A synopsis by Robert A. Neimeyer on the process of Dreamscaping.
To cite: Neimeyer, R. A. & Neimeyer, J. (2019). Dreamscaping as meaning reconstruction: Recovering a father from the shadow of suicide in Gershman, N. & Thompson, B. E. (Authors & Eds.) Prescriptive memories in grief and loss: The art of dreamscaping. New York: Routledge.
THE GOAL OF THE DREAMSCAPING INTERVIEW is to accept any negatively valenced account of the loss or the deceased without disputation or elaboration, simply noting any discomfort implicit or explicit in the story as a starting place for its reconstruction. Then, by prompting memories of the deceased person’s valued characteristics and highly charged positive stories of their relationship to the interviewee, the interviewer elicits vividly recalled episodes, anchored in imagery and sensory detail, which tend to trigger a chain of affirming associations. These images then serve as resources for the later construction of a photomontage that pulses with positive energy and anchors an emotional truth regarding what was unique and special in the loved one, and his or her life with the interviewee.
IN THE SECOND STEP OF THE DREAMSCAPING PROCESS, the memory artist and client brainstorm about the material elicited in the interview, which is recorded, transcribed and shared to permit review by both parties. The goal of this phase is to identify what narrative therapists would refer to as a preferred story that resists the monolithic “colonizing” influence of the dominant story (White & Epston, 1990)… To work, the new story needs to be anchored in the client’s emotional truth, not constructed in a whole-cloth fashion from wishful thinking or mere “positive reframing” of a traumatic past. However, the contributions of playful conjecture, fantasy and make-believe are invited to add action, symbolic elements and relational connections that might not have been literally juxtaposed in any actual memory, provided the scenario is coherent, with elements working together to create a teachable moment worth preserving. The object is to construct consensus around a scene that has sufficient novelty, comedic intelligence and artful “mismatches” with the remembered reality to light up the emotional brain of the viewer, and particularly the client.”