David Van Nuys, Ph. D.
Office: Stv. 3092d
Office Hours: By Appt.
Phone: 585-7363
e-mail: vannuysd@sonoma.edu



Psychology 322 (1)
Seminar on Myth, Dream, and Symbol
Stevenson 3042
Mon. 8:00 AM- 11:40

This course involves personal and intellectual exploration of the unconscious, largely through the vehicle of dreams.

Class meets once a week. The first half of the meeting usually will be devoted to didactic presentations in the form of lectures, discussions of the reading, films, guest speakers, and the presentation of student creative projects toward the end of the term.

The second half of the meeting will always be devoted to dream-sharing and dream work in various modes. Obviously, this demands some willingness on your part to explore and share important aspects of your inner and outer life with others.

In the process, you will learn to keep a journal, with a special emphasis upon dreams, and you will learn that your dreams are meaningfully related to other aspects of your life. You will learn skills and concepts which will enable you to work with your own dreams and you will learn to be a good, non-intrusive facilitator of others understanding their dreams. You will become conversant in a number of dream theories. Most emphasis is given to the Jungian perspective, however. Through the completion of a creative project, you will extend yourself into unfamiliar terrain and learn to recognize and affirm your own life-myth and core symbols.


The dream-sharing process is a deeply personal one and at times can be an anxiety-arousing one. Students who take the course should be in a sufficiently settled place in their lives that they are willing to undertake such a voyage of discovery. On rare occasions a student may be asked to drop this class if, in my judgement, they themselves are not prepared to take such a journey at this time or they make others in the class feel unsafe to do so.

An important ingredient in creating a safe environment is the ability to maintain confidentiality. That is to say, a prerequisite of the class is your agreement not to talk about other students' dreams or lives outside of class.

I require Junior, Senior, or Grad standing for this class as well as at least one or two prior psychology courses.

Finally, since so much of this class hinges on dream-sharing, it is important that you be a person who tends to remember at least one dream a week. Some people say they hardly ever remember a dream. It is quite difficult to enjoy this class or fulfill its basic requirements if dream recall is too low.


This class is graded on an A - F basis. Grades are based on (1) your performance on exams or papers covering each of the five required books, (2) a final integrative paper on your dreams during the semester, and (3) attendance. To earn a grade of "A" you must score 90% or above, 80% or higher for a "B," and so on.

There are a couple of points I should make about grading. First, I tend not to lecture on the books. I expect you to read the books and get the significant material out of them on your own. I generally prefer to use class time to introduce supplementary material rather than go over material which the author has already presented. However, you have a standing invitation to ask any questions you wish in class, about the reading or whatever.

The other point I wish to make about grading is that you try not to make your grade the central concern in this course. The tools that I am teaching here can make a deep difference in the rest of your life, regardless of the grade you earn. Some people aren't great test-takers or paper-writers yet they are capable of great wisdom. Unfortunately, the academic system doesn't lend itself to measuring or crediting this. My advice to you is to get involved with the material for your own personal growth and more or less let the grades fall where they may. I know this is easier said than done but give it a try.

Each student keeps a dream journal in which they make regular entries of dreams, daydreams, doodles, drawings, meditations, reflections, and so on. You are asked to keep a separate volume for your journal; not to just use your regular notebook. Create a special journal for yourself and your unconscious will reward you for the effort. Various tips will be given in class about how to remember your dreams better, if this is a problem, as well as about journal keeping.

Always bring your journal to class with you since you will need it for various activities. I never collect the journals or ask to read them (though I do expect to see them in your possession in class). Nor is the dream journal graded. It is your personal, private document. At the same time, however, the keeping of a dream journal and bringing it to class is absolutely required.

At the end of the semester, a final "dream paper" is required, 4 - 6 typewritten pages in length. You have a lot of leeway in how you approach this paper. Basically, it is to be based upon your dreams of the semester, bringing to bear the analytic tools you have acquired. I recommend you work with a recurring dream image or with a series of dreams that lay bare some issue in your life. You will find that your dream journal is an indispensable aid in doing your dream paper. The dream papers are graded but this is an assignment that really is for you more than for me. I have found that a lot of growth and insight occurs for students in the process of writing this paper. Having to look back through their journals and synthesize what they find seems to catalyze insights that had eluded them. Believe it or not, students often thank me for this assignment.

Another required, but ungraded, piece of work is the "creative project." This is another assignment that is really for the student's deep benefit. We ask you to take your dream symbols and give tangible expression to one or more of them through something that you make with your hands and that you later share with the whole class. This is ungraded in order to try to take away some of the pressure and anxiety surrounding feelings of artistic inferiority. The idea is to get closer to your creative unconscious by engaging in non-verbal, right-brain activity. Typically, the sharing of creative projects turns out to be a high point of the class, even though it is often regarded with some apprehension before hand.

All papers should be typewritten. Late papers or exams are graded down by one grade per week or fraction thereof past the due date (e.g A to A-, A- to B+, and so on).

Class attendance is required. You can miss just one class session without penalty. Anyone missing more than one class session can expect to be penalized one grade for each additional cut date (e.g A to A-, A- to B+, and so on). These can add up.

Course Learning Goals

In the process, you will learn to keep a journal, with a special emphasis upon dreams, and you will learn that your dreams are meaningfully related to other aspects of your life.  You will learn skills and concepts which will enable you to work with your own dreams and you will learn to be a good, non-intrusive facilitator of others understanding their dreams.  You will become conversant in a number of dream theories, including cross-cultural and historic perspectives.  Most emphasis is given to the Jungian perspective, however.  Through the completion of a creative project, you will extend yourself into unfamiliar terrain and learn to recognize and affirm your own life-myth and core symbols.

Psychology Department Learning Goals

The department learning goals state that students should:

  1. Be familiar with the major concepts, theories, and perspectives in psychology;
  2. Be able to apply psychological theories, concepts and principles to individual experience as well as to broader social issues and social systems;
  3. Be able to reflect on personal experience in the light of psychological knowledge;
  4. Be able to recognize and understand the complexity of cultural diversity, in light of psychological knowledge;
  5. Be able to understand and apply basic research methods in psychology and the social sciences;
  6. Be able to demonstrate skills that promote behavioral change at the individual, organizational, and community levels.

Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability and you think you may require accomodations, you must register with the campus office of Disabled Student Services, located in Salazar Hall, room 1049, phone 664-2677. DSS will provide you with written confirmation of your verified disability and authorize recommended accommodations. This authorization must be presented to the instructor before any accommodations can be made.

Academic Honesty

See Psychology Department policy at the end of this document.

Office Hours

My office is located inside the main Psychology department office, Stevenson 3092d. My office phone is 664-2847 but I am best reached at my home office phone which is 585-7363. I'm keeping office hours by appointment.

My three teaching assistants in this class are:

Barbara took a version of this class with me in the past and subsequently served as my TA. Michelle and Sandy both have Master's degrees and considerable experience with depth psychology work. We're luck to have these highly qualified women. Since they work with me as volunteers, they do not keep regular office hours but are willing to meet with students on an as-needed basis, as their schedules allow.



Assignment Schedule
Week Date Readings Topics

Wk 1


Taylor Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

A: Introduction; Ted Brown IDEO TED video

B: Introductions/Dream Dramas

Wk 3


Taylor Chapters 7, 8, 9, and 12

A:Historical/CrossCultural Perspectives; Taylor Interview; Hoffman interview;

B: Journaling/ Dream Poems & Haiku in large group

Wk 4


Taylor paper due, Singer Intro, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4

A: Freud & Dreams (dvn powerpoint); Guest: David Sowerby, Ph., 10 - 11; Davis Interview (SRR#42)

B: Form small dream groups

Wk 5


Singer Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9

A: Guest: Jeremy Taylor 9:30 am .; Jungian Concepts (dvn Powerpoint) Jung vs. Freud: Davis Interview; Creative Project Slide Show; creative project sign-ups; assign typology test for next class.

B: Dream groups

Wk 6


Singer Chapters 10, 11, and 12

A: Jung's Typology (Sandra Scotchler) ; Maybe: Diane Ford video on The Shadow; ;review/study groups for Singer Exam

B:Dream Groups

Wk 7


Singer Exam, Johnson Part 1

A: Singer Exam; Guest Marie Cantrell (10 am) ; Stanley Krippner Interview:Robert Moss anecdotes from Secret History of Dreaming

B:Dream Dialoging/Dream Groups

Wk 8


Johnson Part 2

A: Guest: Anne Hill 10am ; Johnson Powerpoint (DVN)

B: Dream Groups

Wk 9


Johnson Part 3

A:Animus/Anima Powerpoint (dvn); Synchronicity presentation by Michelle Glaubiger

B: Dream Groups

Wk 10


Johnson Paper Due

A: Hero's Journey (dvn Powerpoint); Joseph Campbell video

B: Dream Groups

Wk 11


Campbell Prologue and Chapters 1and 2

A: Goddess Presentation (Sandra Scotchler); Sherry Ruth Anderson Interview;

B: Dream Groups

Wk 12


Campbell Chapter 3

A: Guest: Larry Robinson, MFT; Alchemy Powerpoint (DVN);

B: Creative Projects; Dream Groups

Wk 13


Campbell Chapter 4

A: Review for Exam; read The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Anderson;

B: Creative projects; Dream Groups

A: Campbell Exam ; Creative Projects;

B: Dream Groups

Wk 14


Campbell Exam and Final Dream Paper

Wk 15


CANCELLED DUE TO FURLOUGH Jung Chapter 5 & Conclusion, Creative Projects

A. Jung Exam; Creative Projects

B.Dream Groups
CANCELLED DUE TO FURLOUGH 2:00 - 3:50 Dream Papers due along with remaining Creative Projects

Link to University Policies (Disability, Plagarism, Grade Appeal, Add/Drop, etc.)

Psychology Department
Policy on Academic Honesty

The Psychology Department is committed to a code of values which honors academic and personal integrity, honesty, and ethical standards. In line with the Psychology Department’s mission, the Department provides a policy on academic honesty to guide students and faculty in their behavior. The Department’s policy is based on the University’s policy of academic honesty and integrity.

Standards of the Department

The Department expects students to complete their own work. When a student refers to ideas of another person, the Department expects students to acknowledge this work by appropriate citation. The Department also values group collaborative work, and expects students to appropriately acknowledge the contributions of others in collaborative work.

Department Policy on Academic Honesty

Each class professor provides guidelines for academic work in that class. While all professors expect honesty, professors vary in their use of individual research assignments and collaborative group work.

Students are often asked to research topics of interest and write papers on their findings. Research work can be complex. Some professors expect students to use American Psychological Association (APA) style format, while some do not. Whether or not APA style is used, students are expected to cite the sources of their research material and to acknowledge the authorship of the sources they use, whether it is books, articles, or internet material. We live in an intellectual community in which the free flow of ideas is essential, and out of respect for the other, we acknowledge the other’s work.

In general, students are expected to summarize the essence of the material they have read, in their own words. This means reading the material, digesting it, and communicating it, in their own words. If exact words or phrases are pulled from the research material and placed in a paper, these words or phrases must be quoted (placed in quotation marks) and cited (given appropriate acknowledgement, according to the style preferred by the classroom professor). Summarizing means to say it in one’s own words–not in someone else’s words.

What are Examples of Violations of Department Policy on Academic Honesty?

Consequences of Violations of Department Policy on Academic Honesty

If a class professor suspects that a student has violated the policy of academic honesty, the professor reviews the matter and decides on the consequences of the violation. Professors have access to internet-based search programs that provide text of internet-based research material, and may make use of this for reviewing the student’s work. Consequences of violations may include:

  1. A reduced or failing grade for the work.
  2. A reduced or failing grade for the course.

For every violation, a written description is given to the Department chair by the classroom professor. This statement is placed in a sealed envelope, with the student’s name, professor’s name, and date on the outside of the envelope. The Chair keeps these records in an Academic Honesty file. In addition, the professor may choose to report the violation to the University. The professor may schedule an individual interview with the student to discuss the matter.

Should the Chair receive a second violation notice for a particular student, the Chair opens the envelopes and reviews the violations. The class professors institute a formal notification to the University of violation of academic honesty. The Chair, in consultation with the classroom professors, decides on the consequences. The Chair meets with the student to discuss the issues.

Consequences of two or more violations of academic honesty may include:

  1. A failing grade for the course.
  2. Dismissal from the Psychology major.
  3. Some other action decided by the committee.

Policy 4/25/02