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Bergmann, M.S. (1966). The Intrapsychic and Communicative Aspects of the Dream—Their Role in Psycho-Analysis and Psychotherapy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:356-363.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:356-363

The Intrapsychic and Communicative Aspects of the Dream—Their Role in Psycho-Analysis and Psychotherapy

Martin S. Bergmann

Before the advent of Greek philosophy with its emphasis on logical analysis, the ancient Mediterranean world believed that dreams had an objective existence, independent of the dreamer. A significant step in the evolution of western thought took place when, around 500 B.C., Greek enlightenment recognized the dream as a psychic event rather than an external visitation. Greek philosophy, however, handed down to posterity two contrasting attitudes towards the dream: the first originated with Plato, the second with Aristotle. It remained for Freud to combine the two opposing positions into a unified theory.

We trace the beginnings of Greek thought to Hesiod and Homer. In Hesiod's Theogeny the origin of dreams is discussed:

And night bare hateful Doom; the black Fate and Death and Sleep she bare, and she bare the tribe of dreams; all these did dark Night bare, albeit mated unto none (Mair translation).

In the Odyssey a dream is described as 'immured within the silent bower of sleep' which contains two portals, 'the ivory one from which come dreams which mock the brain' and 'the portal of horn where images of truth for passage wait with visions manifest of future fate' (xix, 560, Pope translation). The Homeric distinction between a mocking dream and a dream of truth was maintained throughout antiquity (Dodd, 1951).

The Assyrians believed a dream was a daemonic power who ran through the night attacking the dreamer, in a manner reminiscent of Jones's (1931) description of the nightmare.

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