Leslie  Ellis Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Leslie Ellis

Vice President
The Focusing Institute

Leslie Ellis is an author, teacher and psychotherapist with a lifelong interest in dreams. She is a leading expert in the use of somatic approaches in psychotherapy and she specializes in teaching focusing for dreamwork, and treatment of complex trauma. For more information, go to www.drleslieellis.com.


Dr. Leslie Ellis is an author, teacher and therapist who specializes in inner work through dreams and embodied imagination. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology with a focus in somatic approaches to therapy. Her dissertation on using focusing-oriented therapy to treat PTSD for refugees with recurrent nightmares won the Ernest Hartmann award from the International Association for the Study of Dreams. She has a Masters from Pacific Graduate Institute and was a therapist in private practice in Vancouver, BC for more than 20 years. Her approach to therapy combines Jungian and focusing-oriented techniques to treat individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and the effects of trauma. Her current focus is dreamwork and online dream training based on her book on the clinical use of dreams (forthcoming from Routledge, August 2019). She is Vice President and Certifying Coordinator with The Focusing Institute and runs a Vancouver-based focusing certification program for mental  health professionals. She has numerous articles, chapters and presentations on dreamwork and focusing.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Dreams, nightmares, somatic approaches to therapy, focusing-oriented therapy, clinical use of dreams, complex trauma.

Personal Interests

    Tennis, horseback riding, photography, travel, fine dining, hiking, sailing, cycling, yoga.



Featured Title
 Featured Title - A Clinician’s Guide to Dream Therapy - 1st Edition book cover



Common factors leading to a universal approach to dreamwork: A qualitative analysis.

Published: Mar 03, 2019 by Dreaming
Authors: Leslie A. Ellis

Using two texts that survey the most prevalent current Western Euro-based dreamwork modalities, this qualitative analysis identifies common factors in dreamwork techniques. The results show a clear movement toward experiential and collaborative methods and away from interpretation by the dreamworker.


Qualitative changes in recurrent PTSD nightmares after focusing-oriented dreamwork.

Published: Sep 09, 2016 by Dreaming
Authors: L. A. Ellis
Subjects: Psychological Science

While there has been considerable quantitative research to support the use of dreamwork methods that use imagery to treat PTSD-related nightmares, there has been limited study into the mechanism of action of these methods. This qualitative study examined the nature of changes in dreams following the re-imagining of a new ending to recurrent nightmares, resulting in a theory about why clients might experience symptom relief from the process.

Person Centred and Experiential Psychotherapies Journal

Incongruence as a doorway to deeper self-awareness using experiential focusing-oriented dreamwork

Published: Nov 21, 2013 by Person Centred and Experiential Psychotherapies Journal
Authors: Leslie A. Ellis

Incongruence, the discrepancy between the actual and desiredview of oneself, is often dramatically depicted in dreams. Clinicians can benefit fromclear steps that show how to work with this phenomenon in practice. Gendlin's focusing-oriented dream work (FOD) methods offer clinicians a way to allow their clients to experience directly what is disavowed.


There Are No Bad Dreams: Dream Salon talk on nightmares

Published: Nov 30, 2020

In this brief TED-like talk, Dr. Leslie Ellis speaks about why it is both easy and imperative to talk about and treat nightmares.