Substance use problems and the accompanied personal and societal dysfunction have been “front burner” issues in western societies for more than one hundred years.  A variety of treatment strategies have been implemented with inconsistent results, including specially designed treatments for those problems alone.                                                                    

 The dreams of substance users have received scant attention in any treatments. Whether this neglect stems from the difficulties presented by these patients or is a consequence of our field’s increasing demands for empiricism, we know that we all dream. History is replete with examples of finding meaning and direction in life from dreams. Whether or not we choose to work with the  dream material of our patients, many will present us their dreams and ask us about them. Do they present the longings and inner workings of the mind?   Or, are they mere artifacts of neurological function?

 In this seminar, we will discuss the dreams of substance users and their potential as a source of progress and therapeutic connection in the consulting room.  The choice to focus on prototypic content or working to unravel latent meanings from manifest content will be presented in historical context from Freud to current neurological and neuropsychoanalytic research.

 Learning objectives:

 Understanding and addressing the many complications of working with abstinent, recovering and active substance users, as well as, undisclosed, denied or emergent substance use.

 Recognizing and the potentials for use of prototypic drug and alcohol content, e.g., explicit dreams of use in dreams.

 Gaining perspective on manifest and latent dream content and the potential and hazards they may present for treatment of substance users.

 Learn the connections between classical dream theory and neuropsychoanalytic contributions as they relate to drug dreams.

 How to work with substance use dreams interpersonally to support and enhance the therapeutic alliance in psychotherapy.

 How your countertransference anxiety may assist you in your work with substance users and their dreams.

About the Presenter: David W. Wilson, M.Ed.,

Dr. Wilson is a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Wilmington, Delaware and Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. He has presented papers and workshops nationally and internationally addressing the problems of substance use and severe mental illness in outpatient settings, psychoanalytic history, problems of clinical practice, and underserved clinical populations. His contributions to the cognitive therapy of substance use were acknowledged in the Cognitive Therapy of Substance Use.

Currently, he is a distance faculty member the Interregional Center for Contemporary Psychoanalysis in St. Petersburg, Russia where he provides group supervision and conducts a group studying treatment of substance use and severe mental illness