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    Saybrook University
  Jun 02, 2023
2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum [Archived Catalog]

Dream Studies Certificate

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Certificate Leads: Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. and Jacquie Lewis, Ph.D.

Sponsored by: Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health (CSIH)


One hundred years after Freud introduced the topic, we are still grappling with questions about dreams. What are they? What do they mean? How do we access them? In the years since the publication of Freud’s seminal Interpretation of Dreams at the turn of the 20th century, dream work in Western society has slowly developed into an area of scholarly respect. With the formation of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) in the mid-1980s, clinicians, scholars, and the general public have gathered every year to celebrate the dream and try to understand its mysteries. Despite 50 postsecondary institutions offering dream courses in North America and Europe, there are very few Certificate or degree programs specifically devoted to dream studies. Saybrook was the first university to offer a graduate Certificate in Dream Studies that can be taken primarily through a distance format.

Despite this growing professional and public acceptance of the importance of dreaming and dreams, few psychologists obtain any formal training or certification of expertise. In fact, most clinicians enter their professional life with absolutely no such training and often feel frustrated or baffled when a client presents a dream in the therapeutic process. Psychology scholars are also usually poorly trained to understand and appreciate the richness that dream work has to offer their explorations of the human condition. Increasingly, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology tell us that considerable human information processing occurs outside human awareness, yet what Freud called the “royal road to the unconsciousness” still remains too little investigated and understood. This Certificate program helps address this inequity.  The Dream Studies Certificate gives students an understanding of dream research, practice, and personal meaning. If students are practicing therapists, the Certificate is an excellent way to supplement their training and enrich the quality of their therapeutic work.


Required to attend at least one of the Dream Studies Certificate meetings, which are held in conjunction with Residential Conferences for the Department of Humanistic & Clinical Psychology.

  • CSIH 3160  Personal Mythology and Dreamwork
  • CSIH 3150  Neuropsychology of Dreams and Dreaming
  • CS 3010  Arts-Based Inquiry
  • CSIH 3165  Understanding and Appreciating Dreams
  • Practicum/Project
  • Integrative Paper/Seminar

Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of the Certificate, students will be able to….

  1. Appreciate the characteristics of the sleeping brain, the various stages of sleep, and the differences between rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement sleep.
  2. Understand the major neuropsychological models of dreaming, highlight similarities and differences between these models, recognize how they explain the process of dreaming, and identify the data or arguments that support or contest each of them.
  3. Explore the implications of an understanding of the physiology and neurochemistry of wakefulness, sleep, and dreaming for a range of associated phenomena.
  4. Understand the concept of “personal mythology” and its relationship to dreams.
  5. Become aware of one’s own guiding personal myths as expressed in dreams.
  6. Understand Feinstein and Krippner’s 5-stage process to determine through dream work which of their personal myths are functional and adaptive, and which are dysfunctional and maladaptive.
  7. Develop proficiency with methods that can be used to help a person explore the nature of his or her own personal mythology as expressed in dreams.
  8. Understand how the personal mythology and dreams concept can be used for personal growth, counseling, and/or psychotherapy.
  9. Understand the role of symbols and metaphors in dreams.
  10. Appreciate the wide range of cultural differences in how the dream is understood.
  11. Understand dreams from the perspective of a culture different from their own.
  12. Become sensitive to anthropological uses of dreams in understanding the nature of culture.
  13. Apply cross-cultural understandings of the dream to therapeutic settings.
  14. Gain a thorough understanding of at least one method of dreamwork.
  15. Be able to identify diverse applications for dreamwork in clinical and non-clinical settings.
  16. Be able to identify populations in which dreamwork has been or can be used.

College of Social Sciences Certificate Programs

Saybrook University’s College of Social Sciences offers a number of exciting certificate programs intended for non-matriculating students (e.g., professionals, activists, community leaders/organizers, etc.) who want to expand or deepen their knowledge and skills pertaining to specific foci.  Our certificate programs offer a variety of topics relevant in today’s world. From existential psychology to integrative healthcare, the College of Social Sciences certificates offer students the humanistic and interdisciplinary education students desire in a convenient certificate program.

Delivery Model

All entering students will begin their program in consultation with the Certificate Lead Faculty in order to clarify requirements and ensure that their interests are integrating within their learning experience. Students can change their study plan later, but need to make an initial plan at the outset, including a tentative plan for a one-year enrollment for those individuals not enrolled in a Saybrook degree program. Typically, certificate requirements can be completed within one to two years (see Certificate Lead Faculty for more details). Students progress through certificate requirements through a combination of on-line cohort courses and either face-to-face experientials during a Saybrook Residential Conference and/or at-a-distance platforms such as video-conference or conference calls. Additionally, students participate in online Graduate Colloquia shells, which are virtual classrooms utilized to foster community among all enrolled in specializations that sponsor the certificates; deepening the learning environment and broadening the application of theory and practice.

These certificates are available to degree and non-degree students alike. Non-degree students who subsequently pursue a degree at Saybrook may be able to transfer credits toward degree requirements.  Students formally enrolled in one of Saybrook’s degree programs may be able to integrate the certificate into their program as the certificate course requirement may satisfy either specialization requirements and/or degree electives.  In the event that a doctoral student wishes to complete more than one Certificate program, only one course (3 credits) may be counted toward a second Certificate. No course overlap may occur for fulfillment of a third (or more) Certificate. In addition, fulfillment of each Certificate requires completion of a unique practicum (CSIH/CS/EHTP/TSC 8151: 3 credits) as well as a unique final paper (CSIH/CS/EHTP/TSC 8950: 1 credit). No overlap of required Certificate coursework will be permitted for M.A. students who wish to declare more than one Certificate.

Core Components

Though each certificate is specific to the area of focus, there are general Core Components or expectations.

  • Required course(s) (3 credits each)
  • Choice of Electives (3 credits each) to be determined in consultation with the Certificate Lead Faculty
  • Practicum/Project (3 credits) which is individually designed by the student in consultation with Practicum Instructor based on his or her interests and goals. This may involve related theory, research, and/or practical application. Several Certificates require the presentation of the Practicum/Project during a Saybrook Residential Conference and/or at-a-distance presentation through video conference platforms such as Go To Meeting or Skype (see Certificate Lead Faculty for more details).
  • Integrative Paper/Seminar (1 credit) which can be a capstone paper, professional poster presentation, or mini-project designed to allow reflection, assessment of progress, integration of experience and academic learning, and forward projection into how one will use these learnings and skills. It also invites a look into other competencies one might still wish to add. (Not all certificates require an integrative paper).


  • Applied Consciousness Studies
  • Arts and Self-Expression for Health and Wellbeing
  • Building A Sustainable World
  • Community Health & Development
  • Complex Trauma & The Health Process
  • Creativity Studies
  • Death, Loss, and Meaning
  • Dream Studies
  • Foundations in Existential-Humanistic Practice
  • Multiculturalism and Social Justice
  • Organizational Leadership & Transformation
  • Peace & Conflict Resolution
  • Professional Studies in Psychophysiology
  • Socially Engaged Spirituality
  • Stress Management Education
  • Transpersonal Psychology

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