On March 11, a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. Within days, I knew that I had to return to Japan to offer whatever help I could to a country so very dear to my heart. For three weeks, I made myself available as a bilingual educator, dreamworker and artist, healing together through English lessons, dreaming, and the Book Arts. As a cross cultural trainer, I will present on ways of integrating dreams and creative arts in humanitarian aid – i.e. to help children, adolescents and adults cope with the stress of traumatic events in ways that are culturally sensitive and appropriate.
Cross-Cultural IssuesRelationships Communication Vs Tasks Style Emotional Perception Expression Of Time
Relationships Before Tasks – Connect Fist•Listen, eat and play together before “helping”•Find out what the people you are serving want and need first•Let them know what you have to offer and be flexible•Build on mutual strengths
Do Dreams Matter? What does your experience tell you?
Dreaming & Emotion Dreaming is a highly emotional state of consciousness In the absence of dreaming, emotions become disorganized
Dreams Embody Powerful Emotions“When there is a clear-cut powerful emotion present such as fear, vulnerability, orguilt, dreams find a context, a way to picture it.”- Ernest Hartmann
Dreams Spread Emotional Intensity•“Calming the storm” for mood regulation throughout the nets of the mind
Dreams IntegrateBroad connections made between past and present experiences Integration of memories and learning
Dreams Heal To heal is to become whole Not to cure or fix The root of health is healingDreams help us become whole
Function of Dreaming Dreaming cross-connects or weaves in new material, which helps us adapt to future trauma, stress, and the problems of life. - Ernest Hartmann
What is Trauma?A deeply distressing or disturbing experience that causes disruptionAny event or element that overwhelms a person‟s ability to fully cope and feel safePhysical injury
After TraumaTypical Dream Progression Fear, terror A house is burning and no one can get out. A gang of evil men, Nazis maybe, are chasing me. I can‟t get away. A huge monster is coming at me. Helplessness, vulnerability I dreamt about children, dolls – dolls and babies all drowning. He skinned me and threw me into a heap with my sisters. There was a small, hurt animal lying in the road. Guilt, shame A shell heads for us and blows up, but I can‟t tell whether it‟s me or my buddy Jack who is blown up. I let my children play by themselves and they get run over by a car.
Overwhelming EmotionKey emotions become embodied in dream images“I am overwhelmed”
Feelings of Helplessness & Vulnerability“I can‟t stop, the brakes don‟t work”“I‟m lost and don‟t know where I am going”
Survivor Guilt„Why did I survive when everyone else died?‟
Memories of Past Traumas TriggeredDreams make connections between previous traumas and current events
Opportunities for Healing EmergeDreams bring up unresolved issues that we are now able to cope with
Connecting Present with PastTrauma creates new opportunities for healing and integration of past with present
Stages of Healing – Gaining MasteryDreams reveal healing process and show us what is ready for attention today
For More InformationSheila McNellis Asato – monkeybridgearts.comInternational Association for the Study of Dreams – asdreams.org
Working with Dreams Dreamwork in Japan after the earthquake
How Do You Feel Now?What happens when you draw and share your dreams?
Focus on Strengths “Thus, mental health and psychosocial problems in emergencies encompass far more than the experience of PTSD or disaster- induced depression. A selective focus on these two problems is inappropriate because it overlooks many other MHPSS problems in emergencies, as well as ignoring people‟s resources. Men, women, boys and girls have assets or resources that support mental health and psychosocial well-being. A commonerror in work on MHPSS is to ignore these resources and to focus solely on deficits – the weaknesses, suffering and pathology – of the affected group. It is important to know not only the problems but also the nature of local resources, whether they are helpful or harmful, and the extent to which affected people can access them.”- Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in Humanitarian Emergencies:What Should Humanitarian Health Actors Know?