Marta Bachino

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2009


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Clinical Psychology


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Roger Brooke

Committee Member

Eva Simms

Committee Member

Ronald Jalbert


Cultural diversity, Dreams, Jung, Language, Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis


Although bilingualism is a common feature of clinical work with patients, the specific aspects of working with the dreams of the bilingual patient have not been much discussed. This qualitative study explored the discrepancies that arise in the linguistic expressions of the psychological complexes when dreams are worked simultaneously in the dreamer's native and second language. The aim was to learn more about the significance of including the bilingual patient's native tongue when working with dreams in a dreamer's second language. Key concepts on the study of language, dreams, psychological complexes, linguistics and psychoanalysis situated the research using various theoretical perspectives, such as Merleau-Ponty's and Ricoeur's understanding of language, Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, as well as Jungian and post-Jungian's analytical psychology. The focal point was the important role of words, phonetics, and grammar in the unconscious association process, particularly as it was revealed in the presence of complexes in dreams. This literature review served as a framework for an empirical investigation in which bilingual participants' dream texts written down in both languages (i.e., Spanish and English) were compared to find linguistic discrepancies between them. The data was collected after the administration of the Spanish version of Jung's Word Association Experiment to five participants to obtain a map of their psychological complexes. The participants wrote down three personal dream narratives in both their native and second languages, and they included their associations to each dream. The results demonstrated that the mother tongue describes better the dream ego's experience and brings in childhood and family of origin life, while revealing complexes more straightforwardly. However, for a person who has a life in two languages, both tongues would potentially carry the emotional tone of complexes in dreams. Clinically, these results suggest an analytic attitude that is sensitive to the intrinsic and lively link between words and complexes, and is alert to the sound of words in their polysemy and metaphorical dimensions in bilingual patients.