2nd Edition

Dreaming the Social From 9/11 to Covid

By John Clare, Ali Zarbafi Copyright 2024
    210 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Dreaming the Social uses social dreaming as a tool to explore aspects of contemporary life and examine how we can reverse social fragmentation and large-scale trauma.

    Since the attack on New York on 9/11, the world has been balanced on the edge of potential disaster, exacerbated in recent years by global warming, the Covid pandemic, and war in Ukraine. Since the first edition in 2009, these national and global events have come to dominate our lives in unforeseen ways. With this in mind, this new edition explores the potential of social dreaming to help access things we know but are unable to think, except through the complex activity of dreaming. Based on several research studies, group sessions, and mass dreaming experiments, the book explores peoples’ experiences of dreaming during times of change, transition, and upheaval and discusses the insights that these dreams offer.

    Dreaming the Social will be of great interest to all professionals interested in dreams and the power of social dreaming, including psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, and clinical psychologists.


    Foreword by W. Gordon Lawrence


    PART I
    What is Social Dreaming?

    1. Social dreaming and the self

    John Clare

    2. The night train of social dreams

    Ali Zarbafi 

    Social Dreaming in practice

    3. Dreaming after 9/11

    John Clare and Ali Zarbafi

    4. Sweet honey in the rock

    John Clare and Ali Zarbafi

     5. The end of the dance: Dreams at a literary festival

    John Clare, appendum by Jane Storr 

    6. We are all slaves to babble—land: A mass dreaming experiment

    John Clare

    7. Dreaming in the inner city

    John Clare and Ali Zarbafi

    8. Social Dreaming: A no-goal method?

    Ali Zarbafi

    The long matrix Hay-on-Wye 2009-23

    9. Where are we going? 

    John Clare

    10. Covid: The invisible invasion

    John Clare

    11. War in Europe

    John Clare

    12. Conclusion

    John Clare and Ali Zarbafi






    John Clare is a Retired Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, who, after being a sociology lecturer at London University, worked as a therapist in the NHS and private practice. He is a founder member of the Multi-lingual Psychotherapy Centre. He has written on Samuel Beckett and Psychoanalysis and on ‘Dreams before 9/11’. He is now an expressionist painter living in Wales, where he has been running a social dreaming matrix since 2009.

    Ali Zarbafi is a Jungian Analyst and Clinical Supervisor. He is a member of the Society of Analytical Psychology and a founder member of the Multilingual Psychotherapy Centre. He worked in the NHS for 30 years and has written on the refugee experience, multilingualism and working with the interpreter in clinical work.

    Praise for the first edition: 

    "This is the book I have been waiting to read. I have yearned for a book that would examine contemporary culture through the imaginative critique of psychoanalysis. I did not want a theory-poem, or authorial brilliance. I yearned for the sort of book that I knew would teach me something and which I could recommend to others. The authors’ passion embraces the subject matter in ways that is more than inspiring and hopeful. It is such a relief to read!" - Christopher Bollas, author of The Freudian Moment, The Infinite Question and Evocative Object World  

    “We have long thought of dreams as a repository of the most private and inaccessible regions of unconscious experience. In this important and original book, the motifs and mechanisms of the dreaming unconscious - helplessness, sexual desire, denial, the pleasures and perils of knowing - are mined instead for their rich and layered social meanings. With fascinating new chapters on Brexit, Covid and Ukraine, Clare and Zarbafi show us dreams as carriers of urgent messages from and to our precarious world.” – Josh Cohen, Psychoanalyst,  author and Professor of English at Goldsmiths College, University of London