METHODSPhenomenological and alchemical hermeneutic methods will be used to work through discussion, handouts, and dream material during individual and group exercises.Phenomenology involves looking at dream symbols from many different perspectives to come to a fuller idea (rather than a "knee jerk" presumption) about what the symbols may be communicating. I act as a guide, rather than an analyst, which allows participants to discover fuller and deeper meaning for themselves.Alchemy involves the transformation of the symbols, themes, and emotional tone of dreams by sitting with these contents, letting them "be," and asking questions of them until information is revealed to the dreamer that has previously been hidden from her conscious awareness.This work is both hermeneutic (leading to deeper understanding) and heuristic (leading to new discoveries).PROJECT SYMBOLThe Sisters of Sakhu cover photo is the symbol of the wadjet (right eye). The wadjet represents the Eye of the ancient Egyptian god, Ra, and is symbolized by the sun. Its energy is feminine. It is this illuminated eye that can see into the dark unconscious dream material.GROUP SESSION PROTOCOL
3 minutes: Opening ritual (lead by participant)10 minutes: Introduction by Researcher/Project Facilitator35 minutes: Group discussion10 minutes: Break40 minutes: Work through dream material10 minutes: Conclusion by Researcher/Project Facilitator2 minutes: Closing ritual (lead by participant)10 minutes: Complete and hand in monthly evaluation forms120 minutes
The primary practical challenge I anticipate involves participants' consistent attendance at group sessions. I chose a time and day that I believe is most convenient to participants and most affordable to the project budget. However, there are always unforeseen circumstances that may affect participants' consistent attendance.A related challenge would be participants who choose to discontinue their participation, for any number of reasons.While I expect to register the project maximum of 30 women, there is always the risk that not all participants will complete the study.OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGESI will give participants a modest transportation payment at the end of each group meeting, for their attendance and participation efforts. Also, I will conduct this project as an experiential dream work study, which means I will be a participant in the work, as well as the leader/facilitator. My participation has the potential to make the other participants more comfortable because the process will be less hierarchical (authority/subjects) and more egalitarian (everyone shares and participates).
Because this project is qualitative, I will not measure "data" in the same way it would be measured in a quantitative project. I am interested in "qualia" (information about the quality of a particular experience).The project is phenomenological, alchemical, and heuristic so I welcome multiple outcomes (each participant having a different experience). I presume there will be similarities in some information, because of shared cultural experiences as Black women. However, I will bracket out/suspend this bias/presumption. Multiple outcomes or variances will not present a challenge to answering the research question: Does dream work affect Black women's mental well-being?MATERIAL TO BE ASSESSEDIn addition to dream material shared and discussed during weekly sessions, participants will also turn in a weekly evaluation form which I will assesses after each meeting to gauge the progress and process of the study. This voluntary information, and voluntary information from a concluding questionnaire distributed electronically immediately after the final (8th) week, will be assessed and included in my final report.
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