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Include your name, the number and name of this course, the name of the assignment, for example, (Reading Response: The Dream Theories of Jung and Hall), and the due date on the upper left corner of the first page.

  • FORMAT: Each response is a (minimum) 2-paged typed (double-spaced) response to the assigned reading. Type in a Word document in Arial 12 Font. Then copy and paste or upload to Canvas.
  • GUIDELINES:  Please note: DO NOT “agree” or “disagree” with the author’s point of   view here. This is not a position paper. Your response should demonstrate comprehension, not argument.

 Based on your reading(s), consider the following:

  • What is the author trying to say? What is/are the main point(s) of this reading? Support your discussion with a quote or quotes that communicate(s) (one of) the main idea(s) of the article.
  • How does this reading address the power and complexity of images?
  • How do ideas in this reading connect with your own experience?

Failure to follow the format and guidelines above will result in a lower grade. As time permits, students may be asked to contribute their ideas and/or experiences to an in-class discussion of each article.

The Dream Theories of Carl Jung and Calvin Hall

By Ryan Hurd

The Dream Theories of Carl Jung

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Except for Sigmund Freud, no one has influenced modern dream studies more than Carl Jung.

A psychoanalyst based in Zurich, Switzerland, Jung (1875  -1961) was a friend and follower of Freud but soon developed his own ideas about how dreams are formed.  While depth psychology has fallen out of favor in neuroscience, Jung’s ideas are still thriving in contemporary psychoanalytic circles.  Popular applications directly based on Jung’s research include the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, the polygraph (lie detector) test, and 12-step addiction recovery programs.

The basic idea behind Jungian dream theory is that dreams reveal more than they conceal. They are a natural expression of our imagination and use the most straightforward language at our disposal: mythic narratives.  Because Jung rejected Freud’s theory of dream interpretation that dreams are designed to be secretive, he also did not believe dream formation is a product of discharging our tabooed sexual impulses.

And surprisingly enough, Jung did not believe that dreams need to be interpreted for them to perform their function.  Instead, he suggested that dreams are doing the work of integrating our conscious and unconscious lives; he called this the process of individuation

It’s easiest to think of individuation as the mind’s quest for wholeness, or wisdom. While not required, working with dreams and amplifying the mythic components can hasten along the process.

Archetypal Images Bring Balance

This mythic world of Jung’s is the realm of the archetypes, which are the universal energies of every human who is not only in conflict with society but also with him or her self.  Jung suggested that the archetypal images that come through dreams may be derived from different organs and thought centers in the body, and as such represent evolutionary drives.

Jung drew heavily from Medieval texts and described his psychology as alchemy

Despite all the conflict, Jung’s perspective is all about order. 

The quicker we can balance all these ancient needs, the more productively we can live.  The psychotherapist’s role is to provide hope for this order by helping the client make sense of their night visions and how they relate to waking life.

In Jung’s reckoning, the psychotherapist is like a modern shaman or priest who helps the individual create a personal mythology that works by throwing out maladaptive patterns and establishing healthy ones in their place.

The components of our mythic lives all have a similar structure throughout the lifespan. This is Jung’s collective unconscious, an idea that is usually misrepresented in popular culture today as some kind of psychic reservoir of knowledge.  Jung was pointing more towards the psychological constants in all societies, such as rites-of-passage into womanhood, or the growing fascination with death after middle age.

Calvin Hall and the Cognitive Theory of Dreaming

Any survey of modern dream research must include Calvin Hall (1909-1985).  Hall was a behavioral psychologist who explored the cognitive dimensions of dreaming.  His work began before the discovery of REM sleep, so little was known about the biology of sleep and dreams.  Hall drew worldwide attention for his cognitive theory of dreaming, which was among the first scientific theories of dream interpretation based on quantitative analysis.

Dreams Images are the Embodiment of Thought

Central to Hall’s cognitive theory is that dreams are thoughts displayed in the mind’s private theater as visual concepts. Like Jung, Hall dismissed the Freudian notion that dreams are trying to cover something up.  In his classic work The Meaning of Dreams (1966), Hall writes, “The images of a dream are the concrete embodiments of the dreamer’s thoughts; these images give visual expression to that which is invisible, namely, conceptions.” (p. 95). So dreams reveal the structure of how we envision our lives, a display that is clearly valuable for anyone who remembers and studies their own dreams.

The Way We See the World

After studying thousands of dreams collected from his students and from around the world, Hall suggested that the main cognitive structures that dreams reveal include:

· conceptions of self (how we appear to ourselves, the roles we play in life)

· conceptions of others (the people in our lives and how we react to their needs 

· conceptions of the world (our environment: is it a barren wasteland or a nurturing place?)

· conceptions of penalties (how we view authority.  What is allowed? What is forbidden?)

· conceptions of conflict (our inner discord and how we struggle with resolving it).

As a behavioral psychologist, Hall believed these conceptions are antecedents to our behavior in the waking world.  They’re like maps to our actions, and “with these maps we are able to follow the course of man’s behavior, to understand why he selects one road rather than another, to anticipate the difficulties and obstacles he will encounter, and to predict his destinations.”

Content Analysis: the Hall-Van de Castle Scale

Hall’s work is still widely cited today, but his greatest legacy is the system of dream content analysis he developed with psychologist Robert Van De Castle in the 1960s.

Known as the Hall Van De Castle scale, this quantitative system scores a dream report with 16 empirical scales.  Some scales are settings, objects, people, animals, and mythological creatures.

Other scales include emotions, sexual content, aggression, etc.

The value of the project is that there are now hundreds of thousands of dreams measured using the HVdC system, creating a “baseline” for normal dreaming cognition.  So researchers can add dreams from special interest groups (children, Vietnam vets, Armenian students) to measure their profiles against the norm.

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This innovation is a huge milestone in the scientific study of dreams.  Now researchers can easily get a snapshot of dreaming cognition that is measurable, quantitative, and statistically significant. Besides psychologists, this scale is still used widely today by sociologists and anthropologists.

Dream content has coherent meaning—that is the main message behind Hall’s work with dreams.  This view later came under fire by the controversial work of neuroscientist Allan Hobson, who implied that dreams may be nothing more than images stitched together from random brain pulses. This rift may be the central conflict in dream studies today.