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Levin, F.M. (2015). What Neuropsychoanalysis Teaches Us about Dreaming. Ann. Psychoanal., 38:131-141.

(2015). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 38:131-141

What Neuropsychoanalysis Teaches Us about Dreaming

Fred M. Levin, M.D.


Not all psychoanalysts are pleased with the attempt to bridge neuroscience and psychoanalysis. Their discontent is understandable, since many psychoanalysts are not familiar with or interested in neuroscience, just as many neuroscientists are not familiar with or interested in psychoanalysis. Moreover, the advantages of such bridging are not obvious. In this paper I will try to point out some of the benefits of such bridging, with a particular focus on dreaming.

One clear benefit is the improvement in the relationship between neuroscience and psychoanalysis. Over the past few years, the relationship between psychoanalysts and neuroscientists has become stronger to such a degree that it is now relatively easy to gather interdisciplinary teams that are familiar with both mind and brain perspectives. Years ago, such teams did occur but were relatively rare; now they are commonplace. Moreover, this development is not only favorable for the experts involved, it is also beneficial for all patients who depend upon research progress in these two highly disciplined and related fields, and it is helpful at times for those students of psychoanalysis who wish to understand from an interdisciplinary perspective how things work during a clinical psychoanalysis.

In what follows I shall review some of the novel insights that have resulted from neuropsychoanalytic research and how these are influencing psychoanalysis, both its practice and its theory. To this end, we owe a debt to the two principal teams of researchers that I will be citing.

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