Become the Dream:
The Transforming Power of Hypnotic Dreamwork
Randal Churchill, originator of Hypnotic DreamworkTM, is a master clinician and instructor of this superlative form of therapy. In Become the Dream: The Transforming Power of Hypnotic Dreamwork, he draws from the non-analytical Gestalt perspective. Rather than interpret, Gestalt is based on experientially “becoming” aspects of the dream, acting out different parts, and then having various characters engage in dialogue.
What makes Randal Churchill’s approach and this book unique and revolutionary in the field of dreamwork, is that he has combined Gestalt dreamwork with hypnotherapy, taking it to exciting new levels.
According to Gestalt dreamwork theory, every part of a dream (no matter what else it might be) is considered to be a projected part of the dreamer. For some, this aspect of Gestalt may at first require a leap of faith. Yet as the actual dreamwork transcripts reveal, even when it is initially difficult for the dreamer to act out a negative or unappealing character, encouraging continuation of the process can lead to insights in which a certain energy or strength of that character can be integrated in a positive way to empower the dreamer. Skillful use of Gestalt dialogue between dream characters are consistently discovered to be dialogues between parts of the individual regarding significant issues. In an eclectic approach, Randal Churchill weaves hypnotic deepening, suggestion and other hypnotic techniques into the dreamwork to further ground and integrate insights derived from Gestalt methods.
Trusting our own inner wisdom isn’t always easy, but as the client is led through these processes it becomes clear that an important source of guidance can be found in dreams. Shamans, the earliest known dreamworkers, often obtained knowledge from what was called guiding spirits. Many natives still believe that power and knowledge is imparted by spirits in dreamtime. In Become the Dream, hypnotic methods are used to empower the dreamer by leading him or her into direct communication with his or her inner guidance to discover and uproot limiting personal myths or misconceptions.
Psychotherapist Rollo May said of dreams, “We can often get a more accurate and meaningful picture of the significant changes in the patient’s life from the symbols and myths he creates and then molds and recreates in his dream existence than we can from what he says.” Throughout these transcripts, Randal Churchill’s supportive style and humor encourages trust and openness, assisting the dreamer to reach those deep inner resources.
Become the Dream integrates the fields of Gestalt dreamwork and hypnotherapy, based on original work the author has been developing since 1970. With the use of various hypnotic processes, the dreamwork evolves according to what emerges – at times spontaneously progressing, for example, from a Gestalt dialogue directly into a regression to help release the effects of an initial trauma that is relevant to a current life issue.
This is not a how-to book in the usual sense, as it is written from the perspective of an educator. Using his years of personal practice, as well as being Director and instructor of the Hypnotherapy Training Institute, Randal Churchill teaches hypnotherapists and professionals in the many health and counseling fields to enrich their own practices, making them even more effective.
The first two chapters of the book provide a foundation for understanding the potential value of hypnosis, hypnotherapy, Gestalt dreamwork, and the integration of these forms of therapy. Intriguing perspectives of the significance of direct contact with the subconscious mind are developed. The third chapter gives many insights regarding developing dream recall and lucid dream skills. From there the book focuses primarily on a superb collection of verbatim transcripts of actual sessions demonstrated within an audience of therapists and hypnotherapy students. A later chapter emphasizes the author’s signature processes of elicited and guided hypnodreams. Care is given to help the reader toward a deeper understanding of these sessions through commentary by the author, selected questions and answers, and follow-up reflections from some of the dreamers.
Even the nonprofessional reader interested in personal growth through understanding the mystery of “the language of the night” can gain much from reading this very approachable book. Beyond techniques, the author’s sensitive guidance and attention in the actual transcripts make for inspiring reading, sparking an awareness of the creative and healing potential in all of us. Through understanding gleaned as a result of Hypnotic Dreamwork, truth will out!
Randal Churchill has been one of the most insightful and innovative practitioners in the field of hypnotherapy for over a quarter century. His integration of approaches to beneficially influence the subconscious mind is so clearly and compassionately demonstrated that this fascinating book is an important addition to the fields of dream therapy, hypnotism, Gestalt therapy and psychology. Become the Dream is a major breakthrough, a text of university and universal level, worthy of worldwide acclaim.
Palo Alto, CA
Ormond McGill, known as The Dean of American Hypnotists, is the author of over 25 books.