"Art of Dreaming" A Humanistic-Experiential Approach for Integrating Art Therapy into a Dream Group

Graduation Date

Fall 2013

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


John Lemmon, PhD

First Reader

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Carol Johnson, MA, LMFT, ATR


This paper presents a humanistic-experiential theoretical and methodological framework for integrating art therapy in a dream group. It weaves together for the first time principles of Montague Ullman’s (2006) experiential dream group approach and the Title, Theme, Affect, Question (TTAQ) dream technique established by Savary, Berne and Williams (1984) in an art therapy dream group. The exploratory research provides both preliminary qualitative and quantitative data with regard to various therapeutic outcomes when integrating dream work and art therapy in a pre-experimental pre-test/post-test design. Four participants from the San Francisco Bay Area participated in this six-week art therapy dream group. This study reports an increase in self actualization scores as measured by the Jones & Crandall (1986) Short Index of Self-Actualization (SIS A), for three out of the four participants. This study also reports an increase in existential-well being scores, as measured by the Ellison & Paoutzian (2009) Existential Well-Being Subscale (EWBS) from the Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWBS), for three out of the four participants. Additional outcomes investigated were sleep quality, dream recall, and the use of dreams. This combination of dreams and art therapy is a promising approach to promote self-actualization and existential well-being in adults.

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