AMERICAN CENTER FOR THE INTEGRATION OF SPIRITUALLY TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCES

Breakout Session: Mary Culbertson, PhD

Dream Analysis in Psychotherapy, a Spiritually Transformative Experience

Abstract:

This presentation will briefly cover the way ancient cultures valued dreams and understood their relationship to the spiritual world. As well as touch upon how the “Age of Reason,” and the rise of the scientific worldview, altered the western world’s grounding in, and understanding of, the sacred mystery of life. We will explore the universal, symbolic language of the unconscious, which is common to all cultures world wide, looking at the personal unconscious and the collective archetypal unconscious. From there, we will move into clinical material, the major focus of this presentation. Asking the question, “What action is the dream wanting the dreamer to take in waking life?” we’ll explore dream examples illustrating Jungian complex and shadow dynamics. We will look at personal and collective examples of precognitive dreams, which come in the service of attempting to prepare the dreamer for future traumatic events and spiritually transformative experiences. Finally, we will focus on dreams that foretell the coming death of a loved one and even point to one’s own death as a benevolent preparation for the ultimate spiritually transforming experience of leaving this incarnation.

Presenter Bio

Mary C. Culberson, Ph.D. is a licensed Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist with 37 years experience in private practice. She has offices in Santa Rosa and Mountain View, Ca. Her doctoral degree is in Transpersonal Psychology from Sofia University (formerly the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) in Palo Alto, Ca. Dr. Culberson’s dissertation was an empirical study on synchronicity, The Relationship Between Transpersonal Symbols: Dreams and Tarot. In addition to working with many people’s dreams during the past three decades in her clinical practice, she has 40 years experience recording and working with her own dreams. She has taught courses on dreams in academic and religious settings. Her clinical orientation is Jungian, with an emphasis on active imagination and expressive art in working with dream images. She has been particularly interested in precognitive dreams, and dreams that help people prepare for their own death or the coming death of a loved one. Dr. Culberson resides in Sonoma County, Ca. with her husband Dr. Carl Culberson. They enjoy their two daughters, “son-in-love” and wonderful five-year old grandson.

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