Before you get started, you will want to see if Dreaming Healthy Families is for you. Everything has its time and place, and reading this may simply plant seeds that may or may not sprout at some future time. Here are some common concerns that people have at the beginning:
“What will happen to my family when I am interviewed and I allow my children to be the interviewer and help me to follow recommendations?”
You will gain your children’s respect, because you are treating them with respect, as fellow humans, which like individual flowers, trees, rocks, and animals, are each unique and precious in themselves.
“What will other members of my family or my friends think of me if they know I am Dreaming Healthy Families?”
Initially they may laugh at or discount what you are doing because they do not understand and they have learned not to take dreams seriously. Attempting to get others to understand or to seek their approval is probably a waste of time. Instead, if others ask, share what works for you and what has helped your family. Regardless of what others say, they will be watching! They will be curious. When they see your family moving into greater health, happiness, and harmony they will ask, “What is s/he doing that could benefit me and my family?”
“Why should I trust the recommendations of a dream character?”
Don’t! You don’t need to. In fact, it is normal to ask an interviewed character that makes recommendations, “Why should I trust you?” “Why should I follow a recommendation of an imaginary character?” If the character does not give you an answer that is acceptable, do not trust it and do not follow its recommendations!
We start working with recommendations, but then we stop!
For those of us who are already self-critical, this sort of self-monitoring can kick up some inner resistance because who likes to be reminded of their weaknesses and failings? Yet we all went through years of school in which scores determined our progress. Why not put that same system to work where it really matters – in the health of those relationships that mean the most to us?
“How do I know that I or the person I am interviewing is in ‘role?’”
Newcomers tend to put words in the mouth of interviewed characters. They will be doing the interpreting, sharing, and recommending instead of the character, because not making interpretations or analyzing is often a new concept and a new experience. However, it really is not so new, but rather something we all did as children and which the children in your family may well be able to do more easily and naturally than you. The secret is to become a child again and play!
“What if someone thinks or says, ‘I already know this! This is nothing new!’
You already know, on a deep level, the priorities of your life compass. The problem is that you have demands and expectations from your work, your society, religion, family, as well as yourself, that are louder and crowd them out, like weeds can crowd out healthy plants in a garden. Dreaming Healthy Families is not primarily about hearing new things or getting insight, although both may happen. It is about creating respect and objectivity, with respect bringing healing and objectivity creating room for creativity.
“What do I do when I want to give an interpretation or make a helpful suggestion?”
The time to give your input is after the interview, and after whomever has been interviewed has been given a chance to share what they want to take away and use from the experience.
“Should I treat this as serious, like therapy?”
No. Definitely not. Therapists diagnose and treat. In Dreaming Healthy Families, interviewed characters say what they, not you, think is the matter and they, not you, make recommendations.
It is much better to view Dreaming Healthy Families as family game time, a time to get together, share what matters in a crazy, ridiculous way that may not make sense at all, and to trust the process, the way you do the rules of a card or board game.
What if someone cries or reveals a personal or family secret that brings shame or guilt?
Keep interviewing the character! Ask, “Character, your human seems to be getting emotional. What is going on?” Then continue with the interviewing format. Why? Because staying in the perspective of the interviewed character creates objectivity that brings freedom from staying trapped in emotions that create separation and cut us off from the support we need.
What do I do if I get discouraged or a family member loses interest?
Take a break! At the same time, remember that you did not learn to walk, talk, or learn math in a day, nor was it always easy. Real growth requires persistence, patience, and consistent effort. If you do not model these things, can you realistically expect your other family members to do so? If you pace yourself but keep at it, sharing your successes with others, some will join you while others will not. Still, you have planted seeds. Leave the sprouting to the particular plant, soil, and season!
For more information, contact Joseph.Dillard@gmail.com
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