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Thursday, February 20th 2020

Dream Enactment (Sleep/Dream Disorders)

Brent Willock, Ph.D.
presented by The Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis

DATES: Winter 2020, 2 Thursday evenings ~ February 20 and 27, 2020

PLACE:TICP Office, 427 Vaughan Road, Toronto, ON, M6C 2P1

TIME: 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

FEE: $100 Regular, $65 Student


When we dream, Freud wrote, our access to motility is shut off. During REM (the rapid eye movement phase of the sleep cycle), a neurophysiological switch flips, preventing our muscles from being able to carry out dramatic action. Because of this gating mechanism, it is possible in our dreams for us to enact even our wildest fantasies without endangering either ourselves or others. Under certain conditions (e.g., drugs, insomnia, neurological disease), this switch can malfunction. We are then prone to acting out dreams in ways that can be very dangerous to ourselves or others. This is the realm of parasomnia (para = beyond; somnia = sleep).

Dr. Brent Willock has recently written a book, The Wrongful Conviction of Oscar Pistorius: Science Transforms our Comprehension of Reeva Steenkamp’s Shocking Death. In this work, Brent argues that differently abled Olympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius, may have killed his girlfriend, Reeva, during a parasomniac episode. Due to lack of understanding of parasomnia, this idea never came up at trial. Hopefully it will be introduced in an appeal based on Brent’s book.

Given that theoretically any of us could experience parasomnia, it behooves us to become more knowledgeable about these states in which one is simultaneously awake and asleep. This seminar will consider the nature and importance of these fascinating, sometimes terrifying states of consciousness in which the mind/brain is both partly awake and partly asleep. What can these paradoxical states teach us about the mind, the body, and dreaming?


Dr. Brent Willock, a psychologist in independent practice in Toronto, was President of the Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis for its first quarter century. He serves on the faculty and Board of Directors of the TICP and The Canadian Institute for Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. He is a faculty member at the Institute for the Advancement of Self Psychology. He publishes articles, chapters, and books on a wide variety of topics, including dreams.

For more information please call 416.288.8060 or download the DREAM ENACTMENT COURSE FLYER


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