Is there a personality difference in Dreams and Waking

Everyone dreams every night.  These night time movies can range from night terrors to amazingly insightful episodes.  The culture of the Senoi people of Malaysia was built around harnessing the power of dreams. The Senoi and Dream Power

Tijana Radeska wrote of the Senoi,  “Maybe one of the most beautiful works based on anthropological research done in the highlands of Malaysia is the book Pygmies and Dream Giants, by anthropologist Kilton Stewart. He wrote about the Senoi, a group of people that he encountered during his trip in Malaysia and their dreaming culture. Stewart first wrote on the subject in his doctoral thesis in 1948, in which he presents an argument about the Senoi’s ability to control their dreams and how they educated their children to master the same ability. The Senoi are a tribe that lives deep in the highlands of Malaysia and can be reached only by a helicopter or a boat. Along with the Negrito and Orang Malayu Asli, the Senoi are one of the three main Orang Asli groups, which are the oldest people of the region, the indigenous of Malaysia. Almost any written source about the tribe discusses the Senoi with dreams, so quite often they are mentioned as “the dream people.”Every morning, a Senoi family would gather for breakfast and the children would start telling their dreams to the elders, and together they would analyze them. They didn’t have an established system of symbols according to which they would interpret the dream, but rather, they would analyze the plot and the story of the dream.”
The Senoi understood the interesting and important intersection between how one’s personality functions during waking and how one’s dream personality functions during REM sleep or dreams.This is quite different than what Freud thought. Freud thought that dreams were the voice of the personal unconscious and needed an expert psychoanalyst to interpret their meanings.  Freud believed that the more disturbed the patient the more symbolic and troubling were his or her dreams.
Carl Jung, one of Freud’s peers, argued that dreams often were messages from the collective unconscious and by understanding them one could gain profound insights into self, personal growth, and the meaningful of life.In my work, The Transformation of Dream, I agreed with both Freud and Jung but went one step further by focusing first and forement, not the dream content, but the process of the dream or how the dreamer’s personality functioned during the dream state.
As my guide I used the dream practices of the Senoi and how they taught members of their tribe to become more active in their dreams and most importantly, how to make dreams useful.  After analyzing thousands of dreams I finally concluded that what the dreamer dreamt about, i.e. the content of the dream, was often directly influenced by how the dreamer functioned during the dream.After years of research, my team and I developed the following Dream Scoring System Journal of Clinical Psychology – The Functional Analysis of Dreams:

1. Is this dreamer ACTIVE or PASSIVE in this dream.  A researcher or dreamer could use a scoring system that went from 1 = toally passive to 5 = active.  We found that the more active the dreamer,  the less confusing and symbolic the dreams were.  To simply the dream scoring system a dreamer could reasonably ask, “Was I active or passive in this dream?”

2. Is this dream CLEAR or UNCLEAR.  Everyone has had a confusing dream which was like a Fellini movie that jumped from one event to the next without any seemingly logical progression.  A second component in the dream scoring system went from 1 = toally confused to 5 = clear and logical.  We found that the clearer the dream was the less confusing and symbolic the dreams were.  To simply the dream scoring system a dreamer could reasonably ask, “Was this dream clear or unclear?”

3. Is this dreamer EXPRESSIVE or UNEXPRESSIVE in this dream.  We found that when a dreamer was EXPRESSIVE in the dream, he or she also tended to be more active.   A researcher or dreamer could use a scoring system that went from 1 = nonexpressive to 5 = expressive.

4. Are the other characters in the dream known or unknown.  We found that when a dreamer has KNOWN characters in the dream, he or she also tended to be more ACTIVE and EXPRESSIVE.   A researcher or dreamer could use a scoring system that went from 1 = unknown to 5 = totally known.

5.  The fifth component of the dream scoring system was feeling.  Are the feelings in this dream clear, i.e., anger, sadness, fear, happiness or were the feelings unclear, i.e., depressed, anxiety, or unknown.  We found that when a dreamer’s feelings were clearly defined he or she tended to be more ACTIVE and EXPRESSIVE and just as importantly the other characters in the dream were KNOWN.   A researcher or dreamer could use a scoring system that went from 1 = unknown feelings to 5 = totally known feelings.

RJ Lang and KP O’Connor in their research paper – Personality, dream content and dream coping style presented research on 130 subjects who completed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and a Dream Analysis Questionnaire (DAQ), based on retrospective recall.  They sought to further the findings that how a person functioned why awake was related to how they functioned in their dreams.

In their study Lang and O’Connor referred to the earlier research presented by myself and co-workers which suggested there is a parallel between waking behavior and dream behavior.  Psychotherapy Research & Practice. 

We published additional support for the thesis regarding the parallel between the dreaming and waking personality in the Journal of Clinical PsychologyThe Functional Analysis of Dreams: a new theory of dreaming.

One can further review the parallels between dreaming and waking in the following books: The Dream Makers The Dream Makers, Dreaming and Waking Dreaming and Waking,  and the Functional Analysis of Dreams The Functional Analysis of Dreams.

 

 

 

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