Episode 10: How Dreams and Embodied Imagination Support us through Illness (a conversation with Katherine Lawson)

The Dreamers Den Podcast How Dreams and Embodied Imagination Can Support Us Through Illness with Katherine Lawson hosted by Leilani Navar

Katherine Lawson speaks from experience about how dreams can support someone in cancer treatment. She’s been a patient, and a practitioner.

In this episode, she shares with you how she and dreams have journeyed together through

  • her academic work at Pacifica Graduate Institute
  • the study of Dream Tending and Embodied Imagination
  • her own cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery
  • supporting other cancer patients at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic
  • and a respectfully slow curiosity about dreamwork in traditional cultures, outside of the Western psychological, academic context.

I love the glimpse Katherine gives into the process of Embodied Imagination (developed by Robert Bosnak).

She describes how dreamers go into a hypnogogic state and feel the embodied sensations of a potent dream image. You’ll hear about “anchoring the embodiments” offered by a dream, creating something new within the dreamer: the gift from the dream. Listen in to Katherine’s own explanation to get a better idea of what this means.

Embodied Imagination is a one-on-one process with a completely different flavor from group dreamwork. I think you’ll enjoy hearing about another of the many ways to engage with your own dreams.

One of my favorite comments Katherine makes is that the healing her clients go through has nothing to do with her, the practitioner. The healing comes from the clients letting the dreams “do what they were going to do.” As Katherine says, “The healing is actually their own.”

I feel this way about acupuncture, too. All I can do with an acupuncture treatment is prompt and guide the body to do what it is already capable of doing. When someone experiences pain relief or a return of normal organ function after a series of treatments, I didn’t do that. Their own innate healing capacity did. Acupuncture, like dreams, lets loose this healing impulse.

Another highlight is hearing about one of Katherine’s own dreams. It’s an example of a dream “helper” showing up during her cancer treatment. These helpers, she says, are one thing that consistently shows up in the dreams of people with life-threatening illness.

Have you encountered helpers in your dreams?

Toward the end of the conversation, we talk about Katherine’s interest in indigenous, mystical, and shamanic approaches to dreamwork. She shares how important it is to her to approach this with great care and respect, and to do so slowly. The same reflection arises when I ask her about bringing the techniques of dreamwork to help with integration after plant medicine journeys.

Click Play below to hear the whole conversation.

Learn more about Katherine Lawson at her website: www.dreamsheal.com

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