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Lipschitz, F. (1990). The Dream Within a Dream—Proflection Vs. Reflection. Contemp. Psychoanal., 26:716-731.

(1990). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 26:716-731

The Dream Within a Dream—Proflection Vs. Reflection

Fred Lipschitz, Ph.D.

A 34 YEAR OLD FEMALE PATIENT has the following dream;

In my parents house, dreaming about waves overtaking me. I found if I kicked my legs and yelled 'Lilly Down' it was easier. I also dreamed my mother introduced me to a friend of hers, but I couldn't see her because I didn't have my glasses and the light was in my eyes. When I woke up I went to the bedroom next door. I told my parents (or just my mother?) about my dream. My mother had a friend there. Her eyes were bloodshot. My mother was worried and seemed to be looking a doctor up in the phone book.

The unique dyadic structure of this type of dream compels the question; why does the dreamer go through the effort of creating an inner dream separate from the larger containing dream, and what is the function of this arrangement. Freud (1900/1973) saw the placing of a dream within a dream as aimed at denying the "reality" of the inner dream-within-a dream. He states:

The intention is once again to detract from the importance of what is 'dreamt' in the dreams to rob it of its reality. What is dreamt in a dream after waking from the 'dream within a dream' is what the dream-wish seeks to put in the place of the obliterated reality … To include something in a "dream within a dream" is thus equivalent to wishing that the thing described as a dream had never happened (p. 338).

Most writers in this area have affirmed Freud's view of the dream within a dream as designed to denigrate or undo the reality of what was dreamed. Wilder (1956) who wrote about dreams in


This article is dedicated to Dr. Edward S. Tauber who enlivened my interest in the world of dreams.

0010-7530/90 $2.00 + .05

Copyright © 1990 W. A. W. Institute

20 W. 74th Street, New York, NY 10023

All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.

Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 26, No. 4 (1990)

1 I wish to express my appreciation for permission to present this dream which was originally published in Contemporary Psychotherapy Review, 1983.

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