Dream Research and Ethics

have been a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams since 1991, and read their publications in order to keep in touch with the main developments in  the growing science of Dream Studies. I am listed on their website as NZ Contact Person.

Go to their Website for more information:  www.asdreams.org.

I have successfully presented workshops at two of their International Conferences, in Hawaii 1998, and Berkeley, California, 2003.

I continue to collect new examples of different kinds of memorable dreams, to be used in my seminars and publications, for the purpose of educating the public. If you would like to offer me one of your dreams for this purpose, please contact me initially by email.

Awareness, respect and sensitivity are needed when you work with someone else’s dream, whether a client, friend, family member, group member or casual acquaintance.

Keep these principles in mind:

1. The dreamer owns the dream, like a poem or painting, and is the ultimate interpreter of its meaning. Others may assist her/him towards a fuller understanding, after appropriate contracting to do so.

2. You as assistant can help by asking open questions, noticing connections, offering possibilities, in a collaborative dialogue, but not imposing your view onto the dreamer.

3. Different methods may be valid in exploring a dream, and may yield more than one layer of meaning, eg a figure may symbolize part of the dreamer (subjectively), and/or someone else (objectively). Possible meanings may be “left hanging” for further thought.

4. The dreamer has a right to be forewarned that a dream may open up unexpected feelings or memories; to be treated respectfully; and to discontinue exploration if s/he feels too uncomfortable.  This should be part of contracting.

5. The dreamer has a right to confidentiality about her/his dream and its meaning, unless other-wise agreed, eg for purposes of training, supervision, research or education. If you wish to talk or write publicly about someone else’s dream, obtain written permission to do so, and remove or change any details that would identify the dreamer.

6. Sometimes a dream seems to imply a message or warning for someone else, The dreamer should check it first with a trusted friend to decide whether it needs to be passed on; if agreed, it should be reported in a tentative manner, acknowledging possible inaccuracies. The first principle of ethics is, “First do no harm,” such as, in this case, causing unnecessary anxiety.


Revised 2016.  M. Bowater

Website: International Association for the Study of Dreams: www.asdreams.org . Authoritative, multi-disciplinary, focused on research. Publishes magazine Dreamtime and academic journal Dreaming.

Barrett, Deirdre, ed. Trauma and Dreams, 1996, Harvard University Press, USA. (appr. $150).
Excellent selection of research articles on the range of post-trauma dreams.

Bowater, Margaret, Healing the Nightmare, Freeing the Soul - a Practical Guide for Dreamwork, 2016, Calico Publishing, $40.
Includes guidelines and self-help tips; uses 80 NZ dreams.

Bulkeley, Kelly, Introduction to the Psychology of Dreaming, 1997, Praeger, USA.
Sound, short historical summary of western approaches to dreaming.

Bulkeley, Kelly, Transforming Dreams – Learning Spiritual Lessons from the Dreams You Never Forget, 2000. Wiley, NY.
Explores the effects of visionary dreams.

Bulkeley. Kelly & Bulkley, Patricia, Dreaming Beyond Death – A Guide to Pre-Death Dreams and Visions, 2005, Beacon Press, Boston.
Authoritative, clear.

Bulkeley, Kelly, Big Dreams - The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion

Hartmann, Ernest, Dreams and Nightmares – the New Theory on the Origin and Meaning of Dreams, 2001. Perseus pbk.
Sound discussion of scientific theory.

Hill, Clara, ed. Dreamwork in Therapy – Facilitating Exploration, Insight and Action. 2004. American Psychological Assn, Washington DC. ($120).
Authoritative textbook on practice.

Jung, Carl, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 1967, Fontana, London.
Autobiography of the Swiss dream-scholar who developed theory of the Collective Unconscious.

Kelsey, Morton, God, Dreams and Revelation, 1968, Augsburg, USA.
Scholarly research on dreams in the Bible and Church history – background for Christians.

Krippner, Bogzaran & Percia de Carvalho, Extraordinary Dreams and How to Work with Them, 2002, State University of NY (appr $55).
Authoritative summary of recent research, clear.

Morse, Melvin and Perry, Paul, Parting Visions, 1995, Piatkus, London.
Presenting clear readable evidence of pre-death visionary experiences. Also Closer to the Light, 1992, children’s nde’s.

Sanford, John, Dreams – God’s Forgotten Language, 1984, Crossroad, NY.
An Episcopalian priest and Jungian analyst challenges the Church to listen to dreams in the Bible and in life.

Savary, Berne and Williams, Dreams and Spiritual Growth, 1984, Paulist Press, NY.
Christian-Jungian approach, offering 37 practical dreamwork techniques.

Siegel, Alan, Dream Wisdom, 2002, Celestial Arts, Ca. 
Good introduction, including material from his own research on trauma dreaming.

Van de Castle, Robert, Our Dreaming Mind – the role of dreams in politics, art, religion and psychology, 1994, Aquarian, UK (appr $50).
Comprehensive survey.


Note: Many books can be obtained secondhand through websites like Amazon; Book Depository, Trade Me.