Date of Award

8-1988

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to make explicit the essential structure of the experience of dreaming a droam which changes one's life. The study examined the total dream experience of a person, which included the dreamer’s report of his or her rolevant experience prior to the dream, the dream itself, and the subsequent waking experience of the dream. Because this study sought to discover the moaning of the transformative dream for the dreamer, the phenomenological method was used. The subject-participants were nine adults, spanning each decade from the teenage years through the sixties, who identified themselves as having had a life changing dream. Their descriptions of their dream experiences were collected through in-depth taped interviews conducted by the researcher. Descriptions were transcribed verbatim from the taped interviews to form an individual protocol for each subject. Each protocol was analysed phenomenologically. This process involves arranging the subject’s statements in chronological order in which the dream experience occurred. The description is then demarcated into "scenes",, where each moment coheres and gives it’s own meaning of the experience. Through intuiting essential coherent moments in the description, the researcher is able to make explicit the implicit meaning of the subject-participants* experience. These coherent moments are put together to create an individualized structure for each protocol. The researcher then collapses across each individualized structure generalities which are essential to all structures, to form a general structure. The essential finding of the general structure was that in the transformative dream the dreamer experiences a vision of a new possibility for living in the world, which experientially allows the dreamer to live through in the dream this new way of being, such that in subsequent waking life the person is compelled to effect the change experienced in the dream. It was found that prior to the dream, the person’s former structure for existence, or way of being in one particular aspect of life, was no longer functional. One experiences a crumbling of this old structure and is therefore acutely receptive to experiencing a new form which is embodied as a vision in the dream. The dreamers have an experience of being at the center of their truth in their dream, and as a result, in their subsequent waking life, where they were previously immobilized in a particular issue, they can then move.

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