Senior thesis teaches students to control their dreams
Every night, people go to bed and drift off to sleep. Physically, aside from the
occasional toss or turn, not much happens; it is in the mind where the real action takes
Whether they are fun, terrifying or just plain strange, dreams take place every night
during the rapid eye movement (REM) phases of the sleep cycle. Generally, one is at
the mercy of the subconscious, but there are ways to take control of this mental realm.
Senior Kelsey Stauffenberg is doing her thesis study on lucid dreaming and hopes to
teach people to become more aware of ways that they can manipulate lucid dreaming .
“Lucid dreaming is a dream in which a person is aware that they are dreaming within
the dream,” Stauffenberg said. They can consciously control their thoughts and actions.”
Entering one’s own mind with full control can lead to living out extraordinary
adventures, performing superhuman acts and experiencing the impossible as if it were
real. Still, this study is not being completed solely for the sake of fun.
Stauffenberg explains that lucid dreaming is a new way to manage stress.
“I believe lucid dreaming helps an individual to work out problems they are struggling
with in their life by working them out in their dreamscape,” Stauffenberg said.
Stauffenberg’s study features a two-week training program to instruct roughly 32
participants how to control their lucid dreaming.
The program features a four-step plan to achieve lucid dreaming.
The first part is the participant questioning what state of mind they are in throughout
the day. The participant will learn the question of “Am I awake or asleep right now?”
to make them aware of their state of consciousness. The second part of the training
involves fantasizing about what they would be doing if they were dreaming at the time.
Thirdly, the participant enforces the idea that they will be lucid dreaming by verbal
affirmation to themselves. The final step is to keep a dream journal every night.
With practice, Stauffenberg is convinced that lucid dreaming occurs more often than
without training. The results are expected to be positive in nature.
“At the end of the two weeks will read their dream journals that they recorded in
every morning and compare those to their depression ratings,” Stauffenberg said.
More lucid dreaming, in theory, should lead to less anxiety and depressed feelings
“If my hypothesis is correct than the more the participant had lucid dreams, the more
positive they will be,” Stauffenberg said.
Stauffenberg thinks that this could be a natural solution instead of a synthetic one.
“I believe that there should be an alternative to mind altering medications for the
treatment of depression and some more minor personality disorders,” Stauffenberg
An advocate of controlling dreams herself, Stauffenberg is excited to see the results
of her study. She believes that one’s own mind can be a powerful healing agent. “I am a
frequent dreamer and a big advocate of positive thinking,” Stauffenberg said.
Stauffenberg hopes to use her results to argue this point: “If my results are
conclusive and follow my hypothesis then I can argue that the teaching of lucid
dreaming could possibly be used as treatment for people.”