Volume 8 Issue 2 (2012): New Approaches to Psychodynamic Research
Main Articles

Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Reported Dreams and the Problem of Double Hermeneutics in Clinical Research

Siamak Movahedi
University of Massachusetts Boston
Published December 16, 2012
  • epistemology,
  • double hermeneutics,
  • methodological debate,
  • statistical analysis,
  • statistical relationship,
  • interpretation,
  • hermeneutics,
  • psychoanalytic research,
  • knowledge claim,
  • dream narrative,
  • linguistic structure,
  • discursive performance
  • ...More


The aim of this article is to show that statistical analysis and hermeneutics are not mutually exclusive. Although statistical analysis may capture some patterns and regularities, statistical methods may themselves generate different types of interpretation and, in turn, give rise to even more interpretations. The discussion is lodged within the context of a quantitative analysis of dream content. I attempted to examine the dialogical texts of reported dreams monologically, but soon found myself returning to dialogic contexts to make sense of statistical patterns. One could cogently argue that the reported statistical relationships in this study, rather than pointing to any interaction among the "signifieds," speak only to the relationships among the "signifiers" that were being played out through various actors on the analytic or scientific stage, since all of the constructs used in theorizing about, interpreting, and telling dreams come from the same discursive system.