Paper Presentation

June 27, Kerkrade: Paper Presentation Dreams as Perky Transgressors. Four Interfaces of the Religiosity of Clients and their Dreams

Based on years of working with dreams in counselling and spiritual direction, Koning (2015) has developed a working model that identifies four possible interfaces of the religious frame of reference of a client and that person’s nightly dreams. Bringing those two types of sources of giving meaning together contributes to wholeness of the psyche. The four interfaces are prototypically labelled as ‘Content’, ‘Orientation’, ‘Application’ and ‘Process’. This model will be explained and discussed. It will be illustrated with casuistic examples. All of the interfaces demand some distinctive professional competencies and communication strategies. And in each a characteristic concern can be identified which asks for a sound methodical approach

Learning Objectives:
People who attend this presentation will
– broaden their perspective on religiosity as a multi-dimensional psychological phenomenon in it’s own right (as an organised combination of interrelated ideas, experiences and practices).
– understand four possible interfaces between religiosity of clients and their nightly dreams
– will understand why bringing two sources of meaning together (religious frame of reference on the one hand and nightly dreams on the other hand) contributes to wholeness of the psyche.

Paper Abstract:

‘Content’ deals with elements of religiosity that can come up a within a single dream; one can dream about a member of congregation, a church, or an angel. The competency asked for is the ability to explore this dream content fruitful and to not mistake the imagery as pre-defined religious knowledge. The concern is whether the content needs to be taken literally or symbolically. 

‘Orientation’ puts emphasis on the fact that certain types of religious ideation and related practices can exercise an influence on the attitude and sensibilities of the clients with respect to dreams in general. Some clients can find their dreams can be divinely inspired. If the main assumptions of the spiritual director and directee differ with respect to how they are oriented towards dreams, the complex competency involved is how to bridge these views and how to stay congruent, respectful and sensible in both directions at the same time. The concern here is that it is easily overlooked by western counsellors that dreamwork can be seen by a client as a part of prayer life (when allowing active receptivity for inner imagery to be part of the prayer praxis).
‘Application’ deals with the possibility that the interpretation given to a specific single dream can exert considerable influence on parts of the client’s religious ideas, experiences and practices. The competency involved is how to become concrete with regard to these possible consequences of a dream interpretation. The concern here is where the primary locus of authority is to be placed: in the regular religious teachings or in personal authenticity?
‘Process’ deals with the possibility that doing dreamwork over a longer period of time can bring about profound changes in the inner psychological dynamics of a client. In an essential way these long term effects and shifts within the personality of the client can be experienced as religious in their own way; like being healed, being transformed, being reconciled. The concern here is that these mystical experiences are in a way autonomous and happen independently from participation in outer religious structures. The competency involved is that the spiritual director recognizes and acknowledges and affirms this as a realm of profound religious experiencing and checks the fruits of the changes in real life situations.