Clio’s Psyche: Understanding the “Why” of
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Ullman Memorial Dream Feature
Montague Ullman (1916–2008): Dream Research Pioneer
Judith Gardiner and Paul Elovitz -
Int. Assoc. for the Study of Dreams©

Montague Ullman, MD died from a stroke on June 7, 2008 with loved ones by his side. He was emeritus professor at Einstein College and a highly collaborative pioneer in dream work who authored over eighty professional papers and several books, including Behavioral Changes in Patients Following Strokes (1962). He co-authored Working with Dreams (1979) and Dream Telepathy (1973, 2nd Ed. 2003), and co-edited The Variety of Dream Experience (1987, 2nd Ed. 1999) and Handbook of States of Consciousness (1986). His books have been translated into a variety of languages, with his last volume, Appreciating Dreams—A Group Approach (1996), translated into Chinese in 2007. A recent release is Ingrid Blidberg’s Swedish film, Catch the Dream, featuring Ullman and his dream process.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Ullman was a charter fellow of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, a life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and past president of the Society of Medical Psychoanalysts and the American Society for Psychical Research. He also served as president of the Parapsychological Association and the Gardner Murphy Research Institute. In 2006, Montague Ullman was the recipient of an honorary Lifetime Achievement Award (and membership) by the International Association for the Study of Dreams, in recognition of his leadership in the dream community. He was cited, among other accomplishments, for his role as “father of the group dream work movement that has taken hold all around the world” and through his serious scientific approach, increased the credibility of the study of precognitive and telepathic dreams.

In the field of psychohistory, Ullman supported the Psychohistory Forum from its inception in 1983—his name graces our letterhead. Besides occasionally writing on dreams for this journal, in a series of workshops and individual consultation, he helped to develop the Historical Dreamwork Method, always insisting upon rigorous methodological standards.

As a result of being invited to write an extensive autobiographical essay, in his early seventies Monte (everyone called him Monte) provided a most insightful description of his family background, education, emotions, accomplishments and life in general, which we quote liberally below (See Arthur S. Berger, “Autobiographical Notes – Montague Ullman,” Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology: A Biographical History, 1850-1987, 1988). It has enabled us to write more about his adolescence and motivation than is usually the case in memorial.

Montague Ullman was born in New York City on September 9, 1916 as the elder of two sons and first of three children to the daughter of Polish immigrants and an immigrant from Hungary who had come to America as a teenager. His father William was “generous to a fault,” “a superb salesman” who “smoked heavily, drank, overate” and gambled. He built the family business manufacturing men’s hats and overcoats, prior to his early death from a stroke on his forty-fourth birthday. The family moved from the Lower East Side to the Bronx to middle class respectability on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Monte’s conventional mother, Nettie Eisler Ullman, “was a superb cook and baker but given to hysterical anxiety at the slightest provocation.” She loved “babies and small children but didn’t do so well when the child’s struggles to individuate itself began.” She never fully recovered from the sudden death of her husband.

The Ullman’s household was not intellectual, but the parents did aspire for their children to get a good education and advance themselves. Monte reported, “as far as I could remember, I never saw my mother or father ever read a book.” However, his “father’s best friend” often came for Sabbath (Friday night) dinner and “did read and became the first inspirational figure” of Monte’s life. He was the family doctor who was “a very comforting presence when we were ill…[who] would overcome our apprehension with the songs he made up as he examined us and the way he made us laugh.” This association of laughter with healing is perhaps an ingredient in Monte’s subsequent career as a healer, who had a twinkle in his eye, as he used dreams as a curative instrument. He was drawn to medicine by “family pressures as well as my own aspirations.” He came to feel “at odds” with his parents, growing up “rejecting their world of bourgeois, religious, commercial values.” His distance from his parents, including their staunch Republicanism, was painful but “also made it possible for me to follow my own path.” His own path would lead him to being drawn to communism and, far more importantly, paranormal research.

After attending a three-year high school in New York, just before his fifteenth birthday, he enrolled in City College of New York. He reports being “bright enough to handle the work but inside I felt like the immature child I was. I wanted very much to get into medical school and to get the grades necessary for admission” but the competition was “severe.” To his deep mortification, his father, who “so wanted me to become a doctor that, despite some resistance and shame on my part, he was not above using influence to ease my admission into medical school at New York University at the end of my third year at college.” Though he found “the first two years at medical school” to be “difficult” there was “a deep satisfaction that came from the fascination of the subject matter and the prestige of being a medical student.”

In college, extracurricular exposure to psychic phenomena oriented him to the mysteries of the unconscious realm of existence, including dream life. Just turned sixteen, he knew nothing about psychical research and was studying hard to prepare for medical school, when a science classmate friend confided in him about his personal encounter with psychic phenomena in a series of Saturday night séances. This experience evolved into a very serious project and inspired Monte to be a psychic researcher. Sixty years later, he brought together five of the group that had participated in the séances and published an account of it in 2001 in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research.

In January 1939, Monte began four years of hospital training: two as an intern, one as a neurology resident, and one as a psychiatric resident at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. His background in neurology oriented him to the neurophysiology of dreaming; his practice in psychoanalysis oriented him to the metaphorical structure and healing potential of the dream, and later work in community psychiatry impressed upon him the importance of identifying and sharing the skills necessary to make dreams generally accessible.

In 1942, preparing for his psychoanalytic career, he went into personal analysis, which was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army where he served as a captain. Upon his discharge in December 1945, he opened an office for the practice of neurology and psychiatry, moving into psychoanalysis in 1946 as he completed training, and began teaching, at the New York Medical College. The 1950s solidified his three major interests: exciting new approaches to psychoanalytic thinking and practice, a growing interest in dreams, and bringing the paranormal into the mainstream of his life. Ullman terminated his private practice and left the New York Medical College in 1961 to develop a department of psychiatry at Maimonides Hospital (later Maimonides Medical Center) in Brooklyn.

In 1962 Monte Ullman established the Dream Laboratory at Maimonides with a grant ob­tained by Gardner Murphy that enabled the exploration of dreams and telepathy. In 1967 he also developed, and later operated, a community mental health center noteworthy for launching many innovative community programs to provide preventive psychiatry. Monte’s lifelong commitment to helping ordinary people, which had led him to left wing causes and to visit the Soviet health care system in 1938, informed his decisions to establish a community mental health program focused on prevention, and to develop a method of bringing the healing power of dreamwork to ordinary people.

The work of Monte and his collaborators constituted the primary source of experimental evidence that the content of dreams may be related to tele­pathy. One of the great parapsychological advances of the late twentieth century came through his use of physiological methodology for monitoring dreams. Using the EEG to record brain waves and the Rapid-Eye-Movement technique to record e
ye movements permitted him to discern when sleeping subjects were dreaming and for how long, prior to waking them for their dream reports.

In 1974, Monte awakened to the work of the late physicist David Bohm and developed the concept of a connection between the mystery of dreaming consciousness and Bohm’s approach to still unsettled issues in quantum theory. He resigned from Maimonides to pursue his interest in dreams elsewhere. In Sweden from 1974 to 1976, he developed a group dream work process, resulting in the formation of a national society in 1990. The Dream Group Forum, followed in 2003 with the Dream Group Forum in Finland. Both groups were committed to extending dream work into the community, an undertaking based on that experiential group method Monte initiated. It proved suitable not only as a training instrument for professional therapists, but also for making dream work accessible to the interested layman.

Returning to the United States, Ullman joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine as clinical professor of psychiatry, and the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy to teach therapists in training about his group method. He became more and more convinced that serious and effective dream work could extend beyond the consulting room into the community. Monte became known for devotion in teaching his approach to both therapists and laity internationally.

Toward the end of his life, Monte reflected upon telepathy as a mental field derived from the universal unconscious. Thus, he had meshed his work in telepathic dreaming with the connectedness of the dream group process and Bohm’s theory of connectivity. He was a director of the Lifwynn Foundation believing that fragmentation of our unity as a species has evolved because we fail to recognize our interconnectedness. Ullman elaborated, “Our dreams are concerned with the nature of our connections with others. The history of the human race, while awake, is a history of fragmentation, of separating people and communities of people ... nationally, religiously, politically” but while asleep “our dreams are connected with the basic truth that we are all members of a single species.”

Monte was a happy, charming, gentle soul who never forgot to be human. His enormous compassion and infectious humor effected people in every walk of life. Many described him as a profoundly modest man and a humanitarian who made a significant human and scientific contribution to the world. His impact on psychiatry, psychology and parapsychology is a substantial legacy reflecting his wisdom, his insight and his critical acumen.

Dr. Ullman was husband of the late Janet (Simon), father of Susan Ullman, William Ullman and Lucy Bain; grandfather of four, great-grandfather of one, brother of Bob Ullman and the late Jean Blake who died the day before he did, and companion of Judy Gardiner.

Click on the links below for more articles:

A Brilliant and Playful Listener to the Unconscious
Paul H. Elovitz - Clio’s Psyche

This ‘Dream’ Man of Firsts
Mena Potts - University of Pittsburgh

Remembering Monte
Robert Van de Castle - University of Virginia

The Healing Power of Dreams

Wendy Pannier - Dream Group Leader

Monte Ullman as a Teacher of Dreams

David Lotto - Psychohistory Forum Researcher

Ullman’s Commitment to Human Connectedness

Lloyd Gilden - Lifwynn Foundation
Contributors to the September 2008 Edition on the 2008
American Election and the Ullman Memorial

James William Anderson, PhD, a psychologist and psychoanalyst, is Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University, and a faculty member at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Editor of the Annual of Psychoanalysis, he has published psychobiographical essays on Frank Lloyd Wright, William and Henry James, Woodrow Wilson, and Edith Wharton, as well as a series of papers on the methodology of psychobiography. Professor Anderson may be contacted at

Sho Araiba was born in 1983 and grew up in Tokyo before becoming an international student in America. After attending SUNY Rockland Community College from 2003 to 2005 he continued his study in psychology at CUNY Queens College from 2005 to 2007. In 2008 he will begin a masters program in psychology (Learning and Behavior Analysis) at CUNY Queens College.

Herbert Barry III, Ph.D., is a psychologist who became a faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 1963, Professor in 1970, and Professor Emeritus in 2001. From 1970 to 2001 he had an adjunct appointment as Professor in the Anthropology Department of the School of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Psychohistory Forum and was president (1991-1992) of the International Psychohistory Association (IPA). An early publication is “Relationships Between Child Training and the Pictorial Arts,” (1957) Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, vol. 54, pp. 380-383. One of his current research projects is on the choice by novelists of the names of the fictional characters. Professor Barry may be contacted at

Rudolph Binion, PhD, Leff Families Professor of Modern European History, has taught comparative history and psychohistory at Brandeis University since 1967. His most recent psychohistorical book is Past Impersonal: Group Process in Human History (2005). A member of the Editorial Board of Clio’s Psyche, he may be contacted at

Sander J. Breiner, MD, is Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a professor of psychiatry at two medical schools at Michigan State University, and one medical school at Wayne State University. In addition to being a Research Associate of the Psychohistory Forum, he is a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, and author of over 100 scientific articles and books, which include Slaughter of the Innocents: Child Abuse Through the Ages and Today (1990). Dr. Breiner may be contacted at

Kelly Bulkeley, PhD, is a Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union and teaches in the Dream Studies Program at John F. Kennedy University, both in the San Francisco Bay Area. He earned his doctorate in Religion and Psychological Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School and is a former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. He has written and edited several books on dreaming, most recently Dreaming in the World’s Religions: A Comparative History (NYU Press, 2008) and American Dreamers: What Dreams Tell Us about the Political Psychology of Conservatives, Liberals, and Everyone Else (Beacon Press, 2008). Professor Bulkeley may be contacted at

Paul H. Elovitz, PhD, is a presidential psychohistorian trained in history, political science, and psychoanalysis, who has been researching and writing about the candidates and presidents since 1976. He is Editor of Clio’s Psyche, a founding faculty member at Ramapo College who formerly taught at Temple, Rutgers, and Fairleigh Dickinson universities, and a founder and past president of the International Psychohistorical Association. He has over 200 publications and for over three decades has organized psychohistorical meetings in Manhattan on a regular basis. He has published on the dreams of historical personages such as Humphry Davy, Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelly, and Robert Lewis Stevenson, as well as historical dream methodology. He studied dreams in psychoanalytic training and later with Montague Ullman (1916-2008, a pioneer in the field), ran dream workshops for years, devised a method of probing the dreams of historical and public personages, wrote various articles and chapters of books on dreams, and edited the dreams of others as a journal editor. Prior to working on Obama’s dreams, he did an intense biographical and psychological portrait of the Illinois Senator, published in the fall 2008 issue of the Journal of Psychohistory. Dr. Elovitz may be contacted at .

Kenneth Fuchsman, EdD, is a historian who teaches interdisciplinary studies courses online at the University of Connecticut, where he has been in a variety of capacities for thirty years. Dr. Fuchsman writes on the history of psychoanalysis and is currently exploring the dynamics of oedipality in single parent and blended families. He may be contacted at or

Florian Galler, a Swiss macroeconomist with degrees in economic and social history, lives in Zurich where he works as an economic teacher at the KV Zurich Business School. Since his academic position is not directly related to his psychohistorical research he considers himself to be a private, that is an independent, scholar. He is past-president of the German Society for Psychohistory and Political Psychology and a long time member of the Psychohistory Forum. He may be contacted at or through his homepage of

Judy B. Gardiner has been researching and writing on the symbolism of her dreams since she retired from a twenty-year corporate career. She has been a panelist at the Association for the Study of Dreams and has lectured on her dream message—the topic of Lavender: An Entwined Adventure in Science and Spirit, her yet to be published novel. In collaboration with Montague Ullman, whose last five years she brightened, her work focuses on how dreams reveal both our internal and external environments. Ms. Gardiner also helped to contact some of those memorializing Monte. She may be contacted at

Lloyd Gilden, PhD, did brain research and taught psychology at Queens College of CUNY in New York City for thirty years before retiring from teaching. For the last ten years he has been president of the Lifwynn Foundation while continuing his clinical practice. He may be contacted at

Ted Goertzel, PhD, is Professor of Sociology at Rutgers in Camden, a Research Associate of the Psychohistory Forum, and a prolific author. Among his books are Fernando Henrique Cardoso: Reinventing Democracy in Brazil (1999), Linus Pauling: A Life in Science and Politics (1995), and Turncoats and True Believers: The Dynamics of Political Belief and Disillusionment (1992). In 2004 he and his niece Ariel Hansen updated and co-edited his parents’ 1962 book, Cradles of Eminence: Childhoods of More Than 700 Famous Men and Women. Prof. Goertzel may be contacted at

Rajiv Jhangiani, Ryan Cross, Sverre Frisch, Katya Legkaia, and Ekaterina Netchaeva, work in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, under the supervision of Peter Suedfeld, PhD, where they conduct research on political psychological topics including elite decision-making, terrorism, genocide, and ethnopolitical conflict. Professor Suedfeld is a past president of the Canadian Psychological Association and a recipient of the International Society of Political Psychology’s Harold D. Lasswell award for "distinguished scientific contributions in the field of political psychology.” Correspondence may be addressed to Rajiv Jhangiani at

Stanley Krippner, PhD, is professor of psychology, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, San Francisco. He co-authored Dream Telepathy with Montague Ullman, a book that reviewed their experiments at Maimonides Medical Center where he directed the Dream Laboratory for a decade. In 2002, he received the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology. He may be contacted at

Philip Langer, PhD, is Professor of Educational Psychological Studies at the University of Colorado. Together with Robert Pois (1940-2004) he published, Command Failure in War: Psychology and Leadership (2006). Prof. Langer may be contacted at

David Lotto, PhD, a psychologist/psycho-analyst in Pittsfield Massachusetts and a Psychohistory Forum researcher, frequently writes for these pages and the Journal of Psychohistory. He may be contacted at dlotto@

Wendy Pannier, President (2005-06) of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and a long time member of its Board’s Executive Committee, published Dream Appreciation featuring Monte’s work from 1996-2002. She has conducted dream workshops and groups in the U.S. and abroad and in recent years has developed programs to help cancer patients work with their dreams and nightmares. She also works with health care professionals. Wendy may be contacted at

Mena E. Potts, PhD, a University of Pittsburgh Competency program trainer, is the founder of the Dream Center for Education and Research, a past board member of the International Association for The Study of Dreams, and a Research Associate of the Psychohistory Forum. Dr. Potts may be contacted at

Burton Norman Seitler, PhD, a clinical psychologist/ psychoanalyst in private practice and Director of Counseling and Psychotherapy Services (CAPSR) in Ridgewood and Oakland, New Jersey, is also Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Studies Program of the New Jersey Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis in Teaneck. Dr. Seitler serves on the Board of Directors of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology and may be contacted at

Charles B. Strozier, PhD, educated at Harvard, the University of Chicago, the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, and the Training and Research Institute in Self Psychology (TRISP), is Professor of History at John Jay College and the CUNY Graduate Center, as well as Director of the Center on Terrorism of John Jay College. In addition, he is a psychoanalyst and a training and research analyst at TRISP. In addition to three edited volumes with Michael Flynn, his books include Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in America (1994, 2002), Lincoln’s Quest for Union: A Psychological Portrait, 1982, 2001), and Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst (2001, it won the NAAP Gradiva Award, the Canadian Goethe Prize, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize). Strozier, who was the founding editor of the now defunct Psychohistory Review, is currently writing New York City and 9/11: A Psychological Study of the World Trade Center Disaster and is co-editing The Fundamentalist Mindset for Oxford University Press. Professor Strozier may be contacted at

Hanna Turken, NCPsyA, BCD, LCSW, is in the private practice of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in New York City and is a senior member of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP), as well as a Research Associate of the Psychohistory Forum and a member of the board and supervisor in the New York State Society for Clinical Social Work. Turken has published and presented papers at national and international conferences on sexuality, culture, the role of the father, sexual addiction, and other subjects. She may be contacted at

Robert Van de Castle, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, is former president of the Association for the Study of Dreams and the Parapsychological Association. He is author of Our Dreaming Mind (1994) and may be contacted at


© Copyright 2008 Clio’s Psyche Extracted from volume 15 no. 2 pages 51-69 of the new format version
Clio’s Psyche

Vol. 15 No. 2          September 2008

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