Richard Corriere and his colleagues proposed in this research article A New Theory of Dreaming use research findings and detailed analysis to argue that there is a simpler and more down-to-earth way of understanding dreams.
They credit their understanding to the anthropologist Kilton Stewart and his work with the primitive tribe in Malaysia, the Senoi. Corriere and his colleagues Joseph Hart and Werner Karle explored anthropology studies on the Senoi because they were unhappy with the complexities and subjective nature of dream interpretation.
What is unique about the Senoi is how their understanding of dreams is dramatically different than the dream beliefs of the hostile tribes surrounding them. The tribes surrounding the Senoi used shaman’s to interpret their dreams while the Senoi focused on how they acted in their dreams.
The Senoi teach DREAM SKILLS to their children. These skills teach the Senoi childrento be powerful in their dreams, to speak with authority, call on friends for help and advice, and to make the dream give benefits, not only to the dreamer, but to the dreamer’s community.
Instead of asking what does this dream mean, the Senoi asked HOW were you, the dreamer, acting in the dream. Were you strong? Were you a leader? Did you call on friends? Corriere’s research found that when a dreamer was strong, a leader, and able to connect with friends then the dream needed no interpretation. The dream was lucid and clear in and of itself.
The question then became how to achieve in modern society the same dream results as the Senoi. During a five year study Corriere and his colleagues found that by teaching life skills to subjects in waking, these skills were transferred to dreaming.
When a person learned in waking to speak up clearly, take leadership role, and ask for advice from friends, those same skills were reflected in their dreams. Corriere and his team developed The Process Scoring System to measure how a dreamer was in his or her dreams.
Corriere’s ideas are defined in his three books on dreams: The Dream Makers The Dream Makers, Dreaming and Waking Dreaming and Waking, and the Functional Analysis of Dreams The Functional Analysis of Dreams.
This research and the training that goes with it has lead to a new understanding of dreams. This understanding states it is not WHAT you dream about that is important but HOW you are in a dream that makes the dream important.