ABOUT ILANA

Dream Initiation

The first dream to change the course of my life features a pair of keys slipping through the cracks of a wooden floor. To retrieve them I descend some stairs, and discover a dazzling white horse, which births a second white horse from its shoulders. As I reach for the horse, it bolts across a perfect glass lake followed by four water buffalo, all running on water. The dream goes on, and invites me into an underworld of real potential, and real danger.

A year later, while studying dreams and training as a counsellor, I attend to this dream privately with an experienced psychotherapist. My critical mind – well honed by seven years of higher education – has no explanation for how much personal information is revealed through this enigmatic dream. I am so awakened by this experience, that a week later I begin work on Dream Lab.

I’m An Ordinary Dreamer

I should say at this stage, my dreams are generally quite normal. My dedication to this realm doesn’t come from a dramatic or technicolor dream life, nor from a proclivity for lucid dreaming – although I regularly meet clients who enjoy, or suffer, an astonishing dream life, and at times I’ve had to admit to dream envy.

My dedication to this realm does not come from its most impressive manifestations, but from the remarkable wealth of insight available in the most ordinary visions. In a sliver of a dream remembered, there is the potential for personal growth, if not transformation.

I’ve learned to take my dreams seriously. One dream notified me of a lump in my breast. Another prevented me from moving to Israel, where I planned to study trauma. Countless dreams supported my transition from married to single life, and from guilt and fear to forgiveness. Three dreams provided warnings on my spiritual path, alerting me personal inflation, and dubious energies and in my environment. My dreams are my clearest eyes, my most honest heart.

Just Being Attentive… Most of the Time

At times, I tire of constant attention to my dream life, and pay less attention. I’ve noticed my dreams respond in kind, as I remember far fewer, and they fade into the background. This can last weeks, and sometimes months. Until a vibrant ‘break through’ dream comes along, and every fiber of my emotional intelligence vibrates with: “write that down!!!”

Conversely, during periods of intense attention to my dreams, I walk shoulder to shoulder with a vast treasure trove of intelligence and insight into the most troubling and promising areas of my life. I feel supported, enlivened, connected to something inexpressibly great. I live looking through an open window into the great unconscious itself.

What I am sharing here are not my beliefs. These are my direct experiences as I’ve heightened the importance of dream perspectives in my life, and worked on hundreds of dreams with clients and in workshops and dream circles, without a single instance of apparent meaninglessness.

Western Training Meets Eastern Philosophy... Meets Dream Lab

There is a part of me always hungry for knowledge, and a part of me always longing for silence. I have an active mind and it needs feeding, but I also have a sense of wander about our world that conventional knowledge can’t touch. At times, I’ve struggled to balance the professional and the spiritual, but my clients appreciate and seem to benefit from my commitment to both.

I finished highschool in Vienna, studied psychology and philosphy in Toronto, and have degrees from London, New York and Australia. I worked as a freelance writer, helped build online communities in the start-up era, and spent years at Yahoo! as a senior brand manager.

In 2006, I underwent a major life transition, and my own healing journey began. I relocated to South-East Asia for three years where I was fortunate enough to learn from living masters of Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta (Non-Dualism). Living in monasteries and jungles, studying in schools and temples, a more holistic view of myself had emerged.

In 2009, I returned to Melbourne to become a professional psychotherapist. Today, I am the Melbourne Representative to the International Association for the Study of Dreams. I have private practice as a psychotherapist, and specialise in using the physical body to make connections, access memories, and release trauma – which, incidentally, is what many scientists believe dreams are doing while we sleep.

Bringing Dream Knowledge Back

I created Dream Lab to pass on what I have learned so far, and also so I could continue learning together with others who share my interest. Dreaming remains a mystery, however together we can explore further, go deeper, share more knowledge, and therefore have more to pass on to others. We may have forgotten how to use dreams in our waking lives, but we can and should bring this knowledge back. I believe our dreams want us to.

If you’re interested in experiencing the intelligence of your dreams for yourself, come along to a workshop. They’re your dreams, and only you can understand them.

Qualifications

  • MA, Counselling & Psychological Health (LaTrobe University, Melbourne)
  • MA, Media, Culture & Communication (New York University, NYC)
  • BA Hons, English Literature (University College London, London)
  • Diploma of Transpersonal Counselling (Phoenix Institute, Melbourne)
  • Certificate in Emotion Focused Therapy (PEEFT)
  • Certificate in Sandplay Therapy for Children and Adults
  • Ongoing Dream Work & Symbol Work

Eastern Influences

  • Buddhism
  • Advaita Vedanta (the Non-Dual path)
  • Meditation & Mindfulness

Public Speaking

  • Who Are You When You’re Free?
  • Using dreams to discover the individual within

Awards

  • 1st Place, Cancer Council Arts Awards (Short Story), 2011
  • 3rd Place, Cancer Council Arts Awards (Short Story), 2009

Professional Affiliations