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Dunn, P.B. (2016). Commentary on Levy and Finnegan. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 64(1):47-54.

(2016). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 64(1):47-54

Commentary on Levy and Finnegan Related Papers

Peter B. Dunn

This case report is organized around a series of vivid, emotionally evocative dreams. Read sequentially in chronological order, the dreams amount to Anne's narrative of the treatment, a parallel case report written by the patient in the language of the dream.

A significant obstacle to comparative psychoanalysis is that the information of most importance to analysts of one school is often missing in the clinical material from another. Ego psychologists approach the understanding of a dream by tracking the patient's associations and by identifying the day residue. Anne's dreams are presented with relatively little of the information that ego psychologists rely on, but the authors give detailed descriptions of the enacted transference-countertransference and describe the interactions between patient and analyst as they worked on each dream. This information is of most use in understanding dreams in which the patient's wish to communicate something to the analyst about the analysis is a dynamically important element of the latent content. In what follows I will focus on five of Anne's dreams that are of this type. Such dreams often transparently represent the patient's experience of the self in the analysis and relational scenarios that are perceptions of self-with-the-analyst; clearly the patient intends for the analyst to grasp the dream's meaning.


Anne is the daughter of parents who were overwhelmed with the demands of caring for her violent, mentally ill older brother. She describes her parents as having little energy to parent her and as valuing her mainly for helping them with the brother.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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