Marian Dunlea (2019)

BodyDreaming in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma:
An Embodied Therapeutic Approach

Marian Dunlea

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BodyDreaming brings together the analytic legacy of Carl Jung with developments in the fields of body-oriented psychotherapy. It shows that we remain, elusively, disconnected from our dreams (and inner images), until we can embody them through interoceptive awareness. This transformative process, catalyzed through connection to the Living, Sensing, Knowing Body, bridges the dream world to here-and-now experience. In this way, we nourish the deep Self, the True Self, and our connection to inner aliveness and vitality. I believe that this book contributes to a rich dialogue between analytic and experiential therapies; a dialogue that will certainly enhance both.”

- Peter A. Levine 

“Marian Dunlea shows us the seamless unconscious conversation between the body and the mind. Every thought we think is companioned by a physical response. The talking cure alone does not free the body from the emotional responses that it carries. BodyDreaming offers both the practitioner and the participant the vital keys to unlocking this deeply healing truth.”

- Paula M. Reeves


“We live at a time when body and psyche are both in a traumatized state; where we are not in a relationship with nature, soul or body but dissociated from all three. The great imperative of our time is reconnection and moving to a more developed, evolved and individuated state of consciousness. Profoundly steeped in Jung’s approach to the psyche as well as other methodologies, this inspiring book shows us how great a transformation can be wrought through the medium of BodyDreaming. Marian Dunlea approaches the client with the utmost reverence, gentleness and awareness of the fragility of psychic processes and their connection to neural pathways and nervous system responses.”

- Anne Baring


“BodyDreaming, a new and unique approach, arrives as a breath of fresh air. It provides us not only with a new way to think about our work theoretically, but with new practical ways of perceiving and attending to how our patients experience our interventions in the body. It represents a creative synthesis of new findings in the fields of affective neuroscience, attachment theory, infant observation, and body-sensitive approaches to therapy, as they apply to somatically informed psychotherapeutic work with trauma, dissociation, and dreams.


BodyDreaming provides a way of getting “underneath” the seemingly intractable defenses and resistances that our traumatized patients present to us, without our having to forsake the mytho-poetic imagination and its symbolic riches found in dreams, active imagination and the other products of the unconscious.

- Donald Kalsched


Marian Dunlea’s BodyDreaming in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: An Embodied Therapeutic Approach provides a theoretical and practical guide for working with early developmental trauma. This interdisciplinary approach explores the interconnection of body, mind and psyche, offering a masterful tool for restoring balance and healing developmental trauma.


BodyDreaming with its emphasis on attunement and regulation of the nervous system helps restore a primary relationship with our sensing bodies and our environment. The growing relationship to our bodies provides us with a learned secure attachment to an embodied sense of self, which becomes the secure base for healing developmental trauma. The process engages our innate drive for healing and offers us a participatory role in the self-regulatory drive that operates in all life forms.


BodyDreaming is a somatically-focused therapeutic method, drawing on the findings of neuroscience, analytical psychology, attachment theory and trauma therapy. Each chapter opens with a theoretical introduction, and the value and significance of the theory are then demonstrated through detailed transcripts of sessions with clients. The process supports the re-patterning of the default responses of the traumatised client’s autonomic nervous system, realigning their innate capacity for self-regulation in both body and psyche.


In Part One, Dunlea defines BodyDreaming and its origins, placing it in the context of a dysregulated contemporary world. Part Two explains how the brain works in relation to the BodyDreaming approach: providing an accessible outline of neuroscientific theory, structures and neuroanatomy in attunement, affect regulation, attachment patterns, transference and countertransference, and the resolution of trauma throughout the body. In Part Three, through detailed transcripts from sessions with clients, Dunlea demonstrates the positive impact of BodyDreaming on attachment patterns and developmental trauma.


This somatic approach complements and enhances psychobiological, developmental, and psychoanalytic interventions. BodyDreaming restores balance to a dysregulated psyche and nervous system that activates our innate capacity for healing, changing our default response of ‘fight, flight or freeze’ and creating new neural pathways. Dunlea’s emphasis on attunement to build a restorative relationship with the sensing body creates a core sense of self, providing a secure base for healing developmental trauma.


Innovative and practical, and with a foreword by Donald Kalsched, BodyDreaming in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: An Embodied Therapeutic Approach will be essential reading for psychotherapists, analytical psychologists and therapists with a Jungian background, arts therapists, dance and movement therapists, and body workers interested in learning how to work with both body and psyche in their practices.


Marian Dunlea is a Jungian analyst and head of training in BodySoul Europe, part of the Marion Woodman Foundation. She is a Somatic Experiencing Trauma Therapist and is the creator of BodyDreaming.

Fionnuala Bates