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Dreamwork Tip: Assist Introverts and Extroverts Differently

by Gillian Holloway, Ph.D. (Dream Discoveries Newsletter, Summer 1995)

Introverts and Extroverts are extreme labels on a continuum of styles; but the dream group facilitator can make everyone more comfortable and maximize benefits of discussion by interacting with these types differently and honoring their strengths and needs.

Some group members love to talk about their dreams. They always have something to say, and they love to repeat their impressions about dream events or imagery without necessarily making any personal associations to the dream's contents. They aggressively attack their dreams, and can use up a great deal of time, but they go blank or hazy when asked to connect or link the dream with waking life events.

These people are often fairly extroverted, and although zealous in their participation, they seem to have a greater barrier between waking life and dreaming imagery than other participants. You can help them by corralling their tangential COMMENTS, and offering them fairly direct suggestions to "try on" as clues to interpretation. Although hazy about their own connections, these people are invaluable and courageous helpers to other members, and can develop an excellent understanding of consciousness by helping other members with interpretations and analysis. Call on these people to deliver messages to other members when you want a theory to be presented without your influence as the facilitator. In essence, be strict with high extroverts when working on their dreams, and enlist their leadership, courage and warmth when working with other group members.

On the other end of the spectrum are people less eager to share their dreams, yet its obvious they are thinking and experiencing a great deal. Some of these more introverted people will actually get more out of the group discussion after they get home and can process what happened. You may think they aren't getting much out of the group, but rest assured they are doing a lot of internal sorting and journaling on their own. It can help them if you mention that their process is perfectly natural and that they can expect delayed insights after returning home.

These people can be hypersensitive to direct attention, so be delicate in asking them to share dreams, as well as in questioning their responses to their dream imagery. If they aren't ready to share, be patient, let them tiptoe into the water, and reward their sharing with gentle acknowledgment of their insights. When you want to bluntly deliver a message to them, don't. Wait for another dreamer with similar imagery, or a comparable situation and direct your "global advice" to a hardier soul. The introverted dreamer will receive the information second hand and apply it brilliantly to themselves without having to squirm in the hotseat of attention.


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