The Dream Journal
Psychedelics and Dream Koans with Dr Tom Whalen

Exploring dreams is a powerful way to integrate psychedelic experiences. Our guest is Dr Tom Whalen. We talk about differences and similarities between dreaming and psychedelics in brain activation and in the abundance of various neuro transmitters. Tom talks about the importance of working with dreams non-interpretively since offered ideas can overrule the innate wisdom of the dreamer. We talk about Guru Yoga and also Tom’s approach to working with dreams which he calls a Dream Koan practice. He will be presenting his work at the IASD conference in Tucson in July. We end with Tom demonstrating his non-interpretive approach by exploring a dream with Katherine.

BIO: Tom Whalen is an MD practicing pain medicine. For the last 15 years, he’s been following advances in neuroscience, including the use of psychedelics to treat addiction and PTSD. His passion lies in the realms of spiritual practice. He has been practicing Zen since 1971 and Archetypal Dreamwork since 1989. With these two practices, he has synthesized a “new” form of Zen practice, which he calls Dream-Koan practice. He currently offers this practice with Rick Issan Elkin, through the Eighth Wave Community at  Also Look for Dr. Whalen at and

We play clips from the following two guest-selected songs: ‘Jackie’ James McMurtry and ‘The Dirty Monk’ Kevin Eubanks (album Zen Food).

Outro music is Everything by Mood Science. Ambient music created by Rick Kleffel new every week. Many thanks to Rick Kleffel for also engineering the show, to Tony Russomano for answering the phones and to Ewa Malady for audio editing.

Dr. Tom Whalen also appeared on the Dream Journal in October 2020.

Show aired on April 23, 2022.


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

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