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Dream Voyager


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"—and hallucinations—might help bridge the gap to reality.”

The theory is that of Bob Trowbridge of San Rafael, former Presbyterian minister who now counsels and conducts dream study groups.

There is, Trowbridge claims, considerable research to support his theory, such as experiments showing that dream deprivation can cause nervous imbalances and even psychotic conditions.

Basic to his theory, Trowbridge adds, is the premise that “the symptoms of any disease are a part of the healing process.” Thus hallucinations—“a kind of waking dream”—are part of the mentally ill person’s potential recovery as well as part of the sickness. To suppress such symptoms, he suspects, is to interfere with the natural healing processes.

Drugs or other treatments that eliminate the symptoms may not only leave the illness itself uncured but also destroy a person’s chances for self-healing, he theorizes.

Dreams, Trowbridge believes, serve a purpose similar to hallucinations at a less critical stage. The person who does not do enough dreaming at night might later become the one whose mind engages in hallucinations in a more desperate effort to regain lost mental health.

Trowbridge would like to see funding for deeper delving by himself and others into the relationship of dreams to both mental and physical health.

Bob Trowbridge, 37, is Southern California born and reared. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at San Fernando State College, then came north to attend San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo. He graduated in 1968 and was ordained a Presbyterian clergyman.

He served a one-year Board of National Missions urban internship, working in Oakland with the Southeast Oakland Parish, a collection of 11 churches, in various social programs.

For a time he was “a marrying parson” specializing in weddings outdoors and in other unusual settings.

He left the Presbyterian Church and now holds Universal Life Church ministerial credentials “only in case I need them for legal reasons in my counseling.”

Trowbridge spent two and a half years as a counselor in halfway houses for former mental patients, most of that time with Buckelew House. That experience, he says, provided the foundation for his theories concerning dreams and mental health.

“I had been interested in my own dreams for a long time and began writing them down five years ago,” he says. “But my really deep involvement with dreams began only eight months ago.”

Reading Edgar Cayce and Seth materials “triggered all kinds of hypotheses for me,” he says, “and my subsequent studies and experiences seem to confirm a number of them.

Trowbridge is convinced that all dreams have some value to the dreamer.

“But,” he adds, “the dream that is remembered is more valuable than the dream that is forgotten. The dream that is recorded is still more valuable. And the dream with which you work is the most valuable.”

Trowbridge has no use for dream dictionaries—“especially those that claim absolute meanings for specific symbols.”

“Every dream has a very personal message for the dreamer, he explains. “A cat in my dream might have a very different meaning from a cat in your dream. So no one, except a psychic, can interpret another person’s dream. It is very clear that the dreamer is his own final arbiter in deciding what the dream means.”

So, Trowbridge says, he does not try to analyze the dreams of clients, but instead attempts to help them do their own interpreting.         Continued >>