The Dream Journal
From Studying Stars to Studying Dreams with Katherine Bell

We turn the mic around today and Katherine is interviewed by the host of Narrative Species, music creator and engineer for the show Rick Kleffel. Katherine starts by talking about her history first growing up in a family of six scientists and then as an astrophysicist getting her PhD from UCSC and working at NASA in Mountain View for 11 years. We talk about the evolution of her focus from thoughts to feelings as she moved from science to dreams.

Katherine describes her experience of almost dying in 2005 because she was able to successfully suppress her feelings until her appendix ruptured and how this lead her to go deeper into her dreams. Katherine recommends accessing emotions through bodily sensations rather than using labels and describes the parts of the brain that are active during dreams. She encourages listeners to set up their own dream groups and describes how difficult it can be to distill the chaos of dreams into a concrete dream report.

We take a call from Chris from Felton who was a member of Katherine’s original dream group which started in the 1990s. Chris asks Katherine about her vision for the future. She finishes by talking about the book about dreams that she is working on.

Katherine is going to start up her Monday afternoon group again by mid-January. Contact her if you’d like to join.

BIO: Katherine has worked with dreamers and dream groups for 25 years and has presented in venues ranging from local to international. She works with the international association for the study of dreams where she is on the Board of Directors and the Ethics Committee. Also she is the conference planning co-chair. Katherine is working on a book about dreams. She came to Santa Cruz as an astrophysicist in 1985 and earned a a PhD, after which she worked for NASA in Mountain View for 11 years. Find her at

Books that are mentioned:

How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut

Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill by Jeremy Taylor

We play clips from the following two guest-selected songs: Reina del Cid and Toni Lindgren cover Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” and Achilles Wheel plays “This Is Life”.

Ambient music created by Rick Kleffel new every week. Many thanks to Rick Kleffel for engineering the show and to Tony Russomano for answering the phones.

Show aired on December 18, 2021.


The Dream Journal is produced at and airs on KSQD Santa Cruz, 90.7 FM, streaming live at 10-11am Saturday mornings Pacific time.  Catch it live and call in with your dreams or questions at 831-900-5773 or at

If you want to contact Katherine Bell with feedback, suggestions for future shows or to inquire about exploring your own dreams with her, contact, or find out more about her at

The complete KSQD Dream Journal podcast page is found here.

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