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Ullman, M. (1984). Group Dream Work and Healing. Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:120-130.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:120-130

Group Dream Work and Healing

Montague Ullman, M.D.

THE CONNECTION OF DREAMS TO HEALING is part of a long tradition with beginnings in the ancient world and continuing to the present era when this linkage achieved some degree of scientific acceptance in the framework of psychoanalytic theory and practice. Freud, and later Jung, emphasized the therapeutic potential of dream work although they differed considerably in the way they accounted for the healing effect. Freud looked upon dreaming as induced by internal, primitive tensions and serving to release them safely through the intervention of the censor mechanism and the mechanism of disguise. In the psychoanalytic session the healing effect came about through the reconstruction of the latent content using the associations of the dreamer. The net effect was the acquisition of insight into how current behavior was influenced by buried intrapsychic conflicts.

Jung had a more unitary view of dreaming, and the dream, and therefore a simpler and more direct way of looking at the healing effect. Dreaming, to him, was a way we had of allowing ourselves to see that side of ourself that remained in the "shadow" during our waking hours. What the dream presented us with was complementary to the waking personality. It was a means, so to speak, of gaining a view of the dark side of the moon. Jung believed that the dream was a communication to the self and was intended as such. He discarded the notion of a transfigured latent content and in working with the manifest content sought its message through analogy to the life of the dreamer and through "amplification" to the life of the species as reflected in myth, fairy tales and folklore. Dream work literally made the dreamer more whole by bringing his light and dark sides together.

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