Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. William A. Carlson

Second Advisor

Dr. Edward Trembley

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas Van Valey


This study is a psychological examination of the earliest dreams and visions of Ellen G. Harmon (more commonly known by her married name Ellen G. White), a 19th century prophetess and founding leader of the Seventh-day Adventist church. The following two questions were addressed: (1) What effects did Mrs. White’s dreams and visions have upon her resolution of childhood emotional or developmental conflicts? and (2) In what way do Mrs. White’s early religious experiences clarify the role of religious experience in individual psychological and emotional development?

Two dreams and two visions were selected for analysis by two methods of dream interpretation: (1) psychoanalytic (psychodynamic), and (2) Jungian (archetypal). First a biographical overview was presented, followed by a psychological profile which was developed using autobiographical sources and secondary historical sources. Once presented, this background information was used to sketch the emotional and psychological context for each dream and vision.

The study shows that Ellen White’s dream and vision experiences were indeed important for her recovery from rather serious psychological distress. The dream and vision interpretations identify primary defense mechanisms as well as their effects upon her object relations development and overall movement toward individuation. Mrs. White’s early life provides a model of highly spiritualized experiences and the role they play in psychological development. The activation of several important archetypes in the dream and vision materials suggests that Jung’s concepts of the transcendent function of the Self are very much a part of the phenomenology of religion.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access