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The Dreamlife of Families

The Psychospiritual Connection

Foreword by Carl A. Whitaker

How our unconscious minds connect with our families through dreams

• Shows how the connected dreamlife of families reveals itself in nightmares and unusual dreams, during critical times such as pregnancy, conflicts, and medical emergencies, and in shared, telepathic, and precognitive dreams

• Explains how dreamwork can help heal our psychospiritual selves and aid in both family and couples therapy

• Examines ancient dream traditions from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and the ancient Egyptian Mystery Schools

Our dreams, the most intimate part of us, form the truest expressions of our feelings and emotional beliefs about the world. Our dreams also reflect the complex connections of our unconscious minds with those of our families and close friends, connecting us through our dreams to loved ones near and far, living and passed on.

Integrating traditional dream analysis with family psychology, clinical science, and parapsychology, Edward Bruce Bynum, Ph.D., ABPP, details how our personal unconscious is interwoven into our larger family unconscious. He shows how these dreamlife connections and patterns are as old as humanity itself, exploring ancient dream traditions from around the world. He explains how the dreamlife of a family can be viewed as a shared field or hologram, where each family member is enfolded into the dreams of the other members. This shared reality reveals itself in family and personal illnesses, in nightmares and unusual dreams, and during critical times such as crisis, pregnancy, conflicts, and medical emergencies. It also reveals itself in cases of simultaneous shared dreams and telepathic and precognitive dreams, explaining why so many people have dreams in which a family member appears to say good-bye, waking the next day to discover the same loved one has passed away. Sharing clinical case studies from his Family Dream Research Project, the author shows how the intimate labyrinth of our dream lives is always flowing beneath the surface of our waking lives, shaping and influencing our relationships and our deep core experiences. He reveals how dreams can be healing factors as well as diagnostic signals, detailing how dreamwork can aid in both family and couples therapy.

Showing how our family’s dreamlife connects us to our ancestors and weaves us into the messages we send to our children’s children, the author offers an opportunity to identify personal and family patterns, heal our psychospiritual selves, and grow our understanding of our own minds.

Edward Bruce Bynum, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., is a clinical psychologist and the director of behavioral medicine at the University of Massachusetts Health Services in Amherst. A student of Swami Chandrasekharanand Saraswati and a winner of the Abraham H. Maslow award from the American Psychological Association, he is the author of several books, including The African Unconscious. He lives in Pelham, Massachusetts.

“Healthy families dream together. This is the essential good sense of The Dreamlife of Families, which carefully amasses evidence that family members dream of each other and for each other and may have shared adventures in deeper realities accessible in dreaming. He helps us recognize the vital function of ‘crisis telepathy,’ in which we receive alerts about emergency situations that prepare us to handle them and sometimes to contain them. Bynum grounds his study of family dreams in an understanding of the vital role of dreaming in human evolution. He gives us the science of the dreaming brain while recognizing that the brain is within the mind. He encourages us to expand our understanding and practice to aspire to the continuity of consciousness called Yoga Nidra in the East. I recommend this wise and heartening book.”

– Robert Moss, author of Conscious Dreaming and The Secret History of Dreaming

The Dreamlife of Families presents a novel approach to working with dream-based family interrelatedness. Drawing on a broad range of ancient beliefs, the book emphasizes African traditions especially, which are less known to modern psychology than those of ancient Greece or China. Bynum writes with a level of scholarly sophistication such that dream psychologists, family therapists, and other clinicians will learn much from the book. However, it’s also clear and entertaining and will engage families who want to utilize this approach to dreams to enrich their relationship.”

– Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D., author of The Committee of Sleep

“An effective case that nocturnal dreams can be interpersonal communications between family members. The numerous examples that Bynum provides make for fascinating reading while providing a convincing argument. I recommend it for anyone interested in dreams or the deeper levels of their own psyche.”

– William M. Boylin, Ph.D., supervising psychologist at Connecticut Valley Hospital

“A beautiful and visionary book. Bynum explores the world that lives between private and public space--the unconscious of the family. He shows us how this understanding can be applied to healing and therapy. Fascinating read for the professional and lay reader.”

– Lynn Hoffman, ACSW, author of Foundations of Family Therapy

“This book guides us to true connectedness in the family. A must-read for the serious family worker or member.”

– Jayne Gackenbach, Ph.D., coauthor of Control Your Dreams

More books from this author: Edward Bruce Bynum