The construction and analysis of dream metaphors from the standpoint of Co-Creative Dream Theory

  • Gregory Scott Sparrow (Author)
    University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Atlantic University

    Associate Professor

    Dept. of Educational Psychology

Identifiers (Article)


Co-creative dream theory posits that the dream is co-determined through the reciprocal interplay between the witnessing dream ego and the emergent content. Consequently, the resulting dream can be seen as one of many contingent outcomes based on the dreamer’s range of response through the course of the dream, as well as the broad constraints of underlying domains that account for the nature and thrust of the emergent content. From this relational view of the dream, the visual imagery is not the content itself, but rather the “mutable interface” (Sparrow, 2013) between the dream ego and the emergent content. The purpose of this paper is to consider how the Co-creative Paradigm (CCP) builds on contributions by Jung (2014), Ullman (1969), Lakoff (1993), Lakoff & Johnson (1980), and Rossi (1972), in particular, to construct a view of metaphor formation in dreams. By viewing dream content as representing broad domains of human experience rendered as specific metaphoric imagery during the dream encounter itself, this approach can discern where the dream ego stands in relationship to the developmental tasks associated with these emergent domains. Finally, I will introduce a generic approach to co-creative dreamwork that includes several operations that may facilitate effective dreamwork practice. The hypothesis presented in this paper is that this novel view of metaphoric imagery construction, based on the Co-Creative Paradigm, opens up new questions, and fosters insights heretofore unavailable from the standpoint of traditional content-oriented dream analysis.


Metaphor, Archetype, Conceptual metaphor, Co-creative dream theory, Dream analysis
How to Cite
Sparrow, G. S. (2020). The construction and analysis of dream metaphors from the standpoint of Co-Creative Dream Theory. International Journal of Dream Research, 13(1), 90–98.