What is a Healing Dreamscape?
A Healing Dreamscape is a reflection of The Positive You.
Sometimes we’re stuck between two worlds – the painful one we know and the hopeful one everyone keeps painting for us. So like a good movie still, the Healing Dreamscape invites us into an alternate universe. With its persuasive digital reality, we can preview a better tomorrow – and in some cases, a better yesterday. A Healing Dreamscape is healing photo art for anyone who views life through a negative filter due to grief, trauma, loss or regrets. Done well, it helps you self-soothe. Done perfectly, it gets you out in the world again, sharing your story with friends, family and community for a second round of healing.
It’s a re-framing of a coulda-shoulda past, or a next baby step. For example:
If it’s a memorial portrait and sympathy gift (i.e. a tribute or remembrance) of a child or adult who has died, their photograph will be used in a completely new and fresh way. Instead of feeling noticeably absent from your life, loved ones who’ve passed now become a supportive presence.
Example: Amy and Carl’s Healing Dreamscape integrates their stillborn into a family portrait as a water-tubing little brother.
If it’s a positive self-belief story, the Healing Dreamscape photomontage helps you practice being the new people you are through your active imagination. You and I would create a picture of your preferred future.
Example: Tish’s Healing Dreamscape includes her care-taking figures, Mom and Grandma, and her preferred future is a baking career.
Sometimes Healing Dreamscape photomontages can be bold reminders, warnings and rewards; other times they exist to exact a promise, to help us role-play or find sanctuary. Either way, interpreting one’s Healing Dreamscape or even talking to their piece has helped many a client learn to self-soothe and aspire to new roles.
What is a Healing Dreamscape made of? It’s a single photomontage that combines people, pets, meaningful objects and landscapes extracted from other photographs that evoke your happiest memories. If no photos exist for an important memory or story – I fabricate that scene from scratch out of my own images! Or I might ask another photographer if I can use their photo because it contains the object or scene you and I have been looking for.
Is it a process or a product? It’s both. It is a PROCESS (with a photo review and brainstorming I do with you, the client) and a PRODUCT (a fine art photomontage you’ll want to hold onto as a tangible object of hope).
Who comes up with the story? I do – with your input. As you share your epiphanies and insights with me from therapy or support groups and talk to me about the photos that mean so much to you, all the while I’m taking notes. You see, how you tell your tale tells me a great deal about you. If you’re a concerned friend or family member making a Healing Dreamscape for someone you love, I will ask you to send along my questions rather than have you guess at the answers.
What can I do with a Healing Dreamscape? Frame it, mount it (on an easel at a memorial service), hide it (in your wallet or a drawer), wear it as a photo purse or photo blanket or mail it out as a sympathy or gratitude card.
Why the name “Healing Dreamscape”? It’s not accidental this healing collage art has the word “Dream” in its name. Dreams have their own set of rules. They give us a freer rein to interpret and make free associations. The mere fact an object is in a dream is because it holds meaning.
Viewing your Healing Dreamscape works much in the same way as replaying a healing dream. It lavishes attention on a subject, slowing down time (especially valuable when one is grieving). It physically separates and commingles images into new hierarchies that safely remove negative associations you might have with a particular photograph.
Lastly, by infusing the piece with unexpected humor and irony, the underlying issues (from abandonment to regret) start to pale as you view emotionally-wrought photos from a different cognitive plane. You’ll see Big T traumas (and Little T’s as well) more philosophically and less judgmentally, as the Healing Dreamscape is a stage set where universal myths play out in the form of players, props and plots.
When our lives seem stuck, dreaming up a preferred story with me is a great place to begin the re-identification process. Writing of Healing Dreamscapes, psychologist Judy Weiser of the Photo Therapy Centre says she “fully recognizes their potential for deeper therapeutic effects beyond the initial visual impact.” Healing Dreamscapes are powerful because they are live metaphors made-to-order. Whether we give a Healing Dreamscape to ourselves or someone else gifts it to us, these fine art photomontages are a past or future that you can bask in, get replenished by and interpret for perpetuity.