The Dream As Guide


Rules of Engagement for Dreamwork

1. For Group and Individual sessions: If you are seeing a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or counsellor, or are on medication for the treatment of mood disorders, please consult with your supervising professional to determine if participation is appropriate.

Dream processing can raise unexpected issues and emotions.

2. Follow IASD Ethics protocol [] and use Jeremy Taylor's guidelines/Toolkit [  Used by generous permission of Jeremy Taylor]

3. Attend the first meeting and the majority of meetings. 

The guidelines will be revisited and distributed at the first meeting.

Dreams are instructional, healing, and frequently entertaining.

Dreams are our own personal, information delivery device for what we need to know.

The information comes in the unusual package of the dream to get our attention. Dreams are the result of conversations between the deep self and the waking world self.  These conversations create scenarios that we follow like paths to the “aha” of recognition and understanding. Although dreams can transcend personal experience and carry meaning for a community and beyond, the meaning of the dream resides with the dreamer.

Karen Melady

…is an educator, dreamworker, community artist, and a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD*).


In 1987 she began recording and working with her dreams, initially using the methods set out in Ira Progoff's book At a Journal Workshop. Through a series of dreams she found her way to her first IASD conference in Chicago in 2009, and attended her second in Berkeley in 2012.

Practice and Study

She has led group and individual dreamwork and has participated in various dreamwork methods through IASD conferences, meetings, and online training, recently completing the Online Group Facilitator Training mentored by Jeremy Taylor.

Her continuing independent studies focus on different types of dream processing through study of her own dreams and others’, and via publications by dream workers such as Jeremy Taylor, Gayle Delaney, Scott Sparrow, Tallulah Lyons & Wendy Pannier, Kelly Bulkeley, Patricia Bulkley, Robert Moss, and IASD.

She also explores the interplay between art and dreams.


Within ourselves we create a personal encyclopedia of dream symbols and scenes, the meanings of which are dependent on our history – lived and inherited  – and what is up in the present.  And while there are some symbols that transcend geography and cultures, the way those play out in a particular dream are best understood in the context of the individual dreamer’s experience.

Paradoxically, while others may experience our dream story differently due to our different personal histories, it is a lovely wonder how oftentimes another’s experience of the dream story lines up with the dreamer’s in an “aha” moment of recognition.

This moment of common shared humanity is the sweet benefit of group dreamwork.

Projective Group Dreamwork

There are many ways to work with the multiple layers of meaning in dreams.

The projective group dreamwork method acknowledges that while we all have the ability to see meaning in dream symbols, the meaning of the dream lies within the dreamer.

Through the projective method we avoid the temptation to hold forth on what we think another’s dream means, or what the dreamer should do with the dream. This projection of our experience onto another is human, common, unconscious, and unavoidable, and it is best practice to acknowledge this and work with it.

To that end, when we respond to another dreamer’s dream story, we speak from our experience of the dream. We preface our comments with: “If it were my dream…” or “In my experience of the dream…”

I borrow heavily from the projective group dreamwork method set out by Jeremy Taylor.

We will be using his Toolkit to maintain respectful treatment of each other and our dreams, and to guide us in the process.


Many resources are available through the IASD website (, and other sites and books listed here.

All are welcome to join IASD, and the Toronto chapter is a great resource. It meets quarterly.

Some resources I have used:

Jeremy Taylor -, The Wisdom of Your Dreams, The Living Labyrinth

Gayle Delaney - Breakthrough Dreaming,

Tallulah Lyons & Wendy Pannier -

Kelley Bulkeley - Dreaming in the World’s Religions, Transforming Dreams, Dreaming Beyond Death with P. Bulkley

Scott Sparrow -

Robert Moss - Conscious DreamingDreaming True


As a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD*), Karen adheres to the principles set out in its ethics statement:

IASD celebrates the many benefits of dreamwork, yet recognizes that there are potential risks. IASD supports an approach to dreamwork and dream sharing that respects the dreamer's dignity and integrity, and which recognizes the dreamer as the decision-maker regarding the significance of the dream. Systems of dreamwork that assign authority or knowledge of the dream's meanings to someone other than the dreamer can be misleading, incorrect, and harmful. Ethical dreamwork helps the dreamer work with his/her own dream images, feelings, and associations, and guides the dreamer to more fully experience, appreciate, and understand the dream. Every dream may have multiple meanings, and different techniques may be reasonably employed to touch these multiple layers of significance.

A dreamer's decision to share or discontinue sharing a dream should always be respected and honored. The dreamer should be forewarned that unexpected issues or emotions may arise in the course of the dreamwork. Information and mutual agreement about the degree of privacy and confidentiality are essential ingredients in creating a safe atmosphere for dream sharing.

Dreamwork outside a clinical setting is not a substitute for psychotherapy, or other professional treatment, and should not be used as such.

IASD recognizes and respects that there are many valid and time-honored dreamwork traditions. We invite and welcome the participation of dreamers from all cultures. There are social, cultural, and transpersonal aspects to dream experience. In this statement we do not mean to imply that the only valid approach to dreamwork focuses on the dreamer's personal life. Our purpose is to honor and respect the person of the dreamer as well as the dream itself, regardless of how the relationship between the two may be understood.

Prepared by the IASD Ethics Committee
Carol Warner, Chair
Association for the Study of Dreams
Spring, 1997

The Dream As Guide group sessions

For information about group or private sessions or to book Karen for an introductory workshop email Karen


The International Association for the Study of Dreams is a non-profit, international, multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the pure and applied investigation of dreams and dreaming. Its purposes are to promote an awareness and appreciation of dreams in both professional and public arenas; to encourage research into the nature, function, and significance of dreaming; to advance the application of the study of dreams; and to provide a forum for the eclectic and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and information.