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Rappaport, E.A. (1959). The First Dream in an Erotized Transference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 40:240-245.

(1959). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 40:240-245

The First Dream in an Erotized Transference

Ernest A. Rappaport, M.D.

The particular importance of the first dream in analysis has been recognized by Stekel, who pointed out that 'the first dream already contains the important secret, around which the neurosis is crystallized, revealed in symbolic language. It is often impossible for us to understand this first dream, and only in the course of the analysis will it become clear to us what the analysand wanted to say with the first dream' (11p. 119). Stekel quoted Missriegler, who suggested that the entire life story of a patient, as a rule, is depicted in the first dream, if only we could understand it (11p. 342). Fortunately this might not always be so difficult, because at the initial stage of the analysis the patient is still unsophisticated and does not employ any skill in disguising and distorting his dream. French was able to evaluate the integrative capacity of the ego by studying the manifest content of the first series of dreams in an analysis (3). Recently Leon J. Saul emphasized that the manifest dream alone can be an accurate prognostic sign in the beginning phase of treatment (10p. 125).

Lionel Blitzsten has drawn attention to one specific prognostic factor which he learned from his own personal observation. 'If the analyst appears without disguise as himself already in the first dream, the prognosis is unfavourable, or this is going to be a very difficult analysis. This type of dream occurring so early in the analysis indicates that the patient in his unconscious is unable to differentiate between the analyst and a significant person of the past, or that the analyst in his appearance and behaviour really resembles such a person too closely.

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