Because this article focuses on dreams, and specifically on the Personalized Method For Interpreting Dreams (PMID), I include a concise presentation of the model here. I developed this model during my thesis research for a Masters of Counselor Education degree at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Personalized Method for Interpreting Dreams (PMID) steps, concisely stated
Consider and explore these aspects of your dream:
- Step 1: Day-before-dream events that connect to this dream.
- Step 2: Day-before-dream thoughts that connect to this dream.
- Step 3: Major dream phrases (and symbols) defined in the context of this dream.
- Step 4: Dreaming and waking life emotions compared to the dream issue or relationship.
- Step 5: Solutions or suggestions on changing (or affirming) thoughts, attitudes or behaviors. Look for answers to day-before-your-dream thoughts.
- Step 6: Main relationships, plus dreaming and waking life reactions to each person in the dream.
In 2004-2005, I had a series of dreams which guided me to write a book. The first one came out of the blue and caused me to change my life course towards this writing endeavour, but in the subsequent months and years a number of other dreams came which helped clarify my path.
The first dream - Inspiration
The first dream was one which encouraged me to delay work on my own dreams, in favour of working on “new systems”. At the time, I interpreted this to mean a book that would be a collection of dream interpretation models - in effect, a “universal system of models”.
To explain, every few years I think, “Well, now I can leave teaching counselor education and work exclusively on my own dreams, particularly my spirituality dreams”. To date, my dreams had dissuaded me from leaving counselor education.
The dream, which I subsequently titled “Targeted to Write a Universal Systems Book”, is one of those dissuasion dreams. It came one night after a day in which I intensely thought about my plans to work exclusively on my own dreams. I thought I had completed my counselor education work by preparing a lessons book for a distance education course about relationship dreams.
Dream (May 31, 2004):
I am typing on the computer my husband and I named, “Our Majesty”. All of a sudden I see a bag with some pink liquid that has squirted out of Our Majesty. First, I think I need to have the pink liquid in the computer, but then I think, Oh, I could operate it without that liquid because some liquid would be left. I do think that my computer may squeak a little because of being low on the liquid, as do most machines. As I sit, my former accounting advisor comes and says that the university is going to put in completely new computer systems, and I am one targeted to be the administrator. I am quite surprised. I say, “Here I am, one who doesn’t know all that much about computers, and so I am quite curious why I would be top of the list to administer these new systems”. It isn’t a done deal, I need to apply. We walk together. I say to my advisor that I work with my dreams, and I say, “This project isn’t in that line”. He doesn’t seem to respond to that.
My advisor doesn’t explain what would be entailed with the job. I am left without knowing much about it. He does tell me this will be a year and a half commitment, and I either tell him or think to myself I just wouldn’t want to be away from working with my own dreams for a year and a half. I feel resistant and strained in doing this. He obviously thinks it is something I should do. Later, a young woman tells me I need to get the application for systems administrator filed within a week. I am not the only one applying for the job.
I still debate whether I want to do this. I ask her what the job entails, and she gives me a few more details than my advisor did, but still doesn’t give many details, and on waking I have no recall of what she said.
Considering this dream through the lens of PMID Step 2 (Day-before-dream thoughts that connect to this dream), I had a number of insights. The day before my “Targeted to Write a Universal Systems Book” dream, I studied three dreams I had on August 19, 1995. One directed me to “share my food” with adopted children, meaning to give the same degree of devotion to people outside my family as to my family. Using that connection, a possible theme for “Targeted to Write a Universal Systems Book”, would be: “Food to share”. Thus, what symbolic food does this dream show to share? Quite simply, my Personalized Method for Interpreting Dreams (PMID) that I developed during my master of counselor education thesis research. However, I didn’t understand that answer at the time of this dream.
Though at the time of this dream I realized the dream meant to delay work on my own spirituality dreams, I had no idea of how long I would work on this “universal systems book”. It would be far more than a year and a half commitment shown in the dream. The greatest delay came when I misinterpreted the “Targeted to Write a Universal Systems Book”, dream to mean that I had been targeted to invite other dream work authors to write chapters in a book I would administer. That collection of dream interpretation models would, thus, be a universal system of models.
Using connections to my intense thoughts from the day before this dream (when I intensely thought about my plans to work exclusively on my own dreams), a possible thought-question this dream responded to could be: “Am I coming close to having time to devote exclusively on working with my own dreams?”
Did this dream answer that question? My former accounting advisor did tell me that this is a year and a half commitment. Three years and five months after this “Targeted to Write a Universal Systems Book” I finally understood the true intent of this dream! The answer to my thought-question was no - I am not close to having time to devote exclusively on working with my own dreams.
Some details in the dream I did understand at the time of my “Targeted to Write a Universal Systems Book”, (May 31, 2004) included from PMID Step 3 (Major dream phrases and symbols defined in the context of this dream) were:
Typing on my computer that my husband and I named “Our Majesty”: Our Majesty was the computer that I used exclusively for my own dreams at the time of this dream.
Pink liquid that has squirted out of Our Majesty: Antifreeze is pink liquid my husband puts in our camper pipes so they won’t freeze during winter. We don’t use our camper in the winter. Here it means to put my plans about working exclusively with my own dreams on hold.
Computer may squeak a little because of being low on the liquid: This represents the difficulty I could face if I failed to put my own exclusive dreams on hold.
Advisor obviously thinks it is something I should do: The universal systems book is something I should do. Use my experiences to write the book.
The prominent relationship in this dream (PMID Step 6) is with my former accounting advisor. My most prominent memory about him was that he said his preparation years enabled him to do what he wanted to do all along—teach. He advised me to use my experiences to teach, which I eventually did. As to this current dream, my reaction to trust in his wisdom gave me confidence that whatever the new universal system is, it must be valuable.
How I originally interpreted completely new systems: I originally interpreted the dream phrase, completely new systems, meant a collection, a system, of contemporary dream interpretation models. Thus, I invited other dream interpretation developers to write chapters in the proposed book tentatively titled, Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models. Within the Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models book I placed emphasis on other dream interpretation models and left minimal room to present my PMID model.
The second dream - Guidance and encouragement
In the meantime, (during the three years and five months after my “Targeted To Write A Universal Systems Book” dream, many guiding dreams came.
For instance, approximately five years before I sent a proposal to Routledge publisher’s main office in England, a precognitive dream foretold the city of the eventual publisher for the book that we eventually titled The Counselor’s Guide For Facilitating The Interpretation of Dreams, Family and Other Relationship Systems Perspectives.
The full meaning of this dream was not clear to me until later, but at the time it was a very encouraging dream. At the time I was thinking about which publishing company I should consider for offering my new book. When in due course my book changed course and did end up on the desk of a New York editor, I knew my book was in the right place.
Young Man Says, “I’ll Bet You Will Be in New York Next” (August 30, 2004)
Dream: I am sitting at a table listening to a presentation with other people. A young man is explaining to us how to do some kind of application, for want of better description. I feel like an odd person to be in this setting, somewhat as if “this doesn’t fit in my circumstances”.
Later there is another meeting. I get all dressed to go to that meeting, but I decide I won’t go. The meeting is going on in the next room. I am wondering how many people are there, if enough showed up to encourage the presenter.
After the meeting the young man presenter comes into this room where I am and talks to me about his presentation. He points to something I have written on a couple pieces of paper.
I don’t have my glasses on, so I really don’t see what he points to. He is talking about whatever it is that I could apply for or join something that one needs to do to be accepted on something. He continues upbeat. He doesn’t even act as if I haven’t paid much attention.
The scene changes and I am walking down a walk in an open area with this young man. He says to me, “I bet you will be in New York next ____” – Did he say year? He definitely did say, “I bet you will be in New York next”. I am surprised and a bit thrilled about that.
PMID Step 2 (Day-before-dream thoughts that connect to this dream): The day before this dream I thought intensely about who I would work with on this new book, and I asked for a dream about that. Yet, I thought, I really don’t need to know now after all. What I need to do is to begin to write the book.
However, I neither understood the “Young Man Says, I’ll Bet You Will Be In New York Next” dream at the time I dreamed it nor five years later when I sent a proposal to Routledge’s main office in England. Then the England editorial assistant forwarded my proposal to a young man in New York who was interested in dreams, Dana Bliss, a young male editor for Routledge of New York at the time. Notice this precognitive dream came just three months after my “Targeted to Write a Universal Systems Book” (May 31, 2004) dream.
I continued to make preparations for the textbook as a contemporary dream interpretation models book, a compilation of several dream interpretation models. With that plan, I moved my Personalized Method for Interpreting Dreams (PMID) to last in the book. Then a dream disagreed with my waking-life plan. Writers’ dreaming minds catch ever so many details, including omissions, as the next dream shows.
The third and fourth dreams - Clarification
Three years and five months after my “Targeted To Write A Universal Systems Book” dream, I had a correcting dream which I titled “Feeling Distraught About Moving Away from the House that I love”. Symbolically speaking, the “House that I Love” is my researched Personalized Method for Interpreting Dreams (PMID).
Feeling Distraught About Moving Away From The House That I Love (October 25, 2007)
John (my husband) and I are going to move to another house in this same town. I feel distraught. I love this house we live in… I realize I had a dream about moving to that other house and so I definitely will follow my dream, but I just am very unenthused about that other house. I see it in my mind’s eye as a two story older house with weathered – needs paint – siding. It is a white house. I think about “well I haven’t looked at it in a while so I will drive over there”. But I just feel unenthused about moving… But I say to John “I’m going to look that dream up to make sure I understood it correctly”.
PMID Step 1: Connect pre-dream current events and circumstances (most often, day before) the dream contents to identify the context or category of the dream.
Yesterday I submitted a colleague and my article to a journal editor, the last project before I continue to work on the textbook of several contemporary dream interpretation models...
PMID Step 2: Connect pre-dream thoughts (emotionally charged thoughts, especially) to dream contents by treating the dream as a responsive answer to pre-dream thoughts:
Yesterday I thought “So now it is time to work exclusively on the textbook I am putting together of several contemporary dream interpretation models…”
PMID Step 3: Major dream phrases (and symbols) defined in the context of this dream.
John (my husband) and I are going to move to another house in this same town: In the context of this dream, the next project on my desk that I plan to complete — the “Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models” textbook.
I love this house we live in: In the context of this dream, the Personalized Method for Interpreting Dreams (PMID).
Realize I had a dream about moving to that house and so I definitely will follow my dream: Yes I had a dream – “Targeted to Write a Universal Systems Book” - that I understood to mean to put a contemporary dream interpretation textbook together.
See it in my mind’s eye as a two story older house with weathered – needs paint – siding: This “old weather house” is representative of the dream interpretation models in the books that are already published – old books by now — the books I was describing in my “Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models” textbook drafts.
Think about “well haven’t looked at it in a while so will drive over there”: Will look at the books in the Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models book I am putting together at the time of this dream.
PMID Step 4: Dreaming and waking life emotions compared about the dream issue or relationship
During my dream “But I just feel unenthused about moving” to the Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models as the focus in the “Targeted to Write a Universal Systems Book” dream. I feel distraught about leaving the PMID model as a minor part of the book and moving to these old models as the focus.
PMID Step 5: Solutions or suggestions on changing (or affirming) thoughts, attitudes or behaviors. Look for answers to day-before-your-dream thoughts.
This dream suggestion is to look again at my May 2004 dream to see what it really means.
This third dream, and the next one that follows, were the ones that clarified the form the book would take. Up until this point, I’d been focused on writing a ‘systems book’ in the sense that it would give an overview of different models of dream interpretation. This dream encouraged me to put this focus instead on my own researched model, the Personalized Method for Interpreting Dreams (PMID).
If the PMID Model is Presented Last, There Won’t be Time During the Semester for Students to Understand How to Use the Model (February 26, 2005)
Dream: I am riding in the front seat of a car or van with a couple of other people. The one sitting next to me is a young woman. There’s someone on the other side of her with whom she visits about dreams. I am sitting in the driver’s position. I am just sitting here enjoying listening to these young women talk about their dreams. They just tell their dreams; I don’t recall much about they're trying to interpret them; perhaps they do, but it is mostly telling their dreams.
After a while I start to explain to the young woman next to me how to use the PMID model. She gets the first step (discover the theme of the dream). I tell her about thoughts (that prompted this dream), but she doesn’t seem to understand the step about thoughts with only talking. I explain, “You need to write your day-before-your dream thoughts down”. I don’t feel hurried as I take the time to explain this step. However, the catch is that we are almost to our destination, so there isn’t time to explain the rest of the PMID model steps as thoroughly as she needs for her to be able to use it to interpret her dreams. I do feel pressed about there not being enough time to explain how to use the full PMID model.
PMID Step 1 (Day-before-dream events that connect to this dream): The evening before this dream I did a little work on the first of the two chapters on the PMID model that I planned to include at the end of my proposed Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models. The contemporary dream interpretation models were earlier in the book.
In the context of this dream front seat of a car or van represents the book Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models, which was the title of the textbook at the time of this dream. That I am sitting in the driver’s position shows that I am the “administrator”, coordinator of the book, and could have the “driving say” for where the PMID model goes in the book.
The other dream interpretation models I plan for the Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models book in process are represented when I am listening to these young women talk about their dreams… During the dream I don’t recall much about them trying to interpret their dreams. That is, the other methods are minimal self-interpretation. In contrast, the PMID model is one in which the dreamer interprets the dream; when a counselor is involved the counselor facilitates the dreamer’s use of the model.
Just sitting and enjoying listening to the conversation is what I would be doing if the other dream interpretation models were first in the book. After a while symbolizes the later chapters of the proposed Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models book, which is where the PMID model was placed at the time of this dream.
Doesn’t seem to get it with only talking when I talk about thoughts (PMID Step 2) shows that students need the steps explained and demonstrated to understand how to use the PMID model. When I don’t feel hurried as I explain demonstrates the best way to teach how to use the model is to explain each step thoroughly. However, if the PMID is in only two chapters there will be insufficient room for explanations and demonstrations. Further, with the PMID chapters last in the book, there will be insufficient time left in the semester for students to learn the model well enough to use it.
Almost to our destination symbolizes almost to the end of the Contemporary Dream Interpretation Models book, which is where the PMID section was at the time of this dream. At the end of this dream, I do feel pressed about being insufficient time to explain how to use the full PMID model. Before this dream I didn’t feel pressed about the PMID being near the end of the book.
How I used this Dream Guidance
It seems my first dream of May 31, 2004, was talking about what I was planning to do at the time – update the textbook I wrote for the classes, BUT it was saying instead of just updating it, REWRITE it – write a completely new textbook for the PMID model. Stay in the house I love – the PMID model. Do NOT write a textbook in which the focus is other authors’ models.
Because of the third and fourth dreams, I moved the PMID model, including all six PMID model steps, to the front of the book and deleted the chapters about contemporary dream interpretation models. I followed Dana Bliss’s guidance for preparing the book for publication. It was published as The Counselor’s Guide for Facilitating the Interpretation of Dreams: Family and Other Relationship Systems Perspectives by Routledge in 2011.
This article was originally written in February 2021, and received significant input from Dan Kennedy, especially in the introductory paragraphs of each section.