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Grunes, D.T. (2015). A Sample Dream. Ann. Psychoanal., 38:168-175.

(2015). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 38:168-175

V: Commentaries on a Sample Dream

A Sample Dream

Dorothy Therese Grunes, M.D.

The purpose of this essay is to provide a dream of a patient in psychoanalysis so that commentators may use this dream to explain their approach to understanding and working with dreams. I will provide background information on the patient, an account of the two sessions leading up to the session in which he reported the dream, verbatim process notes for that session, and a brief summary of the subsequent session

Background InformatiOn on the Patient

The patient whom I am calling Daniel requested a referral from his internist and then began psychotherapy with me. My initial impression was that he appeared younger than his twenty-eight years. His skin, his hair, his eyes, his pale eyelashes, his clothes all seemed colorless; his freckles were sun-bleached, as if they, too, wished to deflect attention from themselves. Later, during the course of his analysis with me, when he stood up from the couch, I would expect him to leave not even an imprint behind. His bloodshot eyes brought to mind a child who had been allowed to stay up too late. In one of my first sessions with him, the quotation “Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands” came to mind. I imagined that even raindrops would miss him.

His chief complaint was the fear that he would turn into the character from the film About Schmidt. Daniel explained in his polite manner what that character is like: “A man in a business suit”; a man who had reached retirement without achieving “anything” or “any relationship.” Daniel could not elaborate. After receiving his M.B.A., he worked for his father, during which he suffered a depressive episode that required his leaving his job and prompted him to ask for a referral for psychotherapy.

He had always done well in school, although he had felt overlooked and unrecognized by his teachers. He had married his first girlfriend, a woman who had pursued him during college. Despite his academic and professional success, he felt he was a burden to his parents and to his wife.

He is the youngest in a sibship of five. His older siblings had been competitive swimmers, and he had begun training at the age of three.

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