The Dream World

EP61: Dream Group Leaders

February 19, 2024 Amina Feat. Justina Lasley Season 2 Episode 27
The Dream World
EP61: Dream Group Leaders
The Dream World
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Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Justina Lasley talks about what makes a successful dream group leader. You do not need a fancy degree or decades of experience to help others work with their dreams. All you need is commitment and an ethical love for dream work! Fostering a safe space for people to talk about dreams is very important work. We also discuss Montague Ullman's guidelines for working with dreams in the community.

Justina Lasley, M.A. is the founder of the Institute for Dream Studies, an internationally recognized certification program that promotes the understanding and value of dreams. She is the creator of DreamSynergy, the comprehensive process with proven results for uncovering dream meaning leading to personal transformation. 

Click here to donate & support my dream to attend the IASD Conference 2024!

Justina's Links
Dream Synergy Website
March 2-24 Workshop
Honoring the Dream Handbook
Wake Up to Your Dreams

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00;00;00;00 - 00;00;21;29
Am I dreaming right now by some miracle? And of course, the support of all of our friends and followers. I will actually be going to the Netherlands for the International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference this year, and I am so excited. But I still need your support and your donations so that I can have a successful trip and not get stuck out there and have a place to stay and all of that good stuff.

00;00;21;29 - 00;00;43;20
So please, please, please, if you have it in your heart to donate even $1, I would really, really appreciate it. And I can't wait to show you all of the amazing content that we create out there and all of the podcast episodes and awesome research that we learn about. That being said, I reached out to today's podcast guest after reading one of her books on how to become a good dream work leader.

00;00;43;22 - 00;01;18;14
So please welcome Justina Lasley. Thank you for inviting me to be part of your podcast. I am the  founder of the Institute for Dream Studies and author of a cover book on Dreams Wake Up to Your Dreams and Honoring Your Dream for Dream Group Leaders. 

So how did you first get interested in Dreams? 

Well, it was in 1990, and until that point, I really didn't pay much attention to my dreams.
I didn't know that dreams were important, and I just had not had the fortune of meeting somebody who told me that until Jeremy Taylor came to our church to and preached. But I was not there. But that just piqued my interest. He was actually preaching about dreams. And so I listened to the tape and that was it. I just it was like I'd been waiting my whole life to hear about something that intrigued me as a child.

I was very interested in the creative part of my dreams and and really wanted to share them for my family was more of an analytical, scientific engineering minded family and they really didn't have that space or know that dreams were important either. And so I never had had an audience for sharing my dreams. And I joined the dream group at our church that our minister started.

And I shared my dream and I was like, Wow, that is the best look at my life. I just couldn't believe the the truth of my life and a dream. So I just became infatuated, started working in the dream group, and then I began leading the dream group. And then I started other drawing groups because other people got interested, and then because I had not majored in psychology and really didn't have the real background in psychology, I went back to get my masters in Transpersonal psychology with an emphasis on dreams.

One thing led to the next, and I have loved every minute. Well, mostly every moment. Yeah. That's wonderful. I love your work that you have done as a Dream Group leader. I actually found out about you through your book Honoring the Dream, The Handbook for Group Leaders. And it's been so helpful to me because I do a lot of, you know, dream groups and things, and I always reference the exercises you have in there about different ways to look at dream symbols and embody the dream symbols to find more meaning in them.

What interests you in terms of teaching people how to become a dream group leader? What got you interested in that? 

Once I started seeing how my dreams were impacting my life and helping me to make important changes in my life, that required a big challenge that I wasn't sure I was ready for. My dreams were being so helpful and supportive and informative, and I just began to see the truth of my life in a way that I had never been able to do it and really moved toward the authentic self instead of the self that had been dictated by parental values and community school and things that sometimes didn't really feel right for me.

But I didn't know anything other than that. And then my dreams started telling me who I was authentically and really giving me courage to try and do things that I had never done before and see myself in a more positive light. So I thought, Wow, you know, this is when I thought I should start the dream groups and to help other people.

And so I did start several. But it was as much as I could do. I had three daughters and all the other things that I was doing. And so I've got to help more people hear this truth of the dream. My target audience was the world, and I just wanted to get this wonderful gift that we're given to have and let them know about it.

So I thought, I'm going to have to write the Honoring the Dream book so that more people, more drink group leaders will have a resource to really support them in leading their dream groups and just having a textbook right there in their laps that like you said, I've had the exercises and everything and so I did that well.

I still didn't feel like I was reaching everybody that might be interested in pursuing work in the field of dreams. So I thought I should really start a program. And that's when I developed. And 2005, we actually started the program in first class for the Institute for Dream Studies. And it was it was an amazing thing because I just created it out of like nothing and created an institute.

00;06;04;07 - 00;06;35;22
And people actually signed up and came. And it was amazing that first day where they showed up and at that time it was in person. And even, you know, that first class people were from all over and some in Charleston but Atlanta and different areas. And it was amazing. And we did one year of class and then at the end of one year, I said, you know, I don't think we're finished in this learning process.

00;06;35;22 - 00;07;06;01
I said, Would your life another year of the training? And they all stayed down, which I couldn't believe. So we had a two year program and at the beginning it was in person. And then we started having people from Iceland and the Netherlands and travel became so complicated and I started doing more and more online programs. Now, Linda mastrangelo is the new director of the Institute of This and Teaching the certification program.

00;07;06;05 - 00;07;32;06
And we have an incredible class this year. People in the classes from Israel and Guatemala and Japan and London, and we always have a small class, about less than ten people, so that it's very individualized and personalized. And this now, you know, I just feel like all these people are going out and doing wonderful work in the world.

00;07;32;06 - 00;07;58;01
We have several graduates from Israel and one of them is developing a program to work with nightmares after the war started this past fall. And she's just doing incredible work of helping people through their dreams to process and just have the courage and the stamina to get through this difficult time in history. How do you structure your program?

00;07;58;01 - 00;08;26;08
Do you meet weekly or how often? Well, all the work is online. Online classes several times a month. And then we have drawing group work where they work together online, they form dream groups and that is I think now it's a weekly program for the drawing groups. So maybe every other week and then they do their level two and stuff.

00;08;26;08 - 00;08;50;07
They start reaching out to the community and leading their own dream groups. But there's a lot of involvement of doing their own work. I have always felt like this was so important for anybody that's going to work in any field of psychology and certainly with dream studies that we have to do our own work first so we don't get confused when we're helping.

00;08;50;07 - 00;09;20;02
Other people don't want to project our issues and our own experiences on others. And it's such an easy thing to do with dreams and thinking that we can interpret somebody else's dream when actually we can use their dream. But we have to accept that that's our life experiences. That's coming up with those interpretations of the dream. So all of that is done in the classes.

00;09;20;02 - 00;09;46;25
A lot of working together with all the new platforms for education online. It's really exciting, interactive way of learning for our students. Montague Oakman It's like the basis for a lot of the dream work practices we use today. Can you tell me a little bit about who he was and how you draw inspiration from his previous work? Yes.

00;09;46;25 - 00;10;25;00
And I was fortunate to, you know, know him and do some of his workshops at the International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference that he was he's a psychologist. He was. And he started really liking the dream as an avenue to really diving deep into the personal consciousness and using group work. To do this. He started seeing and gathering groups of people, having them share their dreams that people got a lot out of it.

00;10;25;00 - 00;10;59;25
Not only the dream of sharing the dream, but the people listening to the dream. And he provided a lot of safety for that and believed that anybody in the group could not be harmed as long as we had the safe precautions in line. And he liked the idea of having a dream later like I do. But he gave that threat of forming the group to groups themselves, like how they wanted to be formed.

00;11;00;03 - 00;11;39;26
But there were certain rules and regulations that he suggested as a safety net for the dream. The one that he's really known for is if it were my dream and prefacing all of our comments, when we reflect back to the dreamer on their dreams, for people that don't understand that I may be in a dream group with you and some other people, and I share my dream with the group, and then we open it up basically for reflection on the dream and the people in the group respond from their own experience.

00;11;40;02 - 00;12;17;20
And they really have to understand that I'm not telling just Tina what her dream means, but I'm responding from the place that if I had had this dream, like for you, I mean, if you had had this dream, then this is what it would have meant for you. And so we say, if this were my dream, and I encourage my students to say as my dream, because sometimes it's really hard for people to really believe it's their dream, they still are projecting on the other person they say, If it were my dream, I think you have a problem with your family.

00;12;17;22 - 00;12;47;12
And I'm like, No, no, no, you are you you are going to tell that person that they. But do you you want to reflect on on your relationship with your family? Does it bring up something for your family? Montague You all created a sort of tight process for dream group work. I tend to loosen up on that process and make it a little shorter than his original thing.

00;12;47;12 - 00;13;20;22
So in my book, I have the condensed the Dream synergy method of the almond after a little bit simpler process, but it's the same idea of sharing the dream, reflecting on the dream, having the dreamer listen to the reflections, having the dream reflect that, how they're feeling about what people are saying. And then coming to meaning and connecting that meaning to their waking life and trying to see how they can make changes in their life.

00;13;20;28 - 00;13;43;03
So I'm glad you brought him up. A lot of people don't know. And he really laid the foundation for this dream group work. Yeah, definitely. I use that. If it were my dream concept all the time. And I've noticed a difference when people use that language versus saying, Oh, well, maybe your dream means this. It's it's totally different and it's received completely different.

00;13;43;04 - 00;14;09;14
So yeah, it, it's quite important. Yes. Good for you. So what do you think are the benefits of sharing your dreams with other people? I'll speak for me. It has changed, really. I want to say everything about my life, but the subtitle of my Wake Up to Your Dreams book is Transform your Relationships, Career and Health While You Sleep.

00;14;09;19 - 00;14;58;00
And that's what I see when I look at all the thousands of people I've worked with relationships. This is just such a great tool for seeing ourselves and the parts of ourselves and other people and seeing the relationship between people and relationships. And this is whether in a romantic relationship, a family relationship, a friend relationship or work relationship, it is given me and I see that it's given other people a way to see ourselves and take responsibility for our own actions and our own thoughts in a way that I've never seen it happen with other ways of therapy.

00;14;58;03 - 00;15;31;04
It's so clear in the dream to see that and in career how many times it has helped clients make major career decisions and really move toward their dreams and their desires instead of just following what the path that was laid out for them that their parents wanted for them. Or they just went an easy route because what they really wanted to do was they thought it was too difficult and impossible.

00;15;31;04 - 00;16;03;15
And the dream has been such a support for that and it really encourages them, supports them, give them information, ideas for transforming that career path. And then the help for myself is it's been so powerful because I have autoimmune disease like lupus, and it has been so informative even for the doctors. They can't believe how it will give us information that otherwise we have not had.

00;16;03;16 - 00;16;32;07
And I have so many instances of people that lives have been saved because something came up in a dream. Like I was just thinking today about a colleague in Alaska who had told me had a dream of a plane and it was flying and there was even a four cylinder plane and it started leaking oil and then it started smoking and it crashed and burned flames.

00;16;32;09 - 00;17;00;20
And he said the minute that he woke up from that dream, he thought, Something's wrong with my heart. There was nothing that any indication otherwise. But, you know, it's that self sense. So he went for checkups and stuff and nothing shut up. And weeks later, he was walking along, started sweating and feeling really weird. And he went to the emergency room and he had 90% blockage of his heart.

00;17;00;24 - 00;17;25;24
That had sailed for some reason to show up on the test and avoided a major heart attack with paying attention and being ready for that kind of thing. But, you know, there's so many stories of cancer and things like that that the medical tests were not showing. And the dream kept that recurring dream of coming back until the person actually paid attention.

00;17;25;26 - 00;17;51;02
So in all these areas and many more is, you know, you can speak to all of this that I'm speaking to, it makes a big difference in life. Yeah, definitely. Dreams are incredible. I've also heard some interesting stories and even for myself, how my dreams have guided me through life. The health dreams are so fascinating to me. How do you think that our subconscious or our dreams know things that our conscious mind doesn't?

00;17;51;05 - 00;18;15;27
Yes, great question. And it's something I dealt with for so long, and having been more of an analytical, you know, raised in this analytical family, I had to, you know, the encyclopedia that tell them the dictionary and all that stuff in books, look it up and go, That's where we got our answers, you know, all of that kind of thing and not some with them.

00;18;16;00 - 00;18;46;15
I mean, that was just not respected at all that I could not. So at conferences and different workshops I go to, I would just be the doubting one like, how can this be? That's impossible that I could know before the medical community could know. And then one day I was at a workshop and I remember so well, I woke up to the sound of a bird chirping right outside my window.

00;18;46;18 - 00;19;16;12
And I thought, You know, I have such respect for birds and their innate ability to do things without any training or textbooks. And I lay there and I was like, why do we as human beings believe that birds and animals know and can live their lives out of this inner wisdom? But yeah, we as human beings don't believe we can do that.

00;19;16;14 - 00;19;46;26
And I thought, why would a bird or a dog or something have something that we as human beings don't have? Why would we not be created with that? This is that was the opening for me. It took me to looking at what I did believe to see why maybe I wanted to change my mind. And then I thought about the body as I kept having dreams that were helpful and stuff that the body is created to stay in tune and be in balance.

00;19;47;00 - 00;20;12;05
One thing does this way. I mean, we normally our body wants to heal. It wants to be healthy, and it compensates for all of these things, all the time. So why wouldn't my body know before a medical test could see it, telling those it's out of balance, something is wrong here, and it gives a sense through symbolic, metaphorical language.

00;20;12;05 - 00;20;34;05
It gives us that for our unconscious and our dreams, bringing it to consciousness. Yeah, that makes complete sense, you know, And I think it's just about being able to be in tune with your dreams, to be able to understand the messages and open up to the feeling of what the dream could be telling you. Yes. I can't wait for some of your listeners to start paying attention.

00;20;34;05 - 00;21;06;22
It's an amazing thing when you do, and most people go through their whole lives never having paid attention to their dreams. And my mother was one, never remembering her dreams. And she was 19. And before she remembered her first dream, and it was after she'd come to a lecture that I was doing and then she went home. And because she had tuned up on, you know, her mind and opened up to the dream that a dream came to her.

00;21;06;22 - 00;21;34;17
And she was so excited. And it was actually the first recall of a dream. Nine words. And then she started writing their dreams down. Empanada Kitchen. Yes, I've really thought about it a lot through the years because I've worked with so many people that some remember their dreams easily. They remember their childhood dreams. They just have this dream experience and rich dream life throughout their life, enlisted dreams and things like that.

00;21;34;17 - 00;22;03;21
It all just come so natural to them. And then there are people that really want to. And the dreams, it's really hard to touch, you know. But what I've found is the main ingredient for remembering is intention of wanting, really wanting. And then we have this motto that I created for dream synergy, and it's dream plus action. It was change.

00;22;03;26 - 00;22;29;08
And so, you know, we're all getting the dreams 5 to 6 dreams tonight. But unless we take action to remember and to write down and to process those dreams, we don't change. We have to do that. And, you know, when people say, Oh, I really want to remember my dreams, I heard you talk a while ago and I've been trying to remember my dreams.

00;22;29;08 - 00;22;53;21
And I said, How are you trying? Like, what are you doing? And they said, Well, I've just been hoping that. And I said, Have you taken any real steps to remembering? Like, are you putting paper and pencil that your bad so you can capture the dreams? No, I'm not doing that. Or, you know, using a phone, the audio version, you know, just to record the dreams in the night.

00;22;53;21 - 00;23;17;22
And I ask them, are these tips that I had given them? And they were like, No, I really haven't done that yet. And I think we'll commit to trying one or two things and see what happens then, like people give up real quickly. I spoke to a retirement hub recently and somebody came up to me afterwards and said, Oh, I'm so disappointed.

00;23;17;22 - 00;23;39;21
I did what you said and I put my paper and pencil ask asked, incubated a question, wrote it down, I put it under my pillow and they said, I even took your book under my pillow. And I didn't remember dream. And I said, So how many nights now? And she was like, Oh, just last night after your lecture.

00;23;39;21 - 00;24;08;20
And I said, Well, so how many years have you not done that? And she started laughing, and I said, Give it a chance, you know, Yeah, I'm on it now, like I'm ready for that dream. And sometimes that occurs and sometimes it takes some space and time to really believe that we are interested. But if we have the intention, we take the action of really being ready to capture the dream in the night.

00;24;08;21 - 00;24;31;16
I don't know about you. I mean about I really have to write my dream down in the night generally, or I do not remember the details and I don't turn on the light. I just reach for the paper and pencil and just in the dark, make some notes, and then enough to tap into that in the morning and then sell them the details in the morning.

00;24;31;16 - 00;24;53;01
But there are all kinds of things that we can do of taking time when we first wake up. Like I go through a list of familiar dream things for me and I go, Oh, was that about my husband maybe, or was I at the beach in that dream? And then I'll just keep asking these questions and open up to thinking about who was it about?

00;24;53;01 - 00;25;15;26
And then I'm like, Oh, let's go to have a dream about Carol. And then all of a sudden I start pulling the dream, but it takes some tension and time. Yeah, it takes a lot of commitment. I notice that people want instant results, which can be frustrating as a dream coach. Sometimes people want instant results. They're like, I tried this for a few days or even a few weeks, and I'm like, It's a lifelong journey.

00;25;15;27 - 00;41;16;16
My process is, you know, I've spent years like honing it in and figuring out what works for me. I write down my dreams every day that I can remember them. And I love doing that. You know, I fell in love with that process.