International Journal of Transpersonal Studies


This study investigated the significance of first and second languages in the bilingual dreams of immigrant participants. A purposive sample of nine women and six men aged 20 to 71 whose first languages were Spanish, Thai, Italian, Tagalog, and French, and later acquired English, participated in semi-structured, open-ended interviews recalling a dream featuring both languages. Transcripts were thematically analyzed individually and across cases. The most important theme was the ambicultural self in the dream, referring to a culturally flexible dream figure able to speak the dreamer’s first and second languages to bridge between the protagonist’s two cultures to accomplish the dream task of somehow resolving cultural conflicts. The ambicultural self and dream tasks reflected challenges identified in Berry’s acculturation model. Therapists can use bilingual dreams to help clients explore cultural identity conflicts and become more cross-culturally competent.