The Hall/Van de Castle System of Content Analysis
The first task for a dream content coding system, as for any content analysis, is the formulation of a set of categories encompassing the relevant aspects of dream reports in a reliable and useful way. In an abstract sense, the categories in a system of classification can be either theoretical or empirical. A theoretical category is one derived from a theory of personality and applied to a dream report. For example, a category derived from Jung’s theory of archetypes or Freud’s theory of the castration complex is a theoretical category. An empirical category, on the other hand, is one developed in a trial-and-error fashion from a reading of numerous dream reports with no theoretical intentions in mind. “Friends,” “aggressive interactions,” “physical activities,” “misfortunes,” and “successes” are examples of empirical categories in the Hall/Van de Castle system.
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