Early in 1996, a small group of women committed to meeting for the purpose of working on dreams. During the first meeting we merely established interest. We agreed to meet twice a month for a period of a few months, at which time we would reevaluate our interests. The beginning of any new commitment should include a trial period, but we can proudly say we met for nearly 4 years. We have been on weekend retreats together, shared stories and intimacies, and watched each other evolve while sharing this dreamwork. It was an experiment that has more than realized its potential.

Since those beginnings, many others have asked to join this group. We have declined to open it having now established a high level of comfort and safety. However, our response to these inquisitors is to recommend that they start a dream group to meet their own needs. What has come about as a result of these requests is an outline of suggestions for forming the group, and a bibliography to get them started.

We do not claim to have originated any of these techniques or suggestions. We have, however, experienced many authors, readings, and professionals, and can no longer discern the ingredients of our amalgam. We would like to apologize if we fail to credit anyone.

It is suggested that the person interested in forming such a group look to friends first. The previously established trust of friendship is ideal. If a sufficient number of people are not found this way, then advertising within the local community is the next best option. Advantages to advertising will be that you are almost assured a diversity that will enliven points of view. The least appropriate group of individuals to draw from are work colleagues. The personal nature of dreamwork, and the professional personas required at work, are not very conducive to this level of intimacy.

Another question is that of gender. Co-ed groups are very different. One advantage is in the observation of anima and animus in the respective male and female dreams. However, inhibitions run high in a co-ed group, and it has been suggested that co-ed groups work best with a facilitator. Our own experience is as an all female group. We are quite happy with this structure, and have found unique levels of intimacy that would not be possible with a mixed group.

The size of the group is one more factor to take seriously. Ideally five to eight members works best. If the group is too large, there is often not enough time for everyone to share or participate. If the group is too small, it becomes unnecessary to structure it as a group at all. Friends should still be encouraged to share dreams with one another, but the matters of group work do not necessarily apply.

Once the above concerns of forming a group are addressed, the group must make additional decisions for itself. The frequency and duration of meetings can be decided on at the first meeting. The location of meetings, whether the meetings are open or closed, and whether the group feels the need for a facilitator, will also be covered early.

Invariably, any group that meets over a period of time will encounter someone in a crisis phase. Preferably before this happens, the group should decide how to handle this, and should be prepared to recommend professionals and services with in the community when necessary.

The first two recommended books are by Robert Johnson and Jeremy Taylor. These two authors have a writing style that is accessible to just about anyone. Additional readings can be more analytical, as are most of the books published by Inner City Books. For those thinking that they might want to make the commitment to working with a professional analyst, it is recommended that they read Boundaries of the Soul: The practice of Jung's psychology.

If health issues arise within a group, any of Arnold Mindell's books on the "Dreambody" will be useful. All groups should consider the creative approaches to dreams and have a resource of exercises available for the members to experiment with. A favorite in that category is The Natural Artistry of Dreams by Jill Mellick. This book is essential for both the individual, as well as the group. The book is loaded with suggestions, and it would take years to explore them all. Drawing exercises, painting and sculpture, mapping patterns, movement, drama, and ritual are among the many ideas provided in that text--Highly Recommended.

"I believe that the experience of dreaming is the clearest proof we have that the unconscious exists. The inner life of an individual unfolds through dreams, and whoever carefully observes his dreams may gain access to dimensions of his nature that would otherwise remain impenetrable."

June Singer

We are convinced of the value of this work, and encourage others to begin their own explorations with a dream group.



Johnson, R. A., (1986).   Inner Work:   Using dreams & active imagination for personal growth. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Taylor, J., (1992).   Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill:  Using dreams to tap the wisdom of the unconscious.   New York: Warner Books.


Mellick, J., (1996).   The Natural Artistry of Dreams.   Berkeley: Conari Press.

Mindell, A., (1982).   Dreambody:   The body's role in revealing the Self.   Boston: Sigo Presss.

Singer, J., (1972).   Boundaries of the Soul:   The practice of Jung's psychology.   New York: Doubleday.