Nine Dreams of a Vietnam Vet, 1970 – 2002.

The series of dream reports from which these nine selections have been made are pretty terrifying. The anonymous vet frequently has nightmares in which he and his former comrades are attacked, and there is serious physical violence throughout. These are the most emotionally intense of the five subjects I’ve analyzed (so the central rings are the biggest). His most frequent/powerful emotions are, in order, malice (44), strong fear/Panic (43), grief/extreme Sorrow (36), anxiety/stress (32). These are followed by relief, doubt/confusion, and happiness. Note also that only two of these dreams have clearly positive encounters, and in the other direction, only two do NOT have explicitly negative encounters. Even in the most positive dream included here (the final one, describing a tender and successful romantic encounter) there is still a hint of the war: A sign nearby reads “Kit Karson Scouts” (such scouts being former Viet Cong retrained into the US army).

Click here to see the diagram legend.

If you are interested in reading the dreams to which these diagrams correspond, they can be accessed at “The Dreambank“, a dream report repository maintained by Adam Schneider & G. William Domhoff at the Department of Psychology, UC Santa Cruz. Select “Vietnam Vet: 1970-2008 War Dreams” then run a search for the corresponding dream number.