In his early 20s, Machiel Klerk was renting a house in Amsterdam with several friends when he found one of his roommates’ unread copies of a Carl Jung book.

The discovery couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I was in the pit of meaninglessness,” says Klerk, now 51 and a licensed mental health therapist, speaker, dreamworker, author, and entrepreneur. “I was in a lot of pain but didn’t know how to deal with that. I didn’t have a future vision. I was smoking too much weed and became lethargic. Jung became a lifeline.”

Klerk devoured the book by the late Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who believed dreams are a gateway to the unconscious mind, providing key information for personal growth and self-discovery.

“Jung gave me a worldview that was so much more interesting than the one I was living,” Klerk says. “I’d never seen the world that way and it just blew me apart.”

At the time, Klerk had been half-heartedly attending Hogeschool voor Economische Studies (HES) in Amsterdam. Once he dove into Jung’s teachings, he completed two years of study in one to earn his bachelor’s degree in economics and languages.

Born in South Africa, Klerk moved to the Netherlands when he was 4. When he was 10, his father died at age 54 during heart surgery.

“People would say, ‘He’s in a better place,’ and I thought, How is that even possible? It was very unhelpful,” says Klerk, who grew up in the Calvinistic tradition, which teaches that God decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.

“I came from a very emotionally constricted world,” he says. “I didn’t have a sense whether there was a soul, an afterlife.”

After discovering Jung, Klerk began seeing his father in his dreams—and experiencing synchronicities in his waking life. He moved from one Jung book to the next, soaking in all that he was studying and experiencing. Klerk decided to leave his old life behind and, in hindsight, is glad he did.

Dream Leads to Business

Klerk had a goal of becoming a mental health therapist, but at 25, he felt he wasn’t ready, so he focused on another passion—business entrepreneurship.

“Some people paint. I like to create,” he says. “I was way too green to become a therapist—I lacked life experience—so I thought, Let me first start with business. I enjoyed that, and things fell into place. I met someone and we started a tech company, and it did well. I learned to become more practical, pragmatic. It was also a way of being back in the world in a really hands-on way.”

After about five years, Klerk tired of the repetition and spent a year traveling through Asia. His company was sold to an enterprise in Utah, so Klerk moved to the U.S. with the idea of living in Utah for six months. He stayed for years.

In his early 30s, his fascination with dreams led him to Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. There, he earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology and extensively studied Jungian psychology. He then completed a three-year training program to learn Embodied Imagination, a way of working with dreams developed by Robert Bosnak, Psy.A. He has also followed an intensive summer study program at the Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland.

Klerk, who became a licensed mental health therapist in 2006, is also the founder of the Jung Society of Utah, which he started after dreaming he saw Carl Jung on a square, concrete platform in the water. Through the online Jung Platform he offers Jungian and soul-centered courses on psychological and spiritual perspectives.

“They help people in all kinds of ways navigate through a territory of life,” he says, “whether it’s dealing with heartbreak, connecting to synchronicity, or using the tarot to navigate their journey.”

Collaborating with the Soul

While the Jung Platform is doing well, Klerk is, once again, feeling something new is on the horizon.

“I start noticing that when things become repetitive, my energy slows down. I’m not enough artist and I’m too practical,” he says. “I think something else is there, but I don’t know what it is.”

In 2023, Klerk left Utah for Mexico City to explore living there. While he believes he’ll stay for several years, Klerk says he’s also given up making plans. “I came to Utah for six months and then 19 years later, I still lived there,” he says. “When we allow the soul to come in, we get a surprising, different path.”

Dreams help guide him—and he shares the how-to in his book, Dream Guidance: Connecting to the Soul Through Dream Incubation (Hay House, 2022). “Dream incubation, or dreams in general, is different than a lot of these manifestation techniques you see out there that say, ‘Think what you want in five years and start manifesting it,’” he says. “That becomes an in-the-moment fantasy about the future and is usually more on the ‘I’ ego side (the subjective self that experiences, decides, and is aware of its own identity) than it is about incorporating the soul. If you open up and let the soul collaborate, you get a different but very rich journey.”

Klerk travels all over the United States and around the world, teaching people how to harness the power of their dreams. That was the goal of Dream Guidance. In the book, he outlines a five-step method for proactively engaging with our dreams, starting with identifying a problem and then developing questions around it to take into our dreams.

He’s had two types of responses to the book. “The friendly people say that this is an easy read, full of stories and practical, logical steps that are easy to implement,” he says. “Another thing I hear is, ‘I did it, but I got a dream that I didn’t understand—what do I do?’” He explains that not all dreams are immediately crystal clear.

“People are too eager to have the answer on day one,” Klerk observes. “It’s very, very seldom you get a complete recipe in your dream. Your soul is starting a journey.”

The soul—the Universe—is interested in helping us, but it’s a process, he explains. 

“When I have a dream and I don’t know exactly what it means, I make a drawing and keep it in my mind—and then the unfolding starts,” he says. “You might have a synchronistic event, and then other things come up. You continue to ask a next question and then slowly, slowly it starts self-revealing.”

He admits the path isn’t always easy.

“I’ve had a dream in which I took the dream as a suggestion to build a platform for depth and soul psychology that I called the Jung Platform. I started that. But even if you start that journey, there’s so many little detours that happen.”

Dreams also aren’t the only way to collaborate with the soul, he acknowledges.

“The soul is present 24/7,” he says. “It’s not that dreams are the only way to access it. It’s just a really good way. But intuition, just listening to yourself, feeling your body, that’s all equally valuable.”

Learn more about Klerk and his work at

This article appeared in Unity Magazine.

About the Author

Annie L. Scholl is an Ohio-based freelance writer who contributes to Daily Word® and Spirituality & Health®. Her work has been published on Huffington Post, Brevity, and The Sunlight Press. She recently finished her first memoir and blogs at

Annie L. Scholl


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