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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Social Dream-Drawing: 'Drawing brings the inside out'

The use of individual dreams and dream material to illuminate social processes was pioneered by the work of Gordon Lawrence and his Social Dreaming methodology (1999). Participants in the matrix are invited to share recent dreams, and members of the matrix make associations to them. The hosts of the matrix 'take' these dreams, offer hypotheses that link the dreams thematically and suggest possible underlying meanings relating to the social or organizational world of the matrix. It is this use of dreams to explore the underlying issues of social systems that has led to my interest in developing a related methodology, Social Dream-Drawing. For a period of years, I have been working with groups of colleagues and professionals in related fields to develop this methodology as a means of illuminating and potentially helping to resolve emerging, but perhaps not as yet fully conscious, professional issues. I have worked with groups in the Netherlands, Chile, Germany and the U.K. Some workshops were one-day; others extended over multiple sessions and a span of months. In 2009, I entered the doctoral program of the Institute for Psycho-Social Studies at the University of West England in Bristol, U.K. specifically to undertake further research on this new methodology. This chapter contains extensive interview material with six of these participants, whose comments appear in quotations throughout, as well as quotes from the original transcript of the Chile workshop group. I am very grateful to all of these participants.