Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 249–262 | Cite as

The Clinician as a Dreamcatcher: Holding the Dream

  • Lynn Borenstein


This paper describes the child patient's communication to the clinician of cherished hopes and ambitions—the child's “dreams.” The clinician performs important holding functions by “catching” and keeping the child patient's dreams intact for him or her over time. The paper also demonstrates essential mirroring selfobject functions the clinician performs by recognizing and acknowledging the child's dreams in the therapeutic relationship. Dreams are understood as a component of development. The therapist's dreamcatcher role bolsters the child's tentative capacity to be interested in himself/herself and the outside world. Three clinical vignettes are used to highlight the role of the clinician in creating an empathic milieu by acknowledging, understanding, validating and preserving the dreams.

child psychotherapy holder and sustainer of internal beliefs shared safe space empathic milieu 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn Borenstein

There are no affiliations available

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