Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Nancy S. Thurston, Psy.D.

Second Advisor

Kristie Knows His Gun, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Mark Winborn, Ph.D.


C.G. Jung emphasized the importance of dreams, developed a method for dream analysis, and created the categorization of “big” and “small” dreams. “Big” dreams, a classification only clear to the dreamer, include spiritual and pivotal dreams, experiences that often influence the direction of the dreamer’s life. While C.G. Jung, Freud, and others may have bridged the modern gap, Native American (NA) cultures have long placed important emphasis and value on dreams and visions. NA traditions and ceremonies concerning dream interpretation vary distinctly from Jung’s ideas but similarly regard dreams as meaningful and worthy of effortful interpretation. “Big” dreams and visions were investigated in this study within an adult NA sample. Participants were recruited via a convenience sample, with the following tribes being represented: Sioux, Southern Cheyenne, Ojibwe, and The Confederated Tribes of Siletz which includes more than 27 tribes and bands. One dream or vision account was collected from each participant (n=8) and the participant’s accounts and responses to questions were analyzed from an ontological perspective. Dream/vision accounts were not interpreted, but instead, the participant’s experience of the dream/vision was inquired about and discussed. The present research was informed by consensual qualitative research and a method called encircling. Careful attention was paid to the validity of this research in an important effort to hear and honor the stories which were shared. The discussion of themes that arose from the interviews included the most recurring themes pulled from participant responses, which were: ancestors, the collective value of dreams, and comfort.

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Psychology Commons