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
With the June 7th death of Dr. Montague Ullman, a
renowned psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, we have
suffered the loss of a towering figure and leading
authority in the psychology of dreams and dreaming.
Monte’s death was a deep personal and professional loss
for me. Its impact was cushioned by a dream I had a
month before his passing; he was in a hospital bed with
tubes and an oxygen mask—I felt he was dying. That dream
marked his departure, while a dream in the late 1970s
presaged our meeting later in the 1980s.
peerless achievements in the field are punctuated with
firsts: he was the first full-time director of the
Department of Psychiatry at Maimonides Hospital, he was
the first to develop a community mental health center in
New York, he was the first to develop a sleep laboratory
at Maimonides in Brooklyn, New York, he was the first to
conduct ground-breaking, scientifically-controlled
laboratory experiments in dream telepathy—along with Dr.
Stanley Krippner—and he was the first to originate the
Experiential Dream Group Process in order to move dream
work out of the consulting room and into the community.
Monte’s grassroots, dream-work movement has spread to
Sweden, Finland, Taiwan, and elsewhere. He is first in
the understanding of dreams.
I came to know
Monte by a rather labyrinthine path. In the mid 1970s I
went to Zurich and studied dreams with Jungian analyst,
Frau Dora Kalf, a member of Jung’s original group. I
took courses at the Jung Institute and at Frau Kalf’s
East-West Psychology Institute, during which I had a
rare, all-day small group session with the revered Dalai
Lama; both he and Kalf were spiritually inspiring and
professionally motivating. When I returned I sought a
doctoral program in the psychology of dreams, but could
not locate one.
Later that decade I had a
precognitive dream in which I had dreamed that a “Dr.
Monet” or “Dr. Monte” could help me locate such a
doctoral program. That dream led me to seek out Dr.
Ullman’s assistance whose full name and nickname I did
not know at the time. Dr. Ullman told me “no graduate
degree program in dreams and dreaming exists,” but he
offered to help develop a doctoral program through the
Union Institute and he served on my doctoral committee
with Drs. Stanley Krippner, Clark Moustakas, and others.
Dr. Ullman structured my experiential dream
group internship, my internship at the Institute for
Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and my psychic dream
internship at the American Society For Psychical
Research. Were it not for Monte, I could never have
received the first doctorate ever awarded in the
psychology of dreams. I am deeply indebted to him for
all he gave to me and will cherish his memory. Through
Monte I found what I could not locate within the walls
of a university: the largest collection of dream
knowledge and a wonderful methodology. I had found “Dr.
Monet -Monte” and my personal cathedral of learning.
Monte was internationally renowned and singularly
beloved, but fame and adulation could not turn his head
or inflate his ego. Monte possessed gentility, decency,
and humility, exhibiting love and caring in his
relationships with his family and others. That’s how I
will remember him. I was honored to have worked with
Monte professionally, and privileged to have shared an
endearing friendship with him for nearly three decades,
as was my husband Dom. We miss Monte profoundly, will
recall him fondly, remember his iconic contributions to
dream work, and tribute his exceptional character and
humanity as a stellar human being.