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Nurturing Soul and Body: Activating the Dream Image in Treatment of Eating Disorders

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About the Course:

Audio presentation from the 2009 International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Symposium.
Note: For this course there is a small additional fee to obtain the audio presentation. Please see the “Get Course Materials” link in the right sidebar for details.

Dream images, if activated, may act as transcendent functions to promote eating disorder recovery. Three cases will be presented, as well as a previously recorded video dream dance, to demonstrate how activating dream images may “feed the soul”, re-animate the feminine and transform the masculine, thus integrating masculine and feminine aspects in individuals who have been wounded, split-off or denied a whole sense of Self. Dreams can help to unite the psyche (soul/spirit, imaginal) and soma (physical body), through the use of metaphoric consciousness. Dreams, images, symbols are “metaphoric nourishment”, contributing to psychological and somatic growth and development.

Content Outline:
Both client and therapist will have dreams that are worth paying attention to during the course of the therapeutic relationship. In working with individuals who suffer from eating disorders, this is an area that is generally ignored, likely due to the distorted view of waking life held by these individuals with respect to body image, self-esteem, denial, all or nothing thinking, and projective identification. This presentation will highlight three clients diagnosed with eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating disorder, in which dream activation was effective in the course of treatment.

Dream activation is a process of using the imaginal in play, art, music, movement and/or writing to understand and embody the dream or dream image. Participants will be able to experience some of these methods for “feeding the soul and body”.
In dream activation there is often a surprise element or figure that arises, which acts as a transcendent function or a moving metaphor to empower the client towards integration and a sense of wholeness. As an example of dream or image activation, I am going to show a video presentation of three food dreams activated through words, movement and music. Together they symbolically represent the cycle of life, death as transformation and regeneration.
We all know that food nourishes the body, but what is not so apparent by our training is how dream images and metaphors that arise from dreams can nourish the soul. Metaphoric food contributes to our psychological development and spiritual growth. Metaphoric food is found in dream and waking life through image and symbolism.

This course is based on the cassette, Nurturing Soul and Body: Activating the Dream Image in Treatment of Eating Disorders created by Jean E. John, Ph.D., M.S., R.D.

Course Material Author

Jean E. John, Ph.D., M.S., R.D.

Dr. Jean John is the director of the Psychesoma Center. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She has a Masters of Science in Nutritional Science from the University of Wisconsin and is a registered dietitian. Jean wrote 2 chapters in Modern Concepts of the Eating Disorders: Research Diagnosis, Treatment, 1988 and lectured at the first International conference on eating disorders in 1984. She has studied movement therapy, dance and expressive arts and has worked to integrate nutrition, psychology, creativity and body awareness as a vehicle of self expression and healing for many years. She is an adjunct lecturer on eating disorders for Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Course Creator

Max Schwanekamp

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially psychologists, therapists, and counselors who seek to update their research knowledge and competency in treating patients with eating disorders, increase and acquire new skills, learn new intervention strategies, and obtain continuing education credits. It is appropriate for professionals at all levels of knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. After this presentation, the attendee will have a physical/emotional understanding and will be able to explain how activating the dream life may contribute to eating disorder recovery.

  2. After this presentation, participants will be able to utilize expressive arts, dream images, art, dance and prose in treating eating disorder clients.

  3. After this presentation, the attendee will be able to identify ways to activate a dream image to create a transcendent function to integrate psyche (soul) and soma (body), thus healing the split-off psychological self and disowned body.

Use our CE Approvals tool to look up your state requirements and how can help you meet them, or log in to your member account to show approvals relevant to your licensure.

American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCPAD)

2 CE credit hours

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American Psychological Association (APA)

2 CE credit hours

CE Learning Systems is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)

2 CE credit hours

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National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

2 CPD hours

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Nurturing Soul and Body: Activating the Dream Image in Treatment of Eating Disorders

*Note:*This link directs you to the IAEDP website where you can purchase the Audio format of this presentation.

Exam Questions

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Course Number 101703
2 credit hours
Log in for credit hours relevant to your licensure.

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Exam Fee: No Longer Available
4.33 out of 5
3 members have taken this course


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