Bouchard, Rick (1996).Twelve Tips for Improving Dream Recall & A Few Words About Journaling. Electric Dreams 3(1).

(Jan. 1996)


Twelve Tips for Improving Dream Recall

by Rick Bouchard-


1. Develop a relationship with your "unconscious." When you tell your unconscious ("psyche") that you want to hear what it has to speaks! Sometimes, a simple interest in the dream world will stim u late dream recall.

2. Go to bed early. Getting a full night's sleep and having a clear head in the morning will help with dream recall. 3. Before going to sleep, affirm: "Tonight, I will remember a dream..."

4. Have a paper, a pen, and a subtle light by your bed. This minimizes the obstacles you may ex pe ri ence upon waking to record, minimizes the movements you must make, and makes the job easier. A subtle light will not fully wake you.

5. Let yourself wake up in the middle of the night. Drink extra water, the night before, to assure that you will have to get up in the middle of the night, where you can often catch your self dream ing.

6. Set aside quiet time between "waking up" and "getting up." Savor the twilight,...that space one teeters between when they are half awake and half asleep.

7. No alarm clocks. Alarm clocks can decrease recall be cause they allow you no "twilight time." You are suddenly thrust into an awake state. Instead, try going to bed earlier so you wake up and savor that quiet time be fore the alarm does go off. Meanwhile, hope ful ly, memories of the dream images will sur face in your silence.

8. Do not move upon awakening. Dreams are best recalled by lying still and letting the dream images surface. Ask "psyche" to let what ev er you dreamt come to your conscious mind.

9. Record just a key work or an image. If you can't remember the whole dream, write down a fragment, a mood, a feeling. You can cer tain ly discover mean ing in dream snip pets and fragments.

10. Tell your dream to a trusted other or a dream part ner. Saying them out loud can make them feel more real and can bring on an "aha!" (that light that goes on when we realize some thing). As au thor Jeremy Taylor says, this ("aha") is a reliable touch stone of whether or not you are onto an ac cu rate interpretation. You

are the only one who can say for sure what a dream means for you.

11. Tape recording dreams can help you get closer to the experience and feelings you had when you actually had the dream. It reflects back to you what you sounded like, and perhaps were feeling, (in the mid dle of the night) as you re cord ed the dream.

12. Experiment with how you remember, record, analyze, and explore your dreams; try drawing, poetry, clay, and so on. Weave them into your day. Dreams can be the source of much inspiration, wisdom, and joy.


A Few Words About Journaling


1. Date your entry. This can help you later make con nec tions between your dreams and the events in your life.

2. Title your dreams. This can help in cataloging and, later, in locating dreams. Also, "where" you get the title tends to be from the same creative, inner place that the dream comes from. Pay attention to this!

3. Write the dream in a journal in the present tense. This allows you to reserve the past tense for when it really happens in the dream (e.g., I am walking down the street and suddenly recognize a wom an I once worked with). Writing the dream in the present tense also allows you to experience more closely and acutely the feelings you were actually having when you had the dream.

4. Lastly, at the bottom of the page, make a few notes about what is going on in your life at the time. This can help you later see patterns.

5. Choose a journal that meets your needs; this will make journaling a more pleasurable experience! For example, I find a journal that lies flat, has pages that can be re moved and later reinserted, has pag es that will not al low ink to bleed through to the other side, and, which has a hard back for support is most in line with my needs as a dream journaler.


Rick Bouchard, as the director of the Dream Part of Our Journey, attends workshops at the C.G. Jung Center in Brunswick, the C.G. Jung Institute in Boston, the C.G. Jung Foundation in New York City; he is also a truth seeker within Unity Church of Greater Portland in Windham, Maine.

According to Bouchard, "My approach is Jungian, feminist, systemic, and homeopathic." He places a strong emphasis on spirituality in his practice.

The Dream Part of Our Journey Mission statement reads:

'Acknowledging there are many paths to enlightenment, "The Dream Part of Our Journey seeks to illuminate and offer dream theory, tools and techniques for working with dreams, and a forum for the feelings that arise during dreamwork through ongoing groups, workshops, and classes." '


As facilitator, I see myself as teacher, support, and spiritual guide. The leader and group members offer dream theory, techniques for working with dreams, and a forum for the feelings that arise during dreamwork. I believe a dialogue with the "unconscious" is important. It can enhance one's spiritual journey, foster wholeness, lend itself to decision making, empower, comfort, entertain, and challenge you.... To enhance one's relationship with their "dream center," a dreamer may wish to explore a variety of avenues available in dream work, such as dream incubation (consciously influencing what subjects one dreams about), lucid dreaming (dreaming with full awareness that you are dreaming), active imagination (dialoguing, during meditation, with dream characters/objects), dream re-entry (re-entering a dream from a conscious state providing an opportunity to finish or rewrite the ending) and sculpting (role playing the dream, in three dimensions, utilizing props and the other members of the group). These, and other techniques, improve dream recall, enhance self-awareness, and provide ways to illuminate & approach The Dream Part of Our Journey. Participation in dream groups can be a spiritual experience. "No dream is out of the realm of possibility for another dreamer." Anyone can imaging dreaming such a theme. This creates a commonality, a communion, and what author Jeremy Taylor refers to as "...the shared felt sense of the presence of the divine." Let us explore and honor these gifts

The Dream Part of Our Journey was founded by Rick Bouchard in 1994. While his practice offering dreamgroups is in its second year, he has been studying dreamwork for four years and remains a committed student dreamer himself. He attended the University of Southern Maine, receiving a BA in Philosophy, and the University of New England, receiving a Masters in Social Work.

The Dream Part of Our Journey is now located at On Balance at 4 Milk St. in Portland. On Balance, a center of healing education, has provided space for The Dream Part of Our Journey to conduct its groups, workshops, and classes.

E-mail Rick at: