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Professional Certificate in Working with Dreams

This five-day professional development programme will explore the theory, approaches and practical skills of working with dreams in practice, either with individuals, groups or for personal development.

woman in park dream work

According to several studies, most therapists report that they attend to client dreams at least occasionally. Though dreams have been foundational to the early development of psychotherapy since the publication of Sigmund Freud’s “Interpretation of Dreams”, many contemporary therapists seem unsure as to how to work with dreams in clinical practice having barely (if at all) been equipped to work with dreams during their primary training. This programme aims to address this gap as well as offering therapists rich new avenues to personal growth and development as well as a professional skill to employ in clinical practice.


This course is for any counselling or psychotherapy student or practitioner, psychologists or those more broadly in the mental health arena. No previous experience of working with dreams is necessary, except to have a curiosity about this phenomenon. The opportunity to work on your own dreams will be provided throughout the programme.


Various dream theories, models and methods of working with dreams and their usefulness in clinical practice will be explored. Exercises and skills designed to provide insights into the therapeutic process, the role of dreams in our own personal development and the relevance of dreams in supervision will also be covered. This programme is based on a pluralistic approach to dream work and will cover Freud, Jung, Perls, Ullman and Hill’s theories and methods of working with dream material. You will learn two practical approaches to working with dreams; the narrative method and the quick-draw method which integrate these theories into a highly practical set of tools to use for personal development, supervision and in clinical practice.


Dream work research informs us of the likely benefits of working with dreams including; decreases in general client symptoms and in levels of depression as well as increases in existential well-being when spiritual insight was the focus of the dream work. Further research shows that clients with positive attitudes towards dreams seem to have positive therapeutic outcomes. Therefore, therapists who can support clients in engaging with their dreams in therapy can further enhance therapeutic outcomes conducting talk-therapy alone. Another benefit of this course is in supporting your own psychological wellbeing by learning how to attend to your dreams. This can contribute directly to your self.

Course Details

Venue: TBC


Duration: 5 Days - 30 Hours Programme (10am-5pm each day)


Next Start Date: TBC


Course Content & Timetable:


Day 1: Introduction to Dreams In Therapy (Part of Using Dreams in Private Practice course - click here for more information)
Day 2: Dream Ethics, Process and Practice (Part of Using Dreams in Private Practice course - click here for more information)
Day 3: Experiential encounter with individual and common dream motifs 

Day 4: Dreams in other contexts, limitations and constraints 

Day 5: Integration & Assessment Day



  • Poster presentation on the application of dreamwork techniques (personal or professional context). 
  • Reflective statement


Note: Students who have already completed our two-day Using Dreams in Private Practice course, you can upgrade to the Professional Certificate by signing up for the remaining three days of the programme. If you wish to enroll for Days 3, 4 and 5 of the course, you must first complete Days 1 and 2, which can be done by enrolling in our Using Dreams in Private Practice, Groups and for Personal Development course first.


Dates for the full course begining in 2020 will be available later this year please email enquiries@pcicollege.ie  or 01-4642268 for more information or if you have any questions about your eligibility.



This 30 hour programme consists of five one-day workshops, each of 6 hours duration 

Day 1: Introduction to Dreams In Therapy

  • The secret world of sleep and dreams
  • A short history of dreaming
  • Dreams and psychotherapy
  • Psychodynamic, Psychoanalytic & Gestalt perspectives
  • Dream imagery through film, music, poetry.
  • Dream work in practice – live demonstration & discussion

Day 2: Dream Ethics, Process and Practice

  • The International Association for the Study of Dreams, ethics & practice
  • Dream work skills – introducing dreams to clients
  • Dream Science: The Hill Cognitive Experiential Model for dream work
  • Applied dream work (basic level) using Hill
  • Practice using the Hill Model

Day 3: Experiential encounter with individual and common dream motifs

  • Dream work methods, simple to the complex
  • One step dream working
  • The ‘I am / I need’ method
  • The Narrative method
  • The Hill Method (reprise)
  • Archetypal, Big Dreams and 7 Common dream motifs in therapy    
  • Working with nightmares and night-terrors

Day 4: Dreams in other contexts, limitations and constraints    

  • Dream and dream work in supervision
  • Case presentation – applied dream work (30 minutes per student) with group feedback
  • The sharp edge of dream work in therapy – constraints and limitations
  • Dream work for ongoing personal development
  • Contributing to the field of dream work study and research

Day 5: Integration & Assessment Day
The Integration Day takes place in a relaxed atmosphere, where participants are given the opportunity to outline and describe how they have integrated the learning from the four core workshops and applied it to their practice. The Integration Day will solidify learning and provides an opportunity for case discussion and supervision. It will also signpost additional ongoing resources useful in making dream work part of personal and professional development.

Learning and Teaching Strategy

A blend of lecture input, video presentations, small group discussions and practice, reflection on case examples and directed student reading.



  • Essay of 2,500 words which will include a case example of 15 minutes of a dream work session with a client
  • Continuous assessment on the programme of developmental dream work skills
  • On the integration day there will be a 20 minute VIVA presentation of the therapist’s dream work process with a worked example


Learning Outcomes 


On completion of this Certificate, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the role sleep and dreams play in our cognitive, emotional and spiritual wellbeing
  • Learn about the role dreams have played in human development through time (cultural and psychological perspectives)
  • Gain insights into your life situation through your dreams, active imagination etc.
  • Deepen their awareness of the gifts, opportunities and signposts their unconscious holds for personal development and professional practice

On completion of this Certificate, participants will be able to:

  • Apply simple, mid-level and complex dream work methods for personal development
  • Learn how to use scientifically valid methods for therapeutic dream work
  • Introduce clients to dream work and work with dreams in a therapeutic
  • Work safely with dreams, nightmares and night-terrors in a therapeutic context
  • Learn how to integrate dream/unconscious messages into actionable, waking life-change 


What our Students Say

"Mix of experiential & practical theory, the pace was good and Mike was very engaging and informative. I found it fascinating and it gave me a good platform for working with dreams personally and in practice."
Karen O'Leary-Using Dreams in Private Practice

What our Students Say

Lovely mix of theory & practical. Lecturer was very warm and facilitated some really interesting group discussions.Thank you for a worthwhile day!
Joanne Cooper- CBT for Weight Management
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