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Weinstein, L. Ellman, S.J. (2015). REM Sleep, Dreaming, and the Role of Endogenous Stimulation. Ann. Psychoanal., 38:156-167.

(2015). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 38:156-167

REM Sleep, Dreaming, and the Role of Endogenous Stimulation

Lissa Weinstein, Ph.D. and Steven J. Ellman, Ph.D.


Anna Freud (1958), in her discussion of Bowlby's work, noted that she and Bowlby both agreed on the presence of an inborn readiness in the child to attach to the person who provides care. Where they differed was on the role of the pleasure/unpleasure principle, which she felt was a superordinate explanatory principle that governed all mental life. She raised the question, taken up in a more rigid way by later theorists of both the classical and relational persuasions, of whether the child's tie to his mother would develop in the absence of gratification of basic bodily needs so that repetition and the development of schemas would be left as the central organizer of their relationship. Put another way, the debate hinges on whether it is the nature of the mother's ministrations or the pleasure accompanying the reduction of bodily need states that primarily accounts for the development of the dyadic tie, a tie both Anna Freud and Bowlby agreed to be critical in the further patterning and regularization of the child's biological states and later psychological development. Fifty years later, the divide between these two positions has continued to grow, leading Gill (1995) to tersely articulate the terms of the “unbridgeable gulf” between the relational and classical schools of psychoanalysis. In his formulation, classical analysts privilege innate over experiential factors as explanations of current behavior, see the present as being determined by, or as a repetition of, the past, and consider insight to be the central mutative agent. In contrast, relational analysts place the experiential in a hierarchically superior position to the innate, see the present as potentially independent of the past, and, as a correlate of that position, believe that new interpersonal experiences were mutative and possibly more essential to lasting change than insight as new ways of being are internalized in the analytic situation.

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