Structural Dream Analysis: a narrative research method for investigating the meaning of dream series in analytical psychotherapies
Patient dreams in psychotherapy can be seen as narratives pointing to underlying conflicts as well as to potential solutions for overcoming mental health problems. Conceptualizations of the dream and its potential in the psychoanalytic tradition meanwhile are well supported by empirical dream research, which has moved dream interpretation from a Freudian perspective towards CG Jung’s theory of dreaming. Nevertheless there is a strong need for more research connecting the meaning conveyed by the dream with the psychopathology of the patient and with process in psychotherapy. Structural Dream Analysis (SDA) as a method to investigate the meaning conveyed in dream series from analytical psychotherapies is introduced. It combines earlier methods of narrative analysis with psychoanalytic ways of interpreting symbols into a coherent and manualised interpretive method; the application of the method is demonstrated with a case example.