Jungian dream interpretation and empirical dream research
C. G. Jung had a major influence on theories of dreaming and dream interpretation in psychotherapy, but his theory has not yet been tested empirically. The chapter will give an overview on findings from empirical dream research that refer to Jung’s theory. The research method structural dream analysis (SDA) is described, which allows for systematic and objective analysis of the meaning of dreams produced by patients in Jungian psychotherapies. SDA draws on narratological methods to identify major themes and their development over the course of a psychotherapy. As a result, the development of the inner world of a patient and the changes brought about by psychotherapy can be reconstructed without referring to other information than the dreams. Comparison with reports by the psychotherapist conducting the treatment about the psychodynamics of the patient and the course of psychotherapy show significant parallels with the results of SDA. The method is currently applied by research teams in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan, aiming at building a larger corpus of cases and formulating an empirically founded theory of dreams and their use in psychotherapy.