DATE: Friday, March 29, 2013
TIME: 10:00 a.m
PLACE: Room B, Ladera Lane campus
CANDIDATE: Dianne Frost Brown
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Engaging with the Imaginal: Dreamwork of Women in Recovery"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-A; 2005
COORDINATOR: Dr. Lori Pye
ADVISOR: Dr. Mary Watkins
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Kelly Bulkeley
Brown, D. (2013). Engaging with the Imaginal: Dreamwork of Women in Recovery (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
Engaging with the imaginal is to interact with and reflect upon images that have visited in sleeping or waking dreams. This study traces six women who engaged with the imaginal during seven weeks of dreamwork together. The particular dreamwork was a combination of Dream Tending, as developed by Stephen Aizenstat, and Council Reflections, as outlined by Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle. The women were apprentices at a holistic recovery center, Shakti Rising, in San Diego, CA where they were mentored as they worked toward healing various wounds (i.e. depression, abuse, eating disorders, addictions, self-identity concerns, and body-image issues).
A phenomenological, critical hermeneutic orientation in participatory research proved to be a useful methodology for including co-participants in a lively process of engaging with the imaginal and finding meaning in the process. The critical stance held an eye toward liberation and the expansion of horizons of knowing. The research inquired into the following two questions: What psychic landscapes are evident in the dreamwork of women in recovery? What meanings and/or possibilities emerge during the women’s dreamwork?
The study found that the psychic landscape of women in recovery as a group has universal themes that are common to humankind overall, yet the particularity of meanings for each individual co-participant was distinct and addressed her particular recovery process. In addition to the particular meanings for each individual, co-participants found meanings and possibilities in common. Their shared discoveries included the following: Engaging with the imaginal is potent and has transformative potential. Group dreamwork is nourishing for co-participants. Council has rich applications for furthering co-participants’ understandings. The research makes a strong case for sharing the art of Dream Tending and hosting Council Reflections in group settings and beyond the confines of the therapist’s couch.
Please note that parking is available at the Ladera Lane campus.