Thesis Title

Dreams, Art and Well-Being: A Positive Psychology Approach to Bringing Awareness to Dreams

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

Jennifer Harrison, PsyD, DAAETS, ATR-BC


This mixed model research explores how expressing one’s dreams through the art and journaling process will allow for unique insights, or even a more in-depth understanding of one’s self and life circumstances. Seventeen participants were recruited from a small University in the San Francisco Bay Area to participate in a group to assess if individuals who pay greater attention to their dreams through journaling and art will demonstrate an increase in perceptiveness regarding the potential significance of their dreams in their daily lives. Pre- and post-tests were administered to understand if any changes occurred in the participants due to the act of paying greater attention to one’s dreams. For each individual dream they experienced, participants created one piece of artwork paired with a written description. The results from this quantitative and qualitative measures indicate that the process of integrating the creative act of dreaming with participant’s daily lives through the attentiveness, art making and journaling in certain participants did lead to changed views about the significance of dreaming as well as insights about the participants’ life situations. The study reinforces the usefulness of creating art and journaling around dreams both as a therapeutic technique and more broadly, as a potentially life-enhancing practice for individuals in their personal growth.