In 1989 a half dozen Swedish dream workers came together from above the Polish Circle to the very south of Sweden and, in consultation with me, formed the Drömgruppsforum. All had had many leadership training sessions with me on my bi-annual visits to Sweden beginning in 1976. The goal of the organization was to educate the public on the importance of dreams, train new leaders in the experiential dream group process, and to alert all levels of mental health workers to the value of training in group dream work.
There are currently 77 members of the DGF, of whom 20 are on the training faculty. The make-up of the membership as well as of the faculty includes people from all walks of life as well as the various helping professions. There are now dream groups in nearly all the major cities in Sweden. The dreamwork has spread to other countries, notably Finland. DrömDialog is the official newsletter of the society.
The note that follows was written shortly after my last visit (May 8-20, 1 998).
To the Members of the DrömgruppsForum -
It's just a week since I left Sweden. The two weeks I spent there will always stand out in my memory. After working in three cities (Gothenburg, Växjö and Stockholm) and meeting with DGF members in the last two and in Fortuna, I, more than ever before, realized how unique and significant is the work you are doing. Unique because you are the only organization offering safe and effective dream work to anyone who wants to benefit from their own dream life. Significant because you have grown large enough to make an impact on the community.
I want to stress your uniqueness because there is no other organization that I know of capable of and oriented to returning dreams to the people who dream them. Dreams, in their healing potential, bring people together in a respectful and compassionate way. The larger the scale on which this work is carried out, the more opportunities will open up for further work. For many people it will be the first time they truly make contact with the deeply honest and creative core that lodges within each of us and shapes our dreams. While everyone can benefit, there are certain target groups that are at risk and for whom dream work can serve a prophylactic purpose by helping to prevent further difficulties. Such groups include adolescents, older people, drug addicts, incest survivors, criminals, etc.
In the course of my visit I had the opportunity to learn about your activities and to offer some suggestions for the future of the organization. Having established a firm foundation, I believe the next step would be to make yourself more visible in the community and to work toward evolving an educational program that would ultimately result in integrating dream work into all levels of the educational system.
The first would involve taking advantage of various public relations opportunities to make your aims and goals known to the community. In addition to that, you have a diversity of professions among your members, such as the various health and mental health workers, teachers, doctors, engineers, artists, as well as those in the business world. Each member of the DGF has the possibility and obligation to acquaint fellow workers with the organization and its goals.
Tackling the educational system may be a bit more difficult. There is a good deal of misunderstanding about dreams. The fears of parents and the concerns of administrators about introducing so experiential a program into the classroom will have to be addressed. Several of you have already made a start both in grade school and with adolescents.
Lastly, I want to say a word about Swedish hospitality. It's the best! In the course of my two weeks in Sweden I stayed in three homes, those of Kerstin Andersson, Brittmari Fellke and Ingegerd Hansson. In each instance, the warmth and caring that was extended to me moved me deeply. I want to thank them personally and also to thank all of you for the privilege of working with you on dreams.