Dreams and Gestalt therapy share an old friendship. Fritz Perls already showed at his workshops how dreams and dreamwork can accelerate the personal process and enrich the therapist’s range of techniques. Over time, however, Perls’s approach, according to which dreams are an intrapsychic projection, proved to be insufficient. In the view of Perls’s student and critic Isadore From, dreams are not a projection but a retroflection par excellence, and they can be fully understood only in relation to another person. Nevertheless, From’s innovation has not yet taken root in Gestalt therapy, and many therapists and teachers continue to work with Perls’s techniques and presuppositions. Today, From’s legacy is being revived by theorists, such as Margherita Spagnuolo Lobb, who are emphasizing the dialogic and aesthetic dimensions of Gestalt. For them, dreams are evidence and an expression of the human need for contact and relational experience per se. The paper first takes a look back at the changing understanding of dreams within Gestalt therapy, and then explores in detail the interpersonal dimension of dreaming, in particular within the context of the therapeutic process - including practical examples and methodological tips for how to sensitively bring dreams to life in both a individual and group setting.
Keywords: Dream, dreamwork, retroflection, intersubjective communication, easthetics of contact group, ritual.