Social Dreaming Matrix

Facilitated by Artists as Visionaries Social Dreaming Network:

Shelly Goebel-Parker, Nita Turnage, Hap Philips, Carol Haake, and Michele Ryker-Owens

All are invited to participate. Social dreaming is a community-building process that has existed in many cultures. By sharing their dreams, community members make clearer what exists in the collective social unconscious. Although the dreams come from individuals, when they are shared in this way they belong to the community.

The social dreaming matrix is constructed as both a container and a bridge. It contains the dreams and dream associations developed by a group of individuals. It bridges between interior life of the group members and the social context within and outside the matrix. Often the themes, imagery and events of the larger world become revealed and understood through the collective dreams within the matrix. The space of the matrix is set up as a spiral of chairs, directred towards a center point. Participants cannont easily make eye contact, but all are part of the whole circle. During the dream matrix each person holds the collective dreamtime on behalf of the larger community and the social structures to which each of us belong.

Once in the matrix, there is no analysis, commentary, questioning or direct response to each others’ dreams. Rather, it is the uncensored unfolding of the collective personal and group consciousness. Each dreamer speaks the imagery of their nighttime dreams and the spontaneous imagery and lucid dreaming that comes into the matrix. At the conclusion the dreamers usually discuss how they see the dreams relating to the larger group. They are also invited to go to the Alcove Studio on the 1st floor and create.

We do social dreaming in the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute to illustrate the creative process. We offer the Social Dreaming Matrix here in honor and memory of Carol Lark, a CAT Institute alum, who introduced this practice.


  1. Hello! Excellent post, really helpful! I was looking into dreaming and lucid dreaming and found this ebook called vivid dreaming – I downloaded it and it was pretty good stuff! I suggest you take a look if you’re into lucid dreaming (click my name or go here: – btw I will boukmark this blog, you’re doing a smashing job! Awaiting more of your posts! :)

  2. a great site,many useful information!

  3. Bipin Patel says:

    I am curious at how do describe Social Dreaming and the process. If you want to learn the proper way ,why not join our community. Incidentally my fellow colleague Dr Gordon Lawrence, who discovered Social Dreaming and myself are the founder of the Social Dreaming Ltd, not for profit making company in UK. Check our website or join our group on Facebook where we do online Global matrix


    • Shelly says:

      SO good to hear from you Mr. Patel. Our regards to Dr. Lawrence – his work has been an inspiration! He may know of Carol Lark, our colleague who learned this from him and has shared it with the art therapy and St. Louis communities.

      We have a group of artists that were organized by Dr. Lark to participate in a project she called Artists as Visionaries which incorporated a combination of social dreaming and studio art practice. Sadly, Dr. Lark passed away last year so the world will not get to hear her perspective on this work. Those of us who worked with her continued to dream together intermittently and share our dreaming processes with the community here in St. Louis as well as in art therapy. We will gladly join your group thank you for posting!

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