A typical dream group session (which usually takes place in the evening but could also be during a lunch break) normally lasts 2 hours. The number of participants usually ranges from 6 to 12. Those taking part should not be struggling with severe psychological or relationship problems otherwise the group time will be taken up with helping such persons with their problems. It should be clear to all the group members from the outset that it is not meant to be a therapy group. This is stated in the guidelines (Appendix A) and all should have read and be familiar with them.
The chairs in the space to be used are arranged in a circle or oval. The leader's chair is not a special one. The leader is a member of the group like all the others.
As they arrive, the dream group participants make their cups of tea or coffee from the hot water that has been prepared (placed on a side table). Cold water is also available. The side table can also have a basket where group members can put in money to pay for the evening. Crackers and cookies (or possibly cake) (supplied by the leader and/or brought by group members) can be available on a table in the center of the group circle for eating during the group session. The central table (for example, a low coffee table for tea and coffee cups) can also have a lit candle or flowers.
After a little time of chitchat and settling down, the first thing to be decided upon is the date (and, possibly, location) of the next meeting. A few minutes are then available for any announcements and/or other matters that group members would like to share with the others.
Once that is done, the group member(s) who told their dream(s) the previous time is (are) asked how the time after the group went. Did the dreamwork help make the dream clearer? Is there anything the dreamer(s) would like to share with the group about what they learned about the dream(s) since the previous meeting? Is there anything that one (or more) of the group members would like to share about the dream(s) that have been worked on?
Who would like to tell a dream in this session? For the remainder of the two hour session, it is usually true that a maximum of three dreams can be worked on (very often only two). If too many dreams are offered, some method (like spin the bottle) should be agreed upon and used to decide which will be worked on in that session.
The first person tells her or his dream. The other group members listen intently and afterwards ask questions to make sure they have understood what the dreamer has told them.
With this, the first phase of the work on that dream has been completed (see chapter 10).
The second phase (the actual dreamwork) begins with the group members asking the dreamer questions about all the particulars of the dream (persons, objects, places, colors, etc.) trying to remain as concrete and close to the dream as possible.
They must surely also ask about the feeling reactions to the persons, places, incidents and so on that occurred as the dream unfolded.
They also need to ask about the life situation of the dreamer at the time of the dream. "What was taking place on the day or days before the dream?" 'What was going to happen on the day or days after the dream?"
Following that phase (which may take 40 to 45 minutes), the group members -- in the third phase -- offer the dreamer their ideas about what the dream might be saying, prefacing their remarks with a phrase like "If I were you and this was my dream ..." or "My fantasy about your dream is ..." leaving the dreamer space in which to accept or reject what was said.
At the end, the dreamer is free to offer some feedback about what he or she heard, what seemed to resonate and was valuable in the remarks.
Then the next dream (if there is one and there is time to work on it) can be told and the previous 6 steps are repeated.
During the dreamwork the leader makes sure that the dreamwork doesn't become theoretical or turn into therapy (where group members tell the dreamer what he or she should do or stop doing, or inquire about the dreamer's childhood, etc.).
At the very end, the leader invites everyone to stand in a circle, holding hands, and a short time of silence is observed in honor of what was shared before the group members leave for home.