In a research article Toward a new theory of dreaming published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Volume 33, Issue 3, pages 807–820, July 1977, Richard Corriere the lead researcher. argued for an new look at how dreams are studied, understood and used.
In contrast to Freud’s analytic theory, which deals with content and interprets dreams as coded symbolic messages, the new transformative theory focuses on how the dreamer performs in the dream.
The inspiration behind the research was a study of the Senoi Tribe in Malaysia. The Senoi taught their children from their earliest days to be strong in their dreams and to confront bad or evil characters. They had children learn to redream dreams until they were strong, active, speaking and calling on friends to help them.
Corriere and his co-workers developed a new scoring system which identified how active, how expressive, how connected with friends, how clear and how much expressed feeling there was in a night’s dream. The results were revealing and showed that when a dreamer pays attention to dreams he can learn to take new actions in dreams. Dreams shift from confused symbolic stories to clear helpful guides.
BOOKS: These research findings were later expanded in three books: Psychological Fitness; Going Sane; Life Zones. These books argue that people who have developed life skills feel and perform better than those who do not possess the same skills. When a person does not have basic life skills they manifest what traditional psychology refers to as symptoms. Symptoms are directly reflective of a lack of skills. What is troubling for a person is that given the same situation with the same skills they repeat unproductive behavior. The good news is that with new life skills given the same situation they change their behavior and derive desired outcomes.