#349 – Intuition and Dreams with David Sowerby, PhD

David Sowerby


David F. Sowerby, Ph.D. is a Consultant and an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Psychology Departments at Sonoma State University and Dominican University of California. Dr. Sowerby has published research in the areas of intuition and hypnosis, and is the author of a book on intuition, dreams, and healing. He has taught psychology at various San Francisco Bay Area universities and graduate schools; been interviewed on television, radio, podcasting, and for newspapers; worked as a Psychotherapist (in Canada), Academic Administrator, Manager, and Sports Instructor; served on community development councils (local and national); and played competitive sports (local, interstate, and international). For more information about Dr. Sowerby, see: www.dfsowerbyphdconsulting.com

Check out the following Psychology CE Courses based on listening to Shrink Rap Radio interviews:
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 1 (6 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 2 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 3 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 4 (6 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 5 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Package of the Five Above (33 CEUs)
Wisdom of The Dream (4 CEUs)
Positive Psychology (6 CEUs)
Pros and Cons of Positive Psychology (5 CEUs)
Body-Mind: Goodbye to Dualism (6 CEUs)
Brain: Insights from Neuroscience (8 CEUs)
Meditation & Psychotherapy (8 CEUs)
Insights from Neuroscience (8 CEUs)
Neuroscience and Healing (8 CEUs)

Get our iPhone/Android app!

Get 10% discount on all lectures at The JungPlatform using our discount code: DRDAVE

A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

copyright 2013: David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Louise
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to both the Dr David’s for this episode which I listened to while working on some very dream-like paintings. I could really relate to the notion of being both scientifically and intuitively minded and I have struggled to consolidate those two strong parts of my-self.

    One particularly intense moment in the interview was when David Sowerby spoke about the experience of intuition in his body – and I struggle to remember his exact words – but it reminded me of a similar experience I had recently while in a therapy session where I was in a semi hypnotic state and I was working with my birth trauma where I nearly died from lack of oxygen. In this state I clearly saw my foetal self and through EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) with the therapist released some of the trauma from that event and embraced healing. That was when I experienced something that I felt was similar to what David described. It is hard to describe literally but try to imagine it like this:

    You are lying in a stream and the water is just the right temperature and as the water passes your body you feel a sensation which is both overwhelming but totally comfortable. The sensation in the body is like the best hug you have ever been given. I guess it was a bit like being hugged by the universe. Afterwards my vision was filled with party poppers and streamers and balloons in vivid colour.

    It was really good to hear this interview and I have visited David Sowerby’s website and it looks quite interesting. Thanks again Dr Dave for another great episode and it was a real thrill to hear my email read out. I will do my best to spread the word and help build this lovely community.

  2. Oskar
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    My, this was a great episode. I felt a kinship with Dr Sowerby—a lot of his observations on dreams were very close to my own, drawn from experience of about fifteen years of dream journaling and misc. dreamwork. Like him, I have developed my own take on Big Dreams and little dreams, albeit with layman tools.

    For a long time, I assumed all dreams were significant, even the little ones. And so I could spend a lot of time hair-splitting dream material that led me nowhere.

    The psyche has a funny way of ’bolting’ when one pays too much attention to it and thus makes too few new experiences in the outer world—then it can become a seductive whirlpool of enigmas to solve but which often prove to be nothing but the psyche’s play with its own tail. Something akin to what happens when a patient is in therapy for too long. If there is little or no ’input’ the dream world becomes a closed yet hypnotic loop. Same thing if the dreamer does not ’externalize the internal’ (Maslow), that is, if he/she doesn’t MAKE something of the dreams but just observes them.

    But even when leading an active, reasonably extraverted life dreams can also be insignificant, I am now convinced. A month ago I had this epiphany when doing some deep meditation: 99 per cent of my experiences during these meditations—no matter how interesting, frightening, or fascinating!—are just static, BS, Maya, Shiva’s dance, Lila. Perhaps the meditator’s task is to sort out that one per cent of authentic glimmer and bathe in it, learn from it. Almost like panning for gold.

    And even if the 99 per cent approximation may be harsh, I have begun to adopt a similar approach to my dreams. So much of it is just old stuff, since long worked through, echoing in the system like a bug in a computer or a coin in a vacuum cleaner. Yet other dreams, as Dr Sowerby pointed out, are nothing but day residues with little emotional impact. But then there are the Big Dreams. And the Medium-Sized dreams, if you will, which should not be ignored either.

    It takes some experience, however, to sort out the little or insignificant dreams from the others. Little dreams don’t have to be banal; in fact, they can seem quite dramatic. But there is something about their lack of focus, a sort of diluted energy (almost like a movie with bad actors), that reveal them, I think. Just meaningless drama, often with a sense of ”here we go again.” I figure these dreams might be located in the psyche’s correspondence to the rectum, as if it was saying: ”This dream is just about to be evacuated but must linger in the system for a little longer; we apologise for the inconvenience, this material will soon be gone, thank you for your patience.”

    * * *

    The second thing that struck me was Dr Sowerby’s notion of a high-pitch sound in one ear. In the world of ’Angel Therapy,’ which I in fact was exposed to in the Bay Area for the first time, this is a well known phenomenon. In their terminology, they say it’s the angels that try to communicate through these sounds. Virtually every Angel Therapist claims to hear it, I gather. For me it started last winter. Having always had a sensitive hearing (hearing bats, for example, which humans are not supposed to be able to pick up on), I thought I was picking up a subtle high pitch sound of my neighbor’s TV. However, it was still there with ear plugs in. After a while, I realized that it was not constant but rather followed my psychological and emotional movements. If I had an idea or an insight that I wondered was right or not, or a sudden feeling of emotional/spiritual peace, it would increase in volume as if to confirm that I was on the right path. Even more fascinating, after a deep [trip]/meditation recently, it distinctly shifted its frequency and became even more high pitched. I am only starting to learn how to use its feedback properly, but it is comforting to feel like I have a divine buddy on my shoulder, even if I don’t understand its language fully.

    * * *

    Lastly, I have a question both for you and for Dr Sowerby, if he wishes to reply.

    I have so many dreams that they often contradict one another totally. If I am wrestling with an urgent matter over, say, a year, I can have a great number of dreams telling me to go this way, and an equal amount of dreams telling me to go that way. All of them can be very convincing. It would be as if Dr Sowerby had a dream telling him walnuts were poisonous. What would he do then? (I realize this is the psyche’s normal and healthy tension between opposites, but still, it is often overlooked in dreamwork, is it not? In the textbook examples, people always have ONE dream that gives them useful advice, not ten dreams of which five tells you A and five tells you B.)

    All my best,


  3. Philemon
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Hi Dr. Dave,

    You mentioned at the end of your interview with Dr. Sowerby that he is knowledgeable about William James. I’d be very interested in hearing an interview about James – especially his involvement as president of the American Society for Psychical Research and his interest in spiritualist phenomena. It has been noted by others that James felt that parapsychology should be part and parcel of psychology and he wrote a book or two that combined both subjects in one. In the years since original publication, those works have been divided and are now presented in a “sanitized” fashion – free of parapsychological taint.

    James is a very interesting figure. Far more interesting than the stodgy portrait that we have received.

  4. Posted May 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Can you suggest a good person to interview about William James?

  5. gloria
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this interview. As someone who fell into dreamwork by chance, or perhaps I should say grace, when I was close to 50. I only wish I’d had the benefit of ‘life’s little instruction book’ much earlier. I’m sure my life would have been much smoother and easier.

    It’s a sad commentary on our so called civilised culture that dreams are not given the respect and reverence due them, as indigenous cultures have always done. It’s no wonder that so many of us have lost connection with our soul when one of the primary threads that link us to the non-physical realm has been almost completely denied.

    Thanks to the pioneering work of people like Freud, Jung and James and the courage of articulate and methodical people like David Sowerby we have a chance of healing the disconnect. Thanks too, to Dr. Dave for giving a platform for these important ideas to be aired.

    I totally relate to the experiences David shared – especially the energy sensations. I had what I eventually learned was a kundalini awakening many years ago, which not only opened up the dream life but also resulted in numerous of these kinds of experiences. As I had absolutely no context for understanding what was happening, it was quite frightening, even though, as David says, the feelings were very pleasant.

    I was also heartened to hear David talk about the direct knowing because the energy sensations aren’t as dramatic now and what he said made me realise that it is probably because I have more of a direct knowing these days. I know that feeling well in dreams, where I just know something without there having been any images, action or dialogue and frequently wake up with a valuable insight without remembering anything of a dream.

    There is no doubt in my mind that dreams are a portal to higher realms of consciousness as well as the personal and collective unconscious. In fact the two can’t really be separated, because it is in utilising the problem solving and healing potentialities of dreams that the channels of intuition are cleared, which makes way for creative inspiration.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *