Beyond the Ego and Towards Complexity through Social Dreaming

Manley, Julian Y orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2548-8033, Hollway, Wendy and Pytlasinska, Halina (2024) Beyond the Ego and Towards Complexity through Social Dreaming. In: Being a Therapist in a Time of Climate Breakdown. Routledge.

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This chapter addresses the use of social dreaming to facilitate a sense of shared understanding of complex problems, such as coping with a pandemic or understanding climate anxiety. By creating a safe and containing space where creativity and unconscious thoughts, feelings and ideas are encouraged, a collective refusal to over-simplify complexity emerges. Instead, the truth within complexity is embraced and celebrated. Although not therapy, social dreaming has therapeutic effects by providing each participant with the means to express - through the condensation of dreams and dream sharing - a form of knowledge which is otherwise inexpressible. Anxiety, fear and even trauma associated with an issue such as the effect of climate change are contained within the safety of dreams and supported by a shared collage of images and associations. Difficulties are not hidden but expressed in the image-rich and shared tapestry of the language of social dreaming.

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