The Heart of the Dream - Robert Gongloff  


Dream Exploration - A New Approach  


Dream Exploration - A New Approach

Does the world really need another book on dreams?

There are many excellent books available which offer advice on such dream work methods as titling, interpreting symbols, drawing your dreams, turning them into poems, etc. Relatively few deal directly with dream themes. The best of the books related to "themes" include Gayle Delaney's In Your Dreams, a collection of the most common themes she has discovered in her experience, and Patricia Garfield's book The Universal Dream Key, describing twelve common dream themes found throughout the world. Some examples of common themes found in both books include falling and flying, being chased, and being naked in public. Both authors include methods for relating these common themes to your personal dreams and applying them to your life.

I believe strongly that what Delaney and Garfield define as common themes are actually "dream activity" for which the specific messages, ideas, or perceptions (the inherent themes) are yet to be defined.

For example, one of the most common dreams experienced by humanity is being naked in public.   I asked myself, "What is the core theme of this dream activity?"   After some introspection, I realized that dreams of being naked (or even well dressed) in public, relate to self-identity and one's outlook on life. Self-identity is a common theme for which the being naked in public dream is but one example.

I have yet to find a book that gives dreamers detailed instructions on how to determine and work with the themes of their own dreams. Existing books on dream work do not address methods of defining dream themes. And they do not provide a means of identifying actual common themes you can relate to your dreams

How this Book Can Help You

Dream Exploration - A New Approach shows you how to work with the themes of your dreams and your life experiences for personal understanding and growth. The first three chapters give you the basics for getting to the “heart” of the underlying issues being brought to your consciousness. Chapter 4 provides guidance on how to grow and benefit from this newly acquired self-knowledge.

Chapter 1 provides detailed guidance on what themes are and how to determine them-not just for dreams, but for any event in your life.

Chapter 2 introduces The Theme Matrix and provides detailed guidance on how to work with it. The matrix offers descriptions of twelve broad themes that help you to determine in what area of your life your dreams or waking-life experiences are inviting you to focus.  The matrix can also help you determine where you are in the life cycle of that area of focus and help you move on to the next step in the cycle.

Chapter 3 shows you how to incorporate themes and The Theme Matrix into your daily dream work. This chapter presents twelve processes or steps that will help you work with your dreams.

Chapter 4 provides guidance on how to benefit from the “theme” work you have done. Again working with the twelve core themes in The Theme Matrix, you will learn how to deal with the issues raised in your dreams by taking positive action in your waking life. This is called “honoring” the dream.

The twelve theme descriptions described in Chapter 2 and the twelve dream work processes described in Chapter 3 are presented in the context of the four major life cycle sequences: Differentiation, Expression, Interaction, and Capitalization.

This book is intended to help you understand and grow through your own life cycles.

Through differentiation and expression, you come to understand yourself as an individual. Through interaction and capitalization, you come to understand yourself as a member of society and the world community.

Focusing on how you differentiate yourself as an individual prepares you to learn self-expression. Focusing on how you express yourself prepares you to learn how to interact with others -- first one, then many. Focusing on how you interact with others prepares you to learn to serve the whole of humanity. Focusing on the whole of humanity prepares you to begin to re-differentiate yourself as an individual at a higher level of consciousness. The cycle continues.



Who knows what a dream means? We dreamers do, as my colleague Robert Gongloff ingeniously demonstrates in Dream Exploration, a book bound to attract neophytes and experienced dream workers with the most practical and productive exercises I have ever read. Many dreamers find it difficult to mine the meaning of their dreams from the dark caves of the unconscious, but Robert leads us directly to the gold with his innovative focus on approaching the core of the dream, its very heart, its theme. While there are a proliferation of books on various approaches dreamers might follow to find the meanings of their dreams, Robert’s concepts are a bold breakthrough from sifting through tortuous and sometimes misleading paths to the beneficial message the dream is delivering. He paves his route with concrete outlines, exercises and examples, proving that the path of themes is the most direct route to the essence of the dream.

Rita Dwyer, International Association for the Study of Dreams, Past President (1992-93), Executive Officer) (1994-99), Founder and Facilitator of the Metro DC Dream Community (1983-2005)



In this well written and appealing book, Robert Gongloff presents an exciting new approach to comprehending the important messages we receive in our dreams. His theme identification approach is a novel one that is a significant step beyond the concept of Jung's archetypal imagery. Extensive dream examples are used to demonstrate his provocative system in action. I applaud Gongloff's original contribution and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to reach a new level of understanding their dreams. 

Robert L. Van de Castle is Professor Emeritus of the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center and the author of Our Dreaming Mind



Gongloff’s book goes to the very core of the dreaming process and how it relates to the dreamer’s daily life. Readers will receive an intimate tour of the dream landscape and how relevant it is to the rest of their lives.

Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., co-author, Extraordinary Dreams and How to Use Them 



Three words describe this book: fresh, innovative and exciting! Robert Gongloff has developed an effective approach to dreamwork that goes beyond the benefits to daily life to the fulfillment of one’s life purpose.  Dream Exploration is more than a book – it’s a journey! 

Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Ph.D., author, The Dreamer’s Way: Using Proactive Dreaming for Creativity and Healing


Sample Methods -
Excerpts from Chapter One...  here


Dream Exploration: A New Approach  by Robert Gongloff. © 2020.
All rights reserved. Used by permission of the publisher.




Dream Exploration - A New Approach by Robert Gongloff

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Cover image Playful Heart, © Crista Cammaroto, 2002

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