montague Ullman’s dream group for many years in the 1990’s. She was also a member of his supervision group for dream group leaders.