Friday, November 16, 2012

Paranormal Dreaming (replies accepted until Dec 10th)

Dreaming about the future, about other people accurately, or about events that are occuring that one cannot know about appear to be common occurances. Over the years people have reported these forms of dreams but because scientists could not explain them, they igorned them. More recently scientific studies have begun delving into this realm of consciousness and found that they do in fact occur. Why might humans have the ability of paranormal dreaming (which actually appears to be normal dreaming) and what would be the advantage of this evolutionary phenomena to persist in humans?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why would dream therapy be important to women with breast cancer?

Breast cancer is an illness that often is accompanied by repeated nightmares or negative dream imagery. This in itself is a symptom that should not be ignored but rather, treated along with other treatment modalities for the illness. A study by DeCicco and colleagues found that women with breast cancer in treatment found working with their dreams particualarly helpful in that they found deep meaning in their imagery which directly related to waking day life. For example, they could find meaning in their treatments and in their recovery process. The meaning they found went beyond the illness itself and into other areas of their lives such as their waking day relationships. Given the findings from this study, what important avenues should this research now take in order to help other people suffering from negative dreams or nightmares? How should this research be conducted?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Working with Dreams in Psychotherapy (Hill)

Dr. Clara Hill is a professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland. In her book, "Working with Dreams in Psychotherapy" she provides clinically tested methods for exploring dreams with patients in psychotherapy. Her method is not self-guided like The Storytelling Method or The 2A Method, but rather, a psychotherapist is needed to work with the patient. Her method is appropriate for clinical practice since it helps people deal with waking day issues at a deeper level. When should a person use the self-guided methods and when should they use therapist-guided methods?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Video Gaming and Dreams

Researcher Jayne Gackenback at Grant MacEwan University has researched the effects of gaming on sleep mentation, or dreaming. She and her colleagues (2011) examined the dreams of soldiers who play video games, in particular, they were interested in nightmare. The previous literature has shown that high waking day emotion and distress are predictors of nightmare suffering. Interestingly, soldiers who were high in gaming exhibited less threat and war content in their military dreams than those who were low-end gamers. How would this help soldiers and could this possibly be tested with other groups who suffer nightmares?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Continuity Hypothesis of Dreaming

There is much research evidence that dream images relate directly to waking day life circumstances. For example, students who study sports have more dreams about sports than students who study other disciplines. People who are ill have more dreams with doctors, needles, medications and other illness-related imagery than people who are not ill. One of the major researchers in the area is Dr. Michael Schredl from Germany who has found the continuity hypothesis to be stable and global for dreamers. Please google Dr. Schredl and blog about his work and how his work has influenced the field of dream science.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dreams, Grief and Mourning

The psychological literature has noted 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (Kubler-Ross, 1969). Mourning is defined as the following four stages: Numbness, yearning, disorganization, and reorganization. Interestingly, when a person loses a loved one through death, in conjunction with the stages of grief and mourning are dreams of the deceased in various forms. For example, the deceased will appear as if they are alive and speak to the dreamer. The deceased can convey information such as forgiveness or advice. It appears that dreams of the deceased are a very important part of the human experience of grief and mourning. Joshua Black at Trent University is now examining the dreams of the bereaved to investigate further why these dreams occur and how they are important in the grief process. How might dreams of the deceased help people cope with their loss? How might these dreams help grief counselors deal with profound grief?

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Dreams of Canadian Soldiers

My name is Allyson Dale and I studied the dreams of soldiers after war with Dr. DeCicco for my Masters. We found that TSM was very effective with soldiers in revealing to them what their dream means. Soldiers had much more aggression and perceived threat in their dreams when compared to a control group of age matched male university students. We also examined the discovery passages from TSM and found that soldiers learned about specific events relating to their tour from aggressive acts in their dreams. They also learned about specific relationships such as relationships with their comrades. Predictive value of dreams was also found where certain dream categories predicted categories of discovery, as was found with males (Dale & DeCicco, 2012). Both dream content and discovery from the dream were relevant and meaningful for both soldiers and male civilians which reflect their waking lives, further supporting the continuity hypothesis.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Dreams of University Students....

The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation (DeCicco, 2007) was found to be valid and reliable when tested with both female (DeCicco, 2007) and male (Dale & DeCicco, 2012) university students. These studies found a gender difference between males and females, and, the continuity hypothesis was upheld. That is, that students dream about relevant waking day events. Students of both genders also found meaning in their dreams with the method more than 80% of the time. Once these studies established the categories of images that students dream about (e.g. school, family, other females, anger, stress, etc.) these categories could be used in future studies for comparison purposes. The dreams of female breast cancer patients for example, could be compared to females of similar age and the dreams of male soldiers returning from war could be compared to males of similar age. In fact, the dreams of male soldiers returning from war were examined and found to be relevant. Furthermore, The Storytelling Method was helpful for them finding meaning in their dreams. How might The Storytelling Method be helpful to soldiers returning from war and how would their images and meanings be different than male students?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dreams tell us age, ethnicity, gender etc....

Extensive dream research has shown that researchers can identify participant's age, gender, ethnicity, personality traits, and other pertinent details from their dream images. It appears that dreams are in fact a "finger print" of the dreamer's waking day life at many levels. A recent study by Hoekstra, Stos and Swendson (2012) examined the dreams of individuals who watched specific television programs and found that their dreams reflected their own ethnicity, and, the ethnicity of the characters from the programs. What does this say about the dreaming mind in terms of waking day events and the personality of dreamers?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our Dreaming Mind......

Our Dreaming Mind is now one of the foremost areas of research as scientists have developed sophistocated techniques and methods to measure this. Our Dreaming Mind is also the title of Dr. Bob Van de Castle's textbook, which takes readers through a great body of knowledge about dreams and dreaming. One of the most important and interesting topics discussed in the book are cultural differences in attitudes about dreams. Some cultures have rejected dreams over the years while others have embraced them, studied them, and used them, without interruption for thousands of years. What are some of the attitudes in North American culture about dreams at this time, and, how can dream research affect that?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fall Blogging............

Welcome back after a beautiful summer. New blog posts will begin next week and I look forward to sharing information and discussions about dreams and dream research with everyone who participates.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What we know so far........

After studying some of the scientific literature on dreams, we know how dreams relate to waking life based on comparisons to normative data. That is, a sample of dreams are compared to a large sample of "norms". Research has linked specific dream imagery to waking life circumstances. For example, we know that the dreams of people will a specific illness differ from people without that illness. Research has also examined dream meaning and has found valuable and useful techniques for clinical practice. Dream therapy has become a mainstream tool for both therapist-guided and self-guided therapies. Knowing what you know now about dreams, dream research, and dream therapy, how has this changed your paradigm of the science of dreaming and consciousness (if it has at all!)?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dream with sexual imagery: What do they mean?

Interestingly, dreams with sexual imagery are one of the most common forms of imagery yet very little empirical research was devoted to them. Writers hypothesized, wrote about and pontificated about them with little empirical evidence of why they occur. More recent research has found that about 20% of dreams with sexual imagery are about a sexual relationship and 80% are about a waking day relationship. The waking day information is generally not sexual in nature. For example, discovery about one's spouse (we need to spend more time together), a co-worker (she is the type of partner I would like in my life) or a family member (I need to forgive someone) is the most common form of meaning. Furthermore, discovery is usually not related to the target in the dream but to a waking day relationship. How might this information help clinicians when working with people in therapy?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Dreams of The Bereaved

When a loved one passes away, a common experience is that the bereaved will have dreams of the person in specific patterns. For example, a person may dream that the loved one is not actually dead, or, has come back to life. Another common dream is that the lost loved one has a important message that is being conveyed in the dream. Though these dreams are often reported by the bereaved, little empirical research has yet examined the exact nature of them and how they affect the dreamer in waking life. Given that grief and bereavement is such an important and profound human process, this area of research and clinical study is especially warranted. A graduate student at Trent University, Josh Black, is now examining the dreams of the bereaved in relation to their grief process. What important elements should be included in his study and how can dream therapy help the bereaved with their loss?

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Continuity Hypothesis of Dreaming

Researchers have long since realized that dream images are produced from the dreamer's own life experiences and personality. Researchers have shown that images are often an extension of waking day thoughts, feelings and behaviours (Dale & DeCicco, 2012; Davidson & Lynch, 2012; Schredl, 2007; Steven et al., 2012). Furthermore, extensive studies with normative data have given researchers a pool of data specifying what specific groups dream about. For example, there is a data set for the dreams of university females, university males, community dwelling adults, people diagnosed with depression and people diagnosed with other disorders. Given what we know about the continuity hypothesis and normative data sets, how would the dream imagery of people with depression differ from the norms, and why?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Opinions Not Backed By Facts: Changing Paradigms

One of the biggest hurdles in research is the fact that lay people tend to have opinions about a subject without regarding the scientific literature. Therefore, a paradigm is created that is contrary to actual scientific findings. Historically this has occurred readily as when the world was discovered to be round instead of flat, or that the earth revolved around the sun and was not the only planet in the universe. Many scientists were killed over the years for revealing a "new findings". We see the resistance to new findings currently in dream research as people hold onto their paradigms. For example, there is a large body of literature that has shown that dream imagery is: a) linked to mental illness, b) specific to illnesses, and c) can aid in both diagnosis and treatment. For examples from the literature see: Beck, 1971; Bonime, 1962, Boss & Kenney, 1987; Brown & Donderi, 1986; Cartwright et al., 2006; Crook & Hill, 2003; Flowers & Zweben, 1996. As we study the scientific literature we can see that research findings reveal information that people cannot always accept; even when the findings are clear and repeated often. How can scientists help change the paradigms that popular culture hold when new research findings are revealed?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mental Illness and Dreams

Research has shown that depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disorder all clearly show up with specific dream imagery. For example, people who are high in anxiety have more scene changes than people who do not have high waking day anxiety. Similarly, bizarreness for people with bi-polar disorder shows up in dream imagery where people without the disorder have less bizarre imagery. How might these findings help health care professionals in terms of diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders? Also, what would be needed along with a record of one's dreams in order to aid treatment for such disorders?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Storytelling Method and Recovery Alcoholism

The Storytelling Method was found to be successful when used as a treatment for recovering alcoholics (DeCicco & Higgins, 2009). The authors found that the emotional triggers that precipitated drinking were often discovered by the dreamer, for example, deep loneliness was often felt just before drinking. Another interesting finding in the study is that recovering alcoholics often have "drinking dreams" even though they are no longer using. These can happen for months or even years into sobriety. Recovered alcoholics can find these dreams disturbing as they do not want to feel the reaction of drinking, even in dream mentations. Also, they can trigger fear that the addiction is not under control. How might TSM help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions in waking life and with drinking dreams, should these arise?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Storytelling Method with Breast Cancer Patients

The Storytelling Method was examined with breast cancer patients (DeCicco, Lyons, Pannier & Wright, 2009) and found to show that patients gained valuable insight from the method. For example, they found deep meaning in their illness with dream imagery and they found helpful coping strategies as well. How would you expect these discoveries to actually help patients in their waking life and, how might clinicians use this information when working with patients?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation

The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation (TSM) has been found useful in that participants find discovery at least 80% of the time (DeCicco, 2007). The method has been used in clinical practice and in research (For example: DeCicco, 2009; DeCicco, Donati & Pini, 2012; Decicco & Higgins, 2010). It has been found to be useful with recovering alcoholics, pain patients, cancer patients, the general public, and clinical poplulations. A recent study used TSM with soldiers as a form of self-guided therapy (Dale & DeCicco, 2012). This is particularly important since soldiers returning from war often suffer nightmares and negative imagery. How might this method aid soldiers and how might it prove useful for long-term purposes?

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Our Dreaming Mind" by Robert L. Van de Castle

In the preface of the book of "Our Dreaming Mind" the author provides a rich and interesting narrative into how and why he studies dreams. His journey into the study of dreams comes from many perspectives such as scientific, multi-cultural, biological, pscyhospiritual, and personal. As a result of these, the book provides a wide scope of the science of dreaming for the reader. Given this, how might this book lead readers into both the scientific field of dreams and the personal quest of dream interpretation as guidance for waking life?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Blog Posting On Monday May 14th

A new posting for discussion will appear on Monday.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Somatization disorder and dreaming

In a reported case, a woman had her 10 year old son hospitalized for fever, inability to speak, and inabilty to move any muscles. After 2 weeks of hospitalization and testing doctors decided to do spinal and brain surgery to explore options for diagnosis and treatment. The night before the surgery the mother dreamt that her son spoke to her and said that he was "faking" the illness. Upon waking she spoke to him and he replied that he was in fact "faking" the illness. Psychiatric treatment was then administered to the young boy. How could the mother's dream indicate the diagnosis, and, and how could this affect somatization?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Nightmares vs Night Terrors

A common question people ask is, "what is the difference between a nightmare and a night terror?" These are very different phenomena and give people feedback about their own waking day lives. What is the difference between these,and, what can people learn from these two dream mentations?

p.s This is posting 9. There will be one more.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Depression and Dreams

A common and effective form of intervention for treating depression is CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). More recent work has found that a "lighter" version of CBT is to have people with mild to moderate depression focus on positive things in waking life and to stop avoidance behaviour. That is, people with depression begin to stop socializing and begin living more with their own negative thoughts and feelings. By focusing on positive things, doing things that they previously enjoyed, and actively engaging in mood-enhancing behaviours such as smiling, saying hello to people and not complaining results in an uplifting of mood. How might this information help in terms of dream imagery and dream interpretation for people with mild to moderate depression?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Stroop Test and Dreams

A long standing debate in the psychological literature is the notion that dreams do, or do not, have meaning for the dreamer. As the body of research literature evolved over time it became apparent that dream imagery was meaningful to the dreamer on many levels. How can the stroop test help researchers and participants understand that dreams are meaningful?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Heads Up Dreaming

It has been recorded from the beginning of dream writings that people can dream about events in the future. That is, dream imagery can represent events that have not yet happened in time. Researchers have tried to simulate this phenomena in terms of both lab and home dream studies. Having had the opportunity to dream about a future event, what are some of the features of these dreams and how do they differ from problem-solving or emotion-regulating dreams?

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Use of Dream Journals in Self-Guided and Therapist Guided Work

A common practice with both self-guided and therapist-guided dream work is to keep a dream journal. The journal becomes a valuable tool for the dreamer and for the therapist, if it is therapist-guided. How might the journal be helpful and what are the major features of keeping a dream journal?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recent Study by Dale & DeCicco, 2012

In a recent study by Dale & DeCicco (2012) the authors examined the dreams of Canadian Male University Students. This was the first study of its kind to examine only males in order to gain insight into their unique dream imagery patterns. One finding from the study with regression analyses is that strangers appearing in the dreams predict discovery about anger. What are the implications of this finding for research and clinical practice? Also, how does this fit with the continuity hypothesis of dreaming?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dreams as Wish Fulfillment.....

Several authors have written extensively about the notion that dreams are a reflection of the wish fulfillment of the dreamer. Freud for example, stated that some dream imagery is a direct link to wish fulfillment such as dreaming about food when one is hungry (Halliday, 2010). Victor Frankl (1963) wrote that the most common dreams of people in concentration camps during World War II were of "bread, cake, cigarettes, and a nice warm bath (p. 44)." If you were a clinician working with individuals in jail for long term incarceration, what would you expect their wish fulfillment to look like in terms of dream imagery, and why?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dreams of Gamers and Games in Dreams

Stickgold, Hobson, Fosse, and Fosse (2001) used the method of presleep videogame play to investigate whether or not episodic memories transitioned from waking to sleep. The video game "Tetris" was used for the study. What would you expect to see from this study in terms of dream imagery?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Attitudes About Dream Meanings

Research has shown that people often report their dreams as meaningless but with further inquiry, they report that their own dreams do in fact have meaning. Interestingly, people often report that their dreams are meaningful in terms of their own health, the health of loved ones, relationships, and career. A study by Hsiu-Lan, Chia-Huei and Chen (2006) explored attitudes toward dreams and dream interpretation. One main finding was that initial attitudes toward dreams did not influence perceived gains from dream sessions via interpretation. How might this information aid clinicians when working with people and their dreams?