S o m a t i c D r e a m w o r k
Just like the body, the unconscious is composed of energy. The symbolic language of this energy translates to a dream.
Somatic Dreamwork utilizes one’s dream as a portal into the central nervous system; by tuning into the “felt sense” of the dream in the nowness of the body, the client can begin to consciously access deeper layers of their inner world and, with the help of skilled facilitation, integrate them with waking life, with the body.
A client’s account of their experience with S o m a t i c D r e a m w o r k:
I come in with a dream that’s vivid and cohesive—not just a dream about making coffee or something, but a dream from a deep enough sleep where it kind of comes up from below, often accompanied by a lingering funky, haunted feeling, like something doesn’t feel right...
Once we are in session I feel excitement, but also a little shy to talk about the dream—there’s usually some part of it that I want to edit out, but I don’t, and I have a nervous sense in general that the dream might reveal something about me, something about I think or feeling about something, something that I would want to hide.
But the room is a totally neutral space, almost like a vacuum, so I’m not really afraid when I’m describing the dream—I feel absolutely 100% no judgment from Rachel. I think this part on its own is actually really healing for me.
Once I get it out and we start talking about it, it feels a little like talking about a text with a teacher—I’m able to see and understand things that I didn’t inside of the dream, which kind of unlocks the dream and it starts to open up for me.
It’s sort of like it’s a text written in a language that I can’t read, but as we begin to discuss it, I start to be able to comprehend the words and attach meaning to them—I begin to visualize it kind of like a movie where there is a code-breaking scene with graphics of the letters rearranging into their proper places, starting to make sense to the protagonist, so that the message can be read.
After the dream and my body begin to open up, we move to the table to the point-holding process.
When I’m on the table, it feels like I’m subtly back in the dream, and I find a trap door where I’m able to leave the dream, where I’m outside of it and not trapped in it anymore. It’s almost like it doesn’t feel “real” anymore, like waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn’t real, but actually feeling that in my body and not just knowing it in my rational mind.
When the dream is released, I usually also feel my body kind of float up—there’s a little bit of a spinning feeling to it like a seed pod, and I kind of see the dream from above.
At the end of the session I feel kind of euphoric and incredibly light and clean inside, like really clear cold water from a mountain.
After the session, the dream feels resolved; when I call it to my mind, I don’t feel that funky feeling—I no longer have the resistant feeling of not wanting to remember it or think about it, and if I felt fear or shame in the dream, I don’t feel the residue of those feelings anymore when I recall the dream. - S.O.
It also feels like there is a big rock inside of me and it’s starting to break up, not violently, but by little chip chip chips that break it into clean, smaller pieces in a satisfying and relieving way.
My initial fears about the dream being silly or surface-level dissipate as we talk until I feel like it doesn’t even matter—there doesn’t have to be some big important reveal; it’s more like we are looking at a jigsaw puzzle together.
Here, it feels like the tangled knot of the dream comes loose, especially in my chest, and the strands become free and sort of fly away and disappear. It’s very much the feeling of something breaking up and dissolving or dissipating, like massaging out a knot in a muscle, or like a rock in my shoe has turned into dust and then disappeared.