Monday, December 5, 2011

To dream the impossible dream

 Dr. Clancy McKenzie sent  his observations about reprogramming dreams to the ISEPP discussion group of which I am a member. Dr. McKenzie has given me permission to reprint his patients' story, which appears below.

My son, Chris, isn't the only person in our family who has learned to direct his dreams. Programming dreams is something I've been doing in recent yearsto help me take control of my life, to realize that I had greater power to influence positive outcomes than I ever thought possible.  Chris's crisis left me sleepless and fearful for several years. I would wake up every night from a bad dream and the first person who popped into my mind was Chris, and I immediately felt overwhelming sadness and fear. Today, I don't worry about Chris during the day or when I wake up at night. I do occasionally have anxious dreams. If my dream is a typical anxiety dream about a math exam, I might think to myself, Well, I know I was about to fail that final math exam because I hadn't opened the book all year, but here's what I'm going to do about it to make sure I pass. When I go back to sleep, I'm going to pick up where I left off with that dream. I'm going to hire a tutor and I will pass that exam. (Whether my instructions to myself are realistic about passing the exam at such a late date doesn't matter. Dreams make all things possible.)

Notice in the story below the way Dr. McKenzie gives general instructions to his patients about the content of the dream. Minds and bodies know what to do with the information given to them.


Six months ago a young family was disrupted when the mother suddenly died in a car crash. Left behind are her young husband, a 7½ year old daughter, and a 4 year old son. They were devastated.

I immediately saw them and gave them “programmed” dreams. I instructed the father to have a dream about his wife, decide the dream would not be upsetting, and decide the dream itself would resolve all upset feelings.

I told the 7½ year old that she would have a dream about Mommy that night, the dream would not be upsetting, and in the dream Mommy would take away all her upset feelings.

With the 4-year-old I just said “You can visit Mommy any night you want, during sleep. Tonight she is gong to visit you and take away all your upset feelings.”

The next time I visited with them, the father tried to comfort them by saying “Mommy is sitting right here with us now.” The four-year-old piped up “she’s not sitting, she’s playing.” The following visit the father told me that his son led him to the laundry room that morning, pointed to the washer and said “mommy said you have to take the clothes out of there and put them in over there” (pointing to the dryer). He was stunned. He did the laundry two days earlier and forgot to put it in the dryer.

During the visits the children are very happy, not showing any signs of sadness. The next visit when the man took his son to the restroom, I asked the daughter what her mommy tells her during sleep. She was beaming with joy as she proudly answered: “She tells me I am going to be a very good mommy some day.” When I tried to question her further, she clammed up as though she wasn’t sure she was supposed to reveal what her mommy had said to her.

Months passed. The children remained very happy, playing together and never fussing or fighting. One day the man came in alone and we just began to visit. He spoke about how well the children were doing, and I mentioned a finding I had just made and was very excited about. I realized two studies I had done were sequential, with no other similar studies in between – which meant they were cumulative. The first data was one over two to the 12th power and the second was one over two to the 15th power. They revealed the same thing, but now it was one over two to the 27th power, or one chance in 134,217,728 by chance alone.

This was exciting, but it was as it should be, because one cannot have delayed PTSD without original trauma–even if it is delayed PTSD from infancy (schizophrenia, depression, etc). I told him I was going to send letters to the Senate and to Congress.

Two nights later the little girl brought the portable phone into his bedroom, saying “Mommy wants to tell you something.” He told her to lie down in the bed, which she did, and then she began to speak “Tell Dr. Clancy to send those letters right out; it's very important.” (Her mother addressed me as Dr. Clancy, but the little girl always addressed me as Dr. McKenzie.) The father wrote 1½ pages of notes, part of which were her speaking and part of which were her mother speaking through her. It ended with her mother saying “tell your brother I will see him tomorrow night.” She had no recollection of any of this the next day.

The real shocker came at Thanksgiving. There were twelve family members sitting around the table. None knew of the relationship the children had with their mother, and everyone was taking turns telling what they were most thankful for. When the 7½ year- old girl spoke, she gave a one word answer: “Mommy.” Her brother was next in line and he said: “Mommy.”

No one could speak several minutes. The father’s eyes filled with tears, and he could not speak. He was grateful that he was not the next in line to speak. When the children were not around, he told the other adults that the children dream about their mother.

For 42 years I have had all my patients program dreams, and have not known any to get a wrong answer. There have been more than 400 who programmed a dream about a lost loved one. Usually it is like a visit – geared to help the person overcome grief. There are two articles about miracles of programmed dreams on , listed under “WORKS” – for any who might be interested.



  1. Rossa,

    Clancy McKenzie is a fascinating man and doctor... I was impressed with some of the comments he made on Integrative Psychiatry board (professional-side of Safe Harbor).

    He obviously has a deep appreciation for spiritual matters, and seems to be a psychiatrist who cares a great deal about his patients.

    I've been charged with saying that I think ALL psychiatrists do more harm than good, etc... Actually, I think MOST do so, but not all...

    There are the few, like Dr. McKenzie who spend time, who care, and who help people heal. It's a shame there aren't more like him.

    My best,


  2. Great piece. Grief dreams have helped me sort out the loss of my father and several animals. I'm happy when they come visit in my dreams.

  3. Great post.. Dreams are meaningful sometimes. This post made me realized there are so much more to this programmed dreams. The story about the mommy is so touching..


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