Opening to Life's Creative Power with
Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D'Urso, Ph.D. Copyright (c) 2007
Panel for the International Association for the Study of Dreams
(IASD) Conference 2007, Sonoma, CA, June, 2007.
Today, I’d like to tell you about ways that I often attempt physical
and emotional healing for myself and others in my dreams. I believe it
can have a valuable effect on us in waking physical reality. Although
difficult to measure, the results of my healings have usually seemed
I will give you some examples and techniques of interactive dream
healing, as well as discuss a number of important related issues and
questions. For example, do we also heal ourselves when we try to
heal “others” in our dreams? Should dream healers follow an ethical
code? Can dream healing have negative effects?
I’ll begin talking a few minutes about my own background.
Before I do, by a show of hands, how many people have heard me present
before today? How many attended the preconference workshop on Friday?
Who heard my presentation on healing last year in Bridgewater at
IASD2006? Did anyone here participate in my workshop on healing at the
IASD PDC conference in 2005?
Although I do not feel it necessary to use lucid dreams for dream
healing, many of my healing attempts have occurred when I felt lucid,
so let me clarify what I mean by lucidity.
To me, lucid dreaming does not mean merely “clear” dreaming, or even
“controlled” dreaming. It only means that I feel aware at some level
that I am dreaming while I am dreaming. However, I believe that the
more lucid I get, the more a dream healing may affect me.
In a lucid dream, I feel more present than in a non-lucid dream,
bringing my whole self into the experience. I know myself as more than
my dream body and that the source of myself exists outside of the dream
or inside the mind of the dreamer, or what I call our greater
self. When lucid, I connect to this dreamer, let go of any fear,
and see endless possibilities.
Starting in the late 1970’s, I helped do research on lucid dreaming at
the Stanford Sleep Laboratory. I would signal from the dream to the
physical lab while being definitely asleep and dreaming. Our
experiments of monitoring my physical conditions and seeing them change
as I attempted various tasks with my dream body, proved to me that what
I dream can affect my waking life. This led me to try healing from the
As I have said, most of my dream healings have occurred in lucid dream
reality, when I remembered my healing goal. Many times I did not a need
a goal, but merely went along with the dream, with more power, such as
lack of fear, because of my lucidity, and I got a healing result.
I do, however, feel that even without lucidity, we can use other
methods for healing such as, dream induction, visualization, or
acting-out while in waking physical reality. Without ever getting
lucid, one can ask for help with a problem in a dream before going to
sleep and then accept what the dream offers. Setting a goal for a lucid
dream actually serves as a type of dream induction.
When I led groups and workshops on the topic of lucid dreaming/lucid
living, I usually ended each session with a guided visualization. After
getting everyone still and relaxed, with their eyes closed, I would
describe an imagined scene and activity that usually included a
healing. This helps non-lucid dreamers get a sense for what can happen
in a lucid dream.
Such non-dreaming techniques prove useful to lucid dreamers as well,
because it helps to practice in waking physical reality what one would
like to do in a dream. Many people actually believe that dream reality,
in general, provides us with additional power because we seem more
connected to our essence.
Before I discuss healing issues in general, I’d like to give you an
example of a healing dream that I had the summer before last. A friend
asked me to try to help her son, whom I’ll call Erin. Erin has Perthes
disease, which does not allow blood to flow to his hip properly causing
discomfort and difficulty participating in sports. I spoke to Erin and
he agreed to my doing a dream healing for him in the near future.
First, using a suggestion from Ed Kellogg, I formulated a goal that I
would attempt when I knew I was dreaming. I decided to chant a Harry
Potter spell called "scourgify,” which roughly means, “clean up,” while
pointing my index and middle fingers at Erin’s body.
I had the following dream on July 26, 2005. In this dream, I find
myself standing in an open structure, which looks like a barn. I
remember that I am dreaming. However, because Erin does not appear near
me in the dream, I decide to do the healing actions as if he stands
invisible in front of me, making this a practice session.
I point my index and middle fingers straight out in front of me and say
"scourgify." I look at my fingers and see that a sticky, thick yellow
liquid emanates from the pads of my fingers. I then put my fingers to
my mouth in order to taste the yellow liquid. As I do this, the liquid
turns green. Its consistency stays the same, and I do not notice any
flavor. I have had several experiences in the past year where objects
or substances turn green after a healing, almost as a sign of
Next, in the dream, I see a group of children playing outside, and I
decide to find Erin. I look around and call out his name. I find him in
the middle of the group, who soon separate.
I say to him, "It's Beverly. I am here to do the dream healing we
talked about." He acknowledges me, so I point my fingers toward his leg
and say "scourgify." I have a clear intention for the best possible
outcome. To make sure I have reached his hip, I repeat the process up
and down his whole body.
At this point, I see that he has about a half dozen small holes all
over his body. A dark-purple, watery, liquid squirts out of them.
Thinking that this shows his blood flowing, I ask, "Why are you
bleeding?" He says he'll have to consult the Ouija board. I feel
surprised that he knows of Ouija boards. He says he used it at birth.
I return to waking physical reality and have a series of false
awakenings of both trying to record the dream and of calling Erin's Mom.
When I do call his Mom in the morning, I discover that her family had
planned to leave town the next day for a month. I had been trying to
attempt my healing goal for about a week. I describe my dream to Erin’s
Mom, and she tells me that she has wondered if his disease might relate
to blood problems he had at birth. Erin also mentioned his birth in my
Erin’s Mom then asks him if he had any dreams. He reports that he
dreamed he “was in a video game, got hurt, and was instantly healed.”
One of the characters in the video game has the name "Luigi", which
sounds almost exactly like "Ouija," the board mentioned in my dream.
Erin seemed to feel better after the healing because he did not ask for
pain medicine during the next month, as he did in the months before the
healing. Since then, his condition has improved and his doctors finally
let him get back into regular sports last Fall.
Did my healing attempt have an affect on Erin’s condition? Would he
have improved at the same rate without it? I cannot say one way nor
another, but I still feel pleased that I tried to help him.
To offer you more examples to consider, at the end of this
presentation, I will briefly mention some of my other explorations in
the healing potential of dreams. For now, I’d like to discuss some
general issues concerning dream healing.
HOW DO WE DEFINE HEALING?
The dictionary has many definitions for the word “heal:” To make sound
or whole; to restore to health; and to cause an undesirable condition,
which I will call a "problem," that we can try to overcome.
CAN WE AFFECT OUR PHYSICAL BODIES BY WHAT WE DO IN DREAMS?
I believe that what we dream or imagine can affect us physically. At
the Stanford Sleep Laboratory, when I dreamed of moving my dream body’s
eyes in a particular manner, electrodes picked up similar movement from
my physical eyes. Many other people have also showed positive physical
effects from active visualization. I, personally, have many examples
where my life seemed positively affected by my dreams.
DOES HEALING ALWAYS SEEM APPROPRIATE?
In certain cases, it might not best serve the subject of the healing to
eliminate a problem. As an example, a doctor may not want to
resuscitate a patient who asked ahead of time not to do so in certain
situations, such as when they would only exist in a vegetative state.
Also, some problems exist as symptoms of other problems, which should,
perhaps, get addressed first. For example, one may first want to learn
to eat and exercise better before getting a "tummy tuck."
Therefore, when attempting a healing, we should always ask for the
"best possible outcome." Many problems have several layers of
complexity and may involve different aspects of our mind, body, and
WHAT CAN WE ATTEMPT TO HEAL?
We may want to heal an internal physical problem of ourselves or
others, involving our organs, bones, muscles, nerves, or other
functions, as in the example of Erin. However, we may want begin with
simpler problems, such as a cut, burn, or wound. We can also consider
emotional, mental, or spiritual problems, such as the pain of grief,
depression, or of not seeming able to complete our goals, and thus not
DO WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO TRY TO HEAL OTHERS?
We need to consider the ethics and rights of others during the healing
process. Do we need another’s request or permission to try to heal them
in our dreams, or for that matter in waking physical reality? While in
a dream, do we ask the dream character for permission, or do we need to
wait to ask the person represented after we wake up?
By the term dream “character,” I mean a type of dream “body” or
“entity” that may or may not have a connection to a physical person.
For example, I usually connect to the dream “character” that looks and
acts like me.
What do we do if we’d like to heal our pet, a person who has died, or a
more general situation, such as our country? With these cases we cannot
easily ask the subject represented and necessarily expect an answer.
I feel that a healing may help, but only if the subject desires it.
Therefore, I make sure the dream character, whom I attempt to heal,
agrees to the healing.
When helping heal another person from my waking life, I usually ask
permission of the person in the waking state before I decide to dream
of the person. Discussing the healing with the person ahead of time
also means that I can share my results with the person and determine
any potential benefits from the healing. A dream character that I work
with may or may not look exactly like the physical person I wish to
heal, but I can usually recognize something about the character that
seems the best match to the physical person in my dream.
For people concerned about possible ethical issues of mutual dreaming,
I will try to explain what seems to happen for me. I sometimes ask
others to come into my dream by having them take on the role of a
character in my dream. This seems similar to how a director might ask
actors to take on a role of a character in her play. The actors must
accept responsibility for any extreme emotions or harm that their
characters may experience in the play, which could have lingering
effects on them after the play finishes.
I also may search for characters that I feel best represent the people
I want to heal while dreaming. When I look for specific dream
characters, it feels as if I am attempting to take on the role of a
character in someone else’s dream. I feel that the other person,
serving as the director of their own dream, has the right to not accept
me. In this case, I would probably not succeed in finding them. I would
never try to force myself into another’s dream.
WHAT HEALING TECHNIQUES CAN WE USE AND WHO CAN ASSIST US?
In dream healing, we can use various activities or props, including
energy forms, such as sparks shooting from our fingertips at the
subject of the healing, hands-on manipulation, chants, affirmations,
potions, experts, or even alternative selves. Basically, we can use
whatever we can imagine! However, some people feel that we should not
make up techniques, such as chants, but use only historically proven or
Other healing methods include asking to see the subject in perfect form
in a dream, or just willing the problem away. Many times, merely having
the subject face a scary situation or go directly into the pain in a
dream can result in a fabulous healing. I will share a few of these
examples toward the end of my presentation.
Sometimes, we may want to ask pertinent questions before going to sleep
or in a lucid dream, about how the subject can best deal with his or
her problem. In the dream, we may hear an answer spoken directly, or
see it written on something, such as a book or a wall. Answers can also
come indirectly through symbols, scenes, or activities.
For example, we could discover foods which we should or should not eat.
We might find our dream body in a pool of warm water, which could mean
that some form of heat or water therapy may help in physical reality.
We may want to ask an expert, or even a random person, in our dreams to
assist in the healing. I feel that all dream characters represent, in
part, aspects of our greater self, so anyone can have healing abilities
WHAT EFFECTIVENESS CAN WE EXPECT?
Of course, a dream healing, as any kind of treatment, may only have a
minor role in the healing process, or none at all. How we measure the
effect of a healing becomes another area of investigation. The results
may vary depending upon: the receptiveness of the subject; the ability,
intent, and focus of the healer; the condition to heal; the
appropriateness of the techniques; and many other variables.
CAN ATTEMPTING TO HEAL OTHER DREAM CHARACTERS HELP US?
When I assist others to heal in my dreams, I feel that I also heal, or
experience more wholeness, myself because I view all my dream
characters as representing aspects of my greater self. At the same
time, I feel that the characters in my dreams can, potentially, have a
connection to other people and therefore help these people as well.
One time, while in the sleep lab, I asked another dream character to
move his eyes. The results on the polygraph showed movement in my
physical eyes. This made me wonder if characters other than the one we
seem to take on also have a connection to our physical bodies.
CAN WE ALSO CAUSE HARM?
I realize that the possibility exists where one may adversely affect
dream characters, and hence their possible physical counterparts, while
attempting a dream healing. However, I think that this can happen
only if the subject allows it.
I also believe that, potentially, anyone can tap into positive energy,
or what we might call “love” or “God,” when attempting a dream healing.
Therefore, I see interactive dream healing as a form of “prayer.”
I see “evil,” not as a separate force, but merely as the absence of
love. Therefore, someone might not have the ability to heal, but this
does not mean that they can tap into evil in order to intentionally
As I said at the start of this presentation, I have used my dreams to
better myself, as well as others, in many ways all my life, without
formally calling it dream healing. I will now summarize some other
dreams that you may or may not have heard me speak about in the past.
As a child, I helped end the suffering that came from my nightmares by
facing up to "the witches" in my first lucid dream. The witches still
looked terrifying while I said, "Let’s get this over with," without
fear because I knew I was dreaming. After this dream, my witch
As an adolescent, I felt less inhibited by trying out frightening or
embarrassing situations initially in my dreams. When my best friend
died, I dealt with my grief by talking to her in my dreams.
I started doing formal lucid dream healings almost twenty-five years
ago. Dr. Stephen LaBerge, from the Stanford Sleep Laboratory, suggested
that I try rubbing my hands together and shooting out healing energy
from my fingers to my neck when I complained of a stiff neck one night
in the lab.
At the time, we were doing an experiment for Smithsonian Magazine. I
remember that sparks shot out from my fingers in my dream, but then my
hair caught on fire. I spent the dream trying to put out the fire. The
reporters got a good example of losing lucidity in a dream!
I later asked others in my dreams to work on my neck. One time, I asked
a janitor, the first person I saw in an elevator, to rub my neck. This
action seemed to help my neck afterwards in waking physical reality.
I often shot healing sparks at my dog in dreams to avoid any old-age
problems she might encounter. She lived a very long and happy life for
her breed. I did the same for my Mom while she lived and after she
died, when she appeared to me in a dream as needing some healing.
Recently, I added more techniques to my healing repertoire, such as
In my twenties, I solved a writer’s block in a dream by letting myself
get sucked into the "pit from hell." Afterwards, I felt able to
complete my Ph.D. in waking physical reality.
To help me with the frustration of finding a mate in my thirties, I
found my alternative selves in a dream and listened to their advice.
In my forties, when I felt devastated about not getting pregnant in
waking physical reality, I worked on the issue in my dreams by pulling
my creative force, the witches of my childhood dreams, into my body.
Soon afterwards, I had my son, now a healthy twelve-year-old boy.
In the year 2000, my mother had a sudden, massive stroke, and I became
faced with taking her off life support. I dealt with my extreme grief
in my dreams, in part, by surrendering to my now familiar "witches."
With minor injuries, I try to get optimum healing through actions in my
dreams. My dreams told me that a second degree burn I received last
summer needed to heal slowly. To assist the healing in my dreams, I
chanted a "Harry Potter" spell, similar to the one from my dream for
Erin, and spontaneously shot yellow liquid at my burn site. The area
appeared to get much better afterwards in physical reality.
I will give one last detailed example of an interactive healing dream.
In waking physical reality, on Monday, March 7, 2005, I went in for a
routine, annual gynecological exam. During the exam, my doctor found
that I had an "expanded uterus." He immediately did an ultrasound test
and determined that I had: "both a large cyst and a mass that looked
like it might be a tumor." He told me to return when I got my period to
do another ultrasound test to see if my condition changed.
I decided that I would try to have a lucid dream about my condition.
This time, instead of just zapping my uterus, I wanted to understand
more about why the situation occurred.
As a goal for my next lucid dream, I chose to ask some questions. I
wanted to know precisely: "What message does this condition want me to
know?" and "What can I do about it?" I also felt open to any healing
that would occur naturally in my dreams. I finally had some lucid
dreams on Monday morning March 14th.
I got answers to some of my questions in my earliest dreams. In my
dream of 6:45 am, I experienced a very direct healing.
In this dream, my nine-year-old son and I find ourselves in a camp-like
setting. We look for a bathroom and can only find an odd one.
Standing outside, we notice these huge geometric figures in five
different colors hovering and circling over us in the sky. They seem as
large as ocean liners. A turquoise colored one comes closest to me. It
has the shape of two candy dishes pressed together. They all seemed to
shoot a kind of energy on me which I experience as a healing. I become
very relaxed and open to taking in this invisible energy. I would
describe it best as a type of heat.
My son seems scared, but I tell him not to worry. I explain, "They came
to heal me!" Afterwards, we go back to the strange bathroom, which
apparently now works.
In the last dream of this night, I find my childhood home getting
rebuilt. Later, I discover that it did get rebuilt in waking physical
reality around the time of the dream.
At 2:45 pm that same day, I went back to see my doctor. He did another
ultrasound test searching for the cyst and the mass, but they did not
exist anymore. He found my uterus "no longer expanded, but completely
normal and healthy." Two years later, my uterus still remains normal.
Although these dreams had a powerful effect on me emotionally and
physically, I can not say for certain what part they played objectively
in my healing. Even so, I believe that they played a large part in my
healing experience, and I feel very grateful that I had them.
You can find the details of these examples and more on my website:
I now welcome any questions that you may have.