Insight from dream and event discussions using the Schredl method of dreamwork in experienced and inexperienced dreamworkers
Practitioners of dreamwork have long understood that exploring dreams has the potential to be a source of insight, but empirical research evidencing this has generally been lacking, especially in non-clinical settings. Additionally, many of the factors that influence dreamwork efficacy remain to be discovered. The present study aimed to provide evidence for the insight-generating potential of dreamwork, and to investigate a potential factor that may influence how effective a dreamwork session is: the level of experience of the dreamer. Participants (29 (15 experienced and 14 inexperienced in dreamwork)) took part in two discussions: a dream discussion and a waking-life event discussion, using the Schredl “Listening to the Dreamer” method of dreamwork and an adapted version of this for discussing waking-life events. Results indicated that dreamwork led to significantly higher levels of Exploration-Insight and Continuity Insight in comparison to a waking-life event discussion. Levels of Personal Insight did not differ between the two conditions, but did not significantly differ from previous experiments’ Personal Insight levels following dream discussion. Experienced and inexperienced participants’ levels of insight were not significantly different. High variability in insight scores indicated that there were large differences between participants in terms of how effective the discussions were for generating insight, but this difference could not be accounted for by experience levels. Insights about changing one’s life correlated with metaphor perception within the dream. These results illustrate the insight-generating potential of dreamwork for some individuals, irrespective of the dreamer’s level of experience, and perhaps suggest that insight for change may come about following perception of metaphors for waking life in the dream.