Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

In my dreams I am the hero I wish to be: A mixed-methods study of children's dreams, meaning making, and spiritual awareness
by Sauln, Cynthia S., Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2013, 254; 3596835
Abstract (Summary)

This study of children's dreams used a mixed method to examine the dreams of 32 English-speaking children, ages 6-12 from the San Francisco Bay Area. The primary purpose of this research was to investigate dreams identified by the children as significant or meaningful, explore children's interpretations and meaning making, and to find if there was support for the hypothesis that some dreams might be connected to children's spiritual awareness, or influenced by their spirituality, beliefs, and practices, areas that have had little attention in previous dream research. Using a semi-structured interview protocol, participants were asked to tell the dream while drawing a picture of the dream. Major dream themes were identified, and the resulting dream data were correlated to participants' spiritual awareness, as measured by the Feeling Good, Living Life instrument (FGLL), specifically designed to measure spiritual health in children, and the Practice and Beliefs Scale for Children (PBSC) a 10-item instrument designed to assess connections between spirituality and religiosity. The FGLL was developed to measure four domains of spiritual well-being: Personal, Communal, Environmental, and Transcendental. The PBSC used a sentence-completion format to reflect the individual's language and assessed children's belief in the God of their definition as well as the importance and the role of the child's spiritual beliefs in coping in everyday life. Findings from the qualitative and quantitative results showed evidence of children's spiritual awareness in all domains, reflected their spirituality in the areas of awareness-sensing, value-sensing, and mystery-sensing, and found correlations between some of the dreams, meaning making, and their spiritual understanding. Implications are noted for therapists, spiritual directors, researchers, parents, and other adults who work with children regarding the benefits and challenges of dream work with children in this age group as a way of recognizing and nurturing their spirituality.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pilato, Ron
Commitee: Adams, Kate, Bulkeley, Kelly
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Residential Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Children's dreams, Children's spirituality, Meaning-making, Nightmares, Spiritual awareness, Therapeutic dreamwork
Publication Number: 3596835
ISBN: 9781303441523
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