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Myers, W.A. (1977). The Significance of the Colors Black and White in the Dreams of Black and White Patients. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 25:163-181.

(1977). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 25:163-181

The Significance of the Colors Black and White in the Dreams of Black and White Patients

Wayne A. Myers, M.D.

SUMMARY

Dreams from three black patients and dreams from three white patients in analysis and in psychotherapy were analyzed with respect to spontaneous references to the colors black and white.

With the black patients I have worked with in interracial analysis, problems in self-object differentiation and in the development of the sense of identity, as well as intrapsychic conflicts, have come to be unconsciously organized in accord with meanings ascribed to the contrasting colors black and white. Identifications with parental conflicts structured along such color lines, when reinforced by reality experiences, tend to foster the development of ambivalent splitting of self- and object representations of the degraded and idealized varieties, in line with values attached to the colors black and white. This

ambivalent splitting is reactivated in the transference in interracial analysis and often serves as an intense resistance, most often clearly manifest in dreams and fantasies where the colors black and white appear. The colors black and white show changing connotations during the course of the analysis.

Emphasis is paid to the depiction, via the colors black and white, of contrasting moods, such as depression-elation and rage-calmness. In addition, the use of these colors as defensive camouflage is noted. Similar relevance to these colors is observable in the white-patient control group.

The colored dream screen inferred in black patients also may be seen in white patients, as wishful object representations of the good mother-breast may be associated with mother surrogates of either color.

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