July 5, 1999
UCSC hosts 16th annual international dream conference July 7-10
By Jennifer McNulty
Columbine High School student Grant Taylor survived the mayhem without
injury, but he was haunted by nightmares. That first night, he dreamed
he was a wounded hero, pulling others to safety. The next night, coping
with feelings of guilt, he dreamed that he was wounded and dying.
Cover illustration by Dana Verkouteren from the book Dreamcatching by A. Siegel and K. Bulkeley
For crime victims, as well as for survivors of accidents and natural
disasters, nightmares provide a map of the process of emotional recovery.
"Grant Taylor's dreams are an example of what trauma survivors go
through," said Alan Siegel, president-elect of the Association for
the Study of Dreams, which is holding its 16th Annual International Conference
July 7-10 at UCSC. "New research shows the therapeutic value and the
limits of using dreams in diagnosing and healing the impact of traumatic
This year's conference will include a special symposium on July 9, "Nightmare
and Dream Therapies for Crime Victims," featuring the work of Barry
Krakow, whose research is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health,
and Deirdre Barrett, a clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School
and editor of the book Trauma and Dreams. In addition, a two-day
seminar will feature the latest research and clinical techniques for helping
survivors of violence, abuse, and war who suffer from recurring nightmares
as part of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"A century after Freud, contemporary psychotherapists still view
dreams as the royal road to the unconscious, and dream exploration techniques
are increasingly being used as a vehicle for therapy and emotional healing,"
The four-day conference features more than 100 events, including presentations
by academic researchers and clinicians, workshops, seminars, and dream-sharing
groups. Among the highlights:
- The keynote address by leading sleep and dream researcher William C.
Dement, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, who will discuss
the modern era of sleep and dream research following the observations of
rapid-eye movements during sleep, in a talk entitled, "Two Kinds of
Sleep? Two Kinds of Dreams?"
- Dreams and the Internet is another focus of the conference. Panel discussions
will cover topics such as dream sharing on the Internet, online vs. offline
ethics and practices of dream sharing, dream research and experimentation
on the Internet, and commercialization on the Internet. In addition, a
"Computer Cafe" will offer an ongoing drop-in place where conference
attendees can participate in dream-related activities on the Internet,
including dream chat rooms, software demonstrations, remote presentations,
resource centers, and more.
- A session on children's dreams and nightmares will be chaired by Siegel,
coauthor of the new book Dreamcatching: Every Parent's Guide to Exploring
and Understanding Children's Dreams and Nightmares. Panelists will
discuss dreams as distress signals in a child's life and gender differences
in children's dreams.
- Other session topics include Coping with Trauma and Loss; Death and
Transformation; and Dreams of Special Populations, including the elderly
and the depressed.
- Dreaming and the creative process will be examined during several sessions,
including a workshop led by Veronica Tonay, a lecturer in psychology at
UCSC. The author of The Creative Dreamer, Tonay will lead a session
about using dreams in psychotherapy with creative people. Workshops on
dreams and creative writing will also be offered, including one by Naomi
Epel, author of Writers Dreaming, which features the dreams of well-known
contemporary authors, including Stephen King, Anne Rice, and William Styron.
- Another session will feature comparative interpretations of a dream
series with panelists representing different schools of dream interpretation.
Ernest Hartmann, author of Dreams and Nightmares, will represent
the psychoanalytic approach; Jungian analyst Jane White-Lewis will represent
the Jungian view; and G. William Domhoff, professor emeritus of psychology
at UCSC and author of Finding Meaning in Dreams: A Quantitative Approach,
will represent the content-analysis approach. Domhoff is a leading advocate
of this scientific technique, which has been developed to study the nature
and meaning of dreams. He will also lead a workshop entitled "The
Joys of Content Analysis."
The Association for the Study of Dreams, based in Vienna, Virginia,
is an international organization dedicated to the investigation of dreams.
Its members represent a variety of dream-related activities, including
academic research, clinical practice, and individual study. For conference
fee information or a complete schedule of events, please visit the association's
Web site or call the association's toll-free number at 1-877-DREAMSS.
To the Currents home page
To UCSC's home page