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a word from joan mazza



Last week, a friend advised me to post my philosophy of dreamwork and self-help on my website. My approach, my stand, if I can call it that, is more a mix of techniques and encouragement, hoping to find what works for different people and then to pass it along. There is no real formula for health and happiness. But there are dozens of methods to discover a path toward wholeness and one method might be the one that points to your path.

As for teaching self-help, the term is certainly an oxymoron. If it's self-help, what do you need me for? And if you want to take back your life, to be who you really are and realize your dreams in your own way, then I would be doing you a disservice if I were to tell you how you should do it. Only you can know what you want and need and who you are when you are most yourself and most accepting of yourself.

I come to dreamwork with the belief that only the dreamer knows the meaning of his or her dream. I provide the space to discover the personal meaning of the dream by asking the dreamer to look at its contents in a way that is less threatening than most ordinary conversations about dreams. After talking about your dream with a family member or coworker, you are likely to come away feeling as normal as a Cyclops wearing a tutu and tiara.

In my books and at my seminars, when working with a dream, I ask a lot of questions. I encourage you to make connections with your waking life and to talk about the emotional truth in your dream. My books don't offer a list of symbols and their meanings because what a symbol means to me and what it means to you will be quite different. You choose your dream symbols because their meanings are attached to your personal memories and your feelings about them. Each element in your dream is attached to the stories of your life, past and present. My associations to your dream will tell me about me, but not about you. Only you can do that. And occasionally, our stories will go together -- in harmony, but still not the same.

Dreams are like poems and we each see ourselves in them. When we look again, we can see something new. Years later, the dream and the poem may make more sense than they did the first time we looked.

My work with dreams is practical and centered in the present. I don't do metaphysical dreamwork. I am more inclined to ask you what you were concerned about at the time of the dream than to talk with about past lives, astrology, or the spirit world. If you tell me the dream is about a past life, I'll ask you what it has to do with you today, otherwise you wouldn't be having this dream now. I'll ask you what you believe you are trying to tell yourself with this dream; where is the insight? What do you need to do or change? The dream is calling you to be true to yourself -- even when it comes as a nightmare. Especially then.

A Vehicle for Your Journey
Not long ago, during a training seminar where I was a participant, I was asked to play the part of a boat in someone's psychodrama, which reminded me of my proper role in my work. I am a small boat; nothing as extravagant as a yacht or a cruise ship. More like a rowboat with some basic gear available at the bottom-techniques for discovering the meaning of your night dreams and daydreams, a way to dream your future. The gear includes basic survival equipment, but there's room for adventure and creativity, too. As this boat, I am not your sails or your rudder. I am not the wind or the engine. I am not the captain. I am, perhaps, just a container, a vehicle to help you get to where you want to be, a place to sit quietly and listen to the water lapping at the sides until you're ready to raise your oars to move in your own direction. There's an anchor if you need to pause in a safe harbor. No cosmic positioning system because everyone chooses his own cosmology.

My desire is to help you with the most basic methods for navigating through life until you find and trust your inner compass.

Step aboard and you'll find your sea legs sooner than you expect.

Call Joan Mazza at (540) 872-2332 for more information.


  Joan Mazza, M.S. LMHC