Track: Transpersonal Psychology, Psychotherapy and Clinical Studies
Contribution of lucid dream research to transpersonal psychology
Lucid dream research is a small but steadily growing field of study. Initially, an area of interest to parapsychologists, it gained the credibility in the mainstream (the occurrence of a lucid dream can be demonstrated in a sleep laboratory by the volitional ocular signaling during REM sleep; LaBerge et al., 1981) and an increasing interest in the public. Recently, lucid dream research has been featured in highly rated journals, such as Nature Neuroscience (Voss et al., 2014). While largely overlooked by transpersonal scholars (evidenced, for example, by a single article on lucid dreaming in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology since its inception in 1969), lucid dream research can bring important contribution to transpersonal psychology. Lucid dreaming is a transpersonal experience in itself, which can be cultivated and used as a gateway to further transpersonal and mystical experiences. Transpersonal psychotherapy can benefit from using lucid dreaming as tool for inner work and self-healing. It can also be used as a spiritual practice and studying traditions, such as Tibetan dream yoga, could provide methods and conceptual frameworks for such path. Finally, lucid dream research allows to tackle bigger questions (for example, about the nature of consciousness, reality) and it exemplifies the notion of State-Specific Sciences as proposed by Charles Tart (1972). On the other hand, lucid dream research could also greatly benefit from the breadth and depth of transpersonal approaches and frameworks. Transpersonal studies of lucid dreams could be a fertile endeavor in exploring the farther reaches of our dream nature.
LaBerge, S. P. et al. (1981). Perceptual and Motor Skills, 52, 727–732.
Tart, C. T. (1972). Science, 176, 1203–1210.
Voss, U. et al. (2014). Nature Neuroscience, 17, 810–812.
Tadas Stumbrys, Ph.D., is a psychologist, educator and lucid dream researcher. He is a lecturer at Vilnius University (Lithuania) and a core faculty member at the Alef Trust, a UK-based nonprofit organization pioneering transformative postgraduate education via distance learning. Tadas holds an M.Sc. in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology from Liverpool John Moores University (UK) and a Ph.D. in Sports Science from Heidelberg University (Germany). His doctoral dissertation was focused on applications of lucid dreams in sports and methods of lucid dream induction. Tadas contributed nearly 20 articles to the field of lucid dream research. His work on lucid dreams has been published in such journals as Consciousness and Cognition, American Journal of Psychology, Frontiers in Psychology, Journal of Sports Sciences, Dreaming and others. He also serves on the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Dream Research.