The Dream Journal
The Dream Journal
Safety is the Treatment, with Leslie Ellis, PhD

We speak about nightmares and the nervous system using an approach combining polyvagal theory and embodied experiential approaches including Gendlin’s practice of Focusing. She argues that learning to find a sense of safety is not just necessary for treatment to proceed but that the sense of safety is the treatment itself.

Dr. Ellis also speaks about her work on teaching clinicians to welcome their clients’ dreams in therapy including why clinicians are so intimidated by dreams. These simple techniques can also be used when sharing dreams with friends and partners. Such dream-sharing has been shown to increase a sense of intimacy and trust in the relationship.

We end with Leslie helping me to unpack my dream of being a zombie in a compound and seeing a dancing half-mechanical elephant.

BIO: Dr. Leslie Ellis is a leading expert in embodied experiential approaches to working with dreams and nightmares. She is author of ‘A Clinician’s Guide to Dream Therapy’ and offers a range of online and zoom classes for professionals wanting to deepen their skills in working with client dreams. She has written numerous book chapters and articles on dreams and focusing-oriented therapy, which is a gentle, yet profound way of inquiring into the body. She is currently vice president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

Web:, IG: dreamsdemystified

Join us at the 2022 IN PERSON dream conference in Tucson July 17-21. Register and learn more at

We play clips from the following two guest-selected songs:

Outro music is Everything by Mood Science. Ambient music created by Rick Kleffel new every week. (The audio can be found sprinkled throughout the blog at Many thanks to Rick Kleffel for also engineering the show, to Tony Russomano for answering the phones and to Ewa Malady for audio editing.

Show aired on June 4, 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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