The Body Dreaming: Engaging the Dream's Disturbing Image

Patterson, Janet (2013) The Body Dreaming: Engaging the Dream's Disturbing Image. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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This study posed the Research Problem: In what ways does working affectively and somatically with disturbing dream images affect adaptive identity? It was hypothesized that working with disturbing dream images somatically and affectively would allow the dreamer to experience negative affects, thus broadening the experience and acceptance of their own multiplicity. The theory-in-practice was Imaginal Transformation Praxis (ITP). The literature review selects works from psychological, psychobiological, popular, and cross-cultural approaches to dreams; Imaginal Approaches to dreams, including somatic dream work, psychological multiplicity, and affect theory; and disturbing imagery. Examining this literature reveals a gap in somatic approaches to dreams. The research methodology used was Imaginal Inquiry. Participants worked with a disturbing dream with the researcher, then made masks, through which they spoke as their Dream Self and a Dream Other. The study's cumulative learning states that engaging with disturbing dream images affectively and somatically can facilitate the experience of uncomfortable affects, allowing for recognition of unfamiliar parts of the psyche, merging them with more familiar aspects, v thereby helping to temporarily suspend the dreamer from duality of consciousness. The first learning claims that attending to physical expressions of affect lends depth to the work for the dreamer, allowing them access to previously unavailable aspects of their psyche, which can enable shifts in their adaptive identity. The claim of the second learning is that fear of the potentially intense experiences of the imagination restricts the ability to affectively experience disturbing dream images. The third learning claims that the use of a mask necessitates certain somatic responses that facilitate the wearer's embodiment of the other, in this case, a dream entity. The claim of the fourth learning is that as the affects associated with the Dream Self and the Dream Other are embodied, these two images merge, allowing a step out of adaptive identity and towards an encounter with the figure in Imaginal Transformative Praxis known as the Friend. Working with dreams somatically and affectively gives dreamers an experience of engagement with the Friend, allowing them to experience and embody affects that arise in response to disturbing dream images and meet the challenges they present.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Janet Patterson
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 22:36
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2017 22:36

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