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Dear Dreamers,
Welcome to our final edition of the DNANZ bulletin for 2021. What a year it has been! At present in Auckland we are still in Level 3 with concessions but unable to leave the Auckland borders. I am sure many of you will have been experiencing some rather interesting dreams during these uncertain times. For our November bulletin we have a range of interesting articles for you which I hope you will enjoy:
  • In the Reports section, Margaret Toland shares a synopsis of her recent online presentation to DNANZ via Zoom last month. She describes how self-havening technique was successfully used to maintain safety in nightmare work with a client who had experienced childhood trauma.
  • In the Reports section Marie Brand reports on Margaret Toland’s Zoom presentation to DNANZ last month on her use of self-havening in nightmare work with a client (a social worker) who had been vicariously traumatised by her own client’s disclosure of being raped. It had triggered the social worker’s early experience of being raped by her grandfather. In the presentation Margarent descibes how the chemistry of how the technique kept the client safe as they re-explored this early traumatic memory.
  • Dream Corner, Brother Kevin Dobbyn explores a challenging question posed to him by a conference participant about the difference between soul and spirit. He uses a friend’s dream entitled “Boiling Water” relevant to the question which in turn poses further challenging questions for himself and reader.
  • In Research Corner, Margaret Bowater discusses the multi-layers of potential data that dreams unlock from the unconscious mind and how there are now tools available for dream researchers to explore. Such a tool is Kelly Bulkeley’s Sleep and Dream Database which provides information on emotional concerns and waking interests of dreamers from blind-analysis of long-term journals.
  • In another article, Margaret Bowater describes research that shows how dream sharing in paired dreamwork increases the discusser’s empathy for the dreamer but not vice versa.
  • Jenny McGarry gives us a summary of content for her upcoming Dream Conference presentation. She discusses how dream content associations can amplify the meaning of current events in the dreamer’s life.
  • Upcoming Events - Margaret Bowater signals the hope that our postponed DNANZ Conference will be able to proceed next year in March.
All the best for the rest of the year and holiday season.

Lyn Papp (Editor)


TRANSFORMING THE DARKNESS: A Presentation by Marg Toland on Zoom. Report by Marie Brand

Marg described her case-work with a young Pasifika woman, M, 26, who had begun  training as a Social Worker, and was unexpectedly traumatised by her meeting with a client who reported being raped. M’s body seemed quite frozen as she described a recurring nightmare of falling down a tunnel in darkness and feeling trapped. The client’s trauma had triggered recent memories of being raped by her own grandfather X, while living in a social system where the young ones were controlled by the elders.

A genogram showed that M was one of many siblings, that she had few loving relationships and that her favourite grandfather G had died when she was 11years old. There were many emotional and verbal abuse relationships within the family, and church elders were also implicated in power relationships.

Marg implemented two interventions. The first was Self-Havening Touch, as described in videos by Robin Youngson (e.g. The client is taught to self-soothe by touching or stroking their face, hands and /or arms whilst being guided verbally and using distractions, to think about something else, (e.g. describe a pleasant walk), or problem solve in a light-hearted way (e.g. say all the words you can think of beginning with C), or calming affirmations (e.g. “I am safe”). This process generates chemical reactions in the brain which have calming effects on the person.

The limbic brain is the place where emotions and memory of a trauma is stored and can be later triggered (as had happened with M). For such a memory to be created the event itself is deeply disturbing and inescapable. It must occur in a landscape of high stress in which the person cannot exert any emotional control and finally, must take place where its meaning is linked to poor attachment (for example an abusive relationship). So Havening Touch uses the chemical processes inherent in gentle touch accompanied by a calming experience (in the brain) to counter the effects of trauma (stored in memory in the brain. This has been described by brothers Donald and Steven Ruden.) ( ). M became calmer as she stroked her own hands and arms.

Marg’s second intervention was Dreamwork. She asked M to revisit the nightmare, drawing it on the white board with the intention of extending the dream. M was asked to imagine what would happen next when she was trapped and falling through the dark tunnel. This was difficult for M to imagine, so Marg suggested recalling her Grandfather G. M spontaneously extended her drawing, which described reaching the end of the tunnel, and emerging to standing herself alongside her dearly loved grandfather G. Following this action M stood very still in silence, an engaging few moments....finally M announced softly, “I never grieved his passing.”

In 3 more sessions, they did body work for expressing anger safely (e.g. stomping around the room), reflection on spirituality (e.g. John 2, 13-16) and on the four aspects of experience using Via Positiva, Via Negativa, Via Creativa, and Via Transformativa from Original Blessings by Matthew Fox.

M reported that she subsequently shared her story (relating to the over-bearing authority figures in her life) with one of her siblings with whom she had a reasonably good relationship, saying “I no longer accept this kind of authority.” She felt an immediate mood change and announced “I am free.”

This case study shows the potential for trauma removal with enhanced personal awareness and control that can be achieved by dreamwork and havening techniques.

Post-script concerning Technology: Although DNANZ has been using Zoom for committee meetings as a result of Covid 19 restrictions, this was our first Zoom slide-show presentation. Notwithstanding some hiccoughs, there may be further DNANZ Zoom presentations.


USING SELF-HAVENING TOUCH WITH A CLIENT’S DREAM                  by Marg Toland, RN, Dip Csg

My client Jessie, age 20, recently came for help, the issue being thoughts of self-harm. Currently feeling at a low point in her life, she was aware that she could go back to cutting herself, which began when she was 17. One positive feeling was, she had recently enrolled in a training course to be an electrician, and with this came a belief in an opportunity to move forward.Jessie shared at her first session the following dream. Uncertain as to when this dream first occured, it was significant and vivid. 
Dream report: I’m in a bubble-like spaceship with a weird lizard-like creature, which is green, and it has a tail and pad-like feet. We are fighting and I’m trying to push it out, down an open hole at the bottom.

My background as a midwife caused me to be curious about Jessie's drawing. I enquired about her family history, her parents' relationship, her attachments and the events surrounding her birth and early childhood. The scene she had drawn showed the bubble-like space, and the lizard-like creature with a tail, pad-like feet, big head and eyes; and its posture was clearly identifiable alongside images of a developing embryo in utero at 6 weeks gestation.                                                                         

This dream heralded the beginning of nurturing her "Self" and being able to experience emotional balance and caring for her inner child. To support Jessie's dream work and healing progress of childhood traumatic experiences I introduced Facilitated-Self Havening Touch. This is a developing science with research into Neuro-Psycho-Sensory therapy addressing difficulty in regulating emotions, panic disorder, PTSD and depression, due to traumatic encoding in the amygdala of a traumatic inescapable event. More about this to be shared at the Dream Conference. 
This article comes from Brother Kevin Dobbyn, Ph.D,
a keynote speaker at our Conference in March.

A dark night of the soul?

At our inaugural Dream Network Conference someone asked what the difference was between ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’. At the time I did not have an answer. Since then, an attempt at an answer has been forming in my mind. Part of the information I gather to inform my thinking is taking note of my own dreams and listening carefully to those others share with me. I have a friend who has been sharing his dreams with me over the last five years.
This person has more recently taken to writing, somewhat philosophically and yet all the while noting his dreams and experiences within a faith tradition that used to wax and wane and is becoming more consciously lived and researched. He has shared the following inner experience with me. Although I have not been able to talk with him in detail, I will quote him here and then pose a few questions, perhaps more to myself and to you the reader, to whet our appetites for wonder. We may be challenged as to how we might learn from those inner experiences that we all have - dreams or moments of alternate consciousness:
Boiling Water
I was lying down, in bed in my apartment, three years ago. There was a window big enough that I could see the sky. As I was going from thought to thought, I started to feel an odd sensation that I can only describe as a tingly feeling. Then it shifted into some kind of electrical sensation – I have been electrocuted before, so I could recognise the feeling.

The rush of energy intensified and became painful; it began to expand and take my entire legs and arms at equal speed. It was taking my whole body from the furthermost part slowly making its way to the core of my being, to my heart. That electrical sensation changed into a burning one, really intense as if it would have been painful, but I felt no pain. I have never been burnt, but the closest I could think to describe it is as if I were in boiling water.
Suddenly, my body was in this state of ‘boiling water’ sensation. I could feel my whole being consumed by this ‘fire’ that was not consuming at all, and yet was burning. The sensation was intense, painful but not harmful. I then perceived what I would describe as levitation. I was conscious so I do not believe I levitated but it felt like I was indeed levitating.
Then, my ‘boiling water’ body started to float and the burning continued increasing in ferocity. And then the experience changed totally; in less than a second I was transported somewhere else; as sudden as the flick of a light switch. One moment on my bed, the next being taken somewhere else, faster than fast; as if sucked by some kind of vacuum. I could see my surroundings stretch visually converting into blurred lines while travelling through some kind of tunnel.
Eventually I was floating though I could feel nothing physically but was fully aware once more, fully conscious of who I was, wondering where I was. I was floating in what could be space, as if outside earth, though I could see no stars or planets. It was like a vast obscure space, not dark as in evil, but dark as in full, full of nothing and yet completely full of everything.
I felt embraced like ‘someone important to someone else.’ My whole body was with me but I could not feel it as part of me anymore. I was there for what seemed a long time when all of a sudden the same tunnel caught me and took me back to my bed.
The experience, although it must have been less than three minutes, felt like it lasted for hours especially when I was in this blank space being transported.


He mentioned that the dream/experience took him by surprise; he had not been seeking an experience. He regards this as a mystical experience. He doesn’t drink or do drugs. He is familiar with Christian mystical literature. The paradox of mystical experiences is there when he speaks of dark night as full of nothing and yet full completely of everything – it is reminiscent of Meister Eckhart (1260-1328). It is also reminiscent of the paradoxes found in mystical writing in the other Christian mystics as well as in the Sufi and Zen Buddhist traditions. What is happening here? What is he searching for? What has he seen? Understood? Where might this lead him? In our conversation he linked this with his soul? What connection does this have with soul? This seems to be an entirely gratuitous experience not of his own directing. What might we understand about the soul from this report?
Dream Sharing to Promote Empathy   Margaret Bowater
    A recent issue of the academic journal Dreaming published an interesting research article exploring the value of dream-sharing in promoting empathy towards the dreamer. Previous research has mainly concentrated on the ways in which dreams contribute to self-awareness and problem-solving. Dr Mark Blagrove of the Psychology Department at Swansea University in Wales recruited a range of volunteers who worked in 22 pairs for up to half an hour, using a process in which one person shared a dream and responded to a sensitive questionnaire asked by the other, the discusser. This included exploring connections between the dream and waking life. The researchers’ theory assumed that dreams are typically simulations of social experience based on aspects of the dreamer’s real life, as well established in current research.
   The psychologists used a 12-point empathy scale to measure the level of empathic understanding revealed before and after each example of dream-sharing. The results overall showed a significant increase in empathy in the discusser’s attitude toward the dream-sharer (though not the other way round), based on the emotion and level of self-disclosure. In addition, the dreamer often revealed more information and emotion than had been expressed before working with the dream.
    This outcome supports the value of dream-sharing in therapy, or with a trusted friend, or in small groups.

Reference: Blagrove, M, et al, Dream Sharing and the Enhancement ofEmpathy: Theoretical and Applied Implications,” in Dreaming, 2021, Vol 31:No 2, pp 128-139, published by the American Psychological Assn.

DEVELOPMENTS in the SCIENCE of DREAMWORK            Margaret Bowater
A major focus of dreamwork practitioners has been the question of how closely our night-time dreams relate to our waking behaviour. Is a dream a disguised expression of unacceptable urges underlying consciousness, as Freud believed? Or does it reflect a current pattern of behaviour needing attention? Does a nightmare predict a looming danger? Does a given image have a universal meaning?
   A relatively new tool available (free) to dream-researchers is the Sleep and Dreams Database which Kelly Bulkeley has been developing over the last decade. He has gathered several thousand dreams online, from different cultures, journals, published surveys, etc, to gain as wide a range as possible; and has created an economical system of analysis using strings of words related to a given theme, such as sex, religion, anger or death – without having to study each dream. Using any given theme, he has been able to calculate its average prevalence in a certain population of dreamers, thus providing a baseline against which to compare any new set of dreams.
   A particularly interesting application has been the “blind” analysis of personality from long-term dream journals, enabling a researcher to draw quite reliable inferences about the dreamer – not the actual events that occurred, but their emotional impact. I have described an example of this work in a previous article, where Bulkeley drew 23 inferences about a woman’s personal development during a 30-year span; of which she confirmed 20 as accurate and only one as wrong. On his website he now provides a detailed analysis of another woman’s journal, Brianna, with a similar degree of accuracy. (You can look this up for yourself on Google.)
   The implications of this work are many. One is that the language of dreams can provide accurate information about the emotional concerns and waking interests of the dreamer – a finding that may be valuable to biographers as well as clinicians.


By Jennifer McGarry, Reg Psychotherapist

   At the conference I will be talking about how dream objects and their associations are often clues to a deeper hidden meaning into our conscious process, acting as soul guides.
I would like to share the following quotation and relate it to an experience I had after a friend shared her dream with me. I was struck by how profound associations are and how they reveal emotional and psychological significance to give wisdom to the dreamer.
   The following quotation is from the book Dreams: A Portal to the Source, by Edward C Whitmont and Sylvia Perera (pg. 34) This book is used as one of my references in my presentation. They explain how associations can be amplified for the dreamer, and when given the time and space to be talked through can promote a deeper understanding.


“ the psychological context of a dream-consists in the web of associations in which the dream is naturally embedded. It should therefore be an absolute rule to assume that every dream, and every part of the dream, is unknown at the outset, and to attempt an interpretation only after carefully taking up the context. We can then apply the meaning we have discovered to the text of the dream itself and see whether this yields a fluent reading, or rather whether a satisfying meaning emerges." (CW,12par 48)


    In my friend’s dream she was exploring what the association of her hometown represented in her dream even though she had left over fifty years ago. She had an epiphany that shed light on a current event that she was then able to process and enlighten her, regarding a loss that she was still grieving.
   What was so poignant was when given an opportunity to penetrate the association in a current dream, she saw how the past linked her to the present, giving context to current events occurring in her life. At the outset of sharing her dream she had no idea of what the significance of the dream meant.
   Similarly, it has been my experience that, until I learned the art of giving space and time to a dream, the associations in the dreams had impacted me without me being conscious of them. They stayed latent in my memory and because of lasting associations accompanying the images, I was able to access meaning from these dreams long after I had had them. This serves as a reminder that the power of association (audible, visual and kinaesthetic) is vital to dream work.
   I am looking forward to exploring this more at the conference in March.


As 2021 comes to an end, with such a long lockdown in Auckland, we’re all chafing at the bit to return to visiting with family and friends. Even getting a haircut has become a longed-for luxury! But the Covid virus is lurking at the edges, so we still have to protect ourselves…
We are still hoping to proceed with our scheduled Conference at St Francis Retreat Centre on March 4-6th, though Hilary Lovelace has had to pull out (for family reasons). Most of those enrolled have kept their money in so we should still have a good-sized group attending. We’ll confirm it in mid February, when we can be more sure. Please ensure you’ve been double-vaccinated for your own and others’ safety.
Meanwhile, here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy festive season!
Margaret Bowater
Our new web address
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