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Dissertation Title:

Community-Based Dreaming: Imagination in the Body


Kimberly Christensen

Date, Time & Place:

April 21, 2021 at 1:00 pm


This research study explored the lived experience of participants in a group based on the author’s community-healing dreamwork model, a process of engaging the imagination in the embodiment of dream symbols and images with the aim of furthering the individuation of the participants and the collective. The research was conducted from a somatic perspective informed by depth psychology for the purpose of acquiring a new clinical understanding of the role of communal dreaming in somatic and depth counseling and education practice. The author used a participatory leadership approach with the group, which met weekly for 6 months, exploring one of the participant’s dream each week using active imagination in the movement and amplification of dream symbols and content. An emphasis on community healing techniques and embodiment provided a multifaceted experience including a somatic aspect. Utilizing phenomenological and alchemical hermeneutic methodologies, the author examined the community dream process and the somatic experiences of the participants’ communal embodiment of dream images. This exploration demonstrates new methods for moving imagination into the body by focusing on (a) moments of the lived experience of embodiment connected to a dream image, a felt sense, and feeling; (b) the frustrated state of individuals struggling with the pervasive conditioning of rational modes of relating to psychic content; (c) an archetypal ritual that shifts rational modes into embodied process; and (d) the possibility of respectful community conflict to engage deep layers of affect toward individuation.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology emphasis in Somatic Studies, S, 2014
  • Chair: Dr. Carol Burbank
  • Reader: Dr. Ana Mozol
  • External Reader: Dr. Tom Cheetham
  • Keywords: Body, Dreams, Embodiment, Ritual, Dream Group, Archetype