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Brenneis, C.B. (1975). Theoretical Notes on the Manifest Dream. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 56:197-206.

(1975). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 56:197-206

Theoretical Notes on the Manifest Dream

C. Brooks Brenneis


It has been argued that from the manifest dream content in isolation, the source of content cannot definitively be identified. Apparently instinctual content may be employed defensively and because of this, the assignment of a specific instinctual-orientated or defence-orientated significance to manifest dream content in isolation cannot be justifiably made. What one is left with by which to assign significance (or more pragmatically, by which to interpret one's data) are recurrent and preferential ego modalities for shaping and organizing dream imagery prompted by instinctual and defensive demands and external reality considerations. The manifest dream, among all reported psychic experiences, is perhaps least formed by immediate external stimulation and therefore portrays those recurrent ego modalities most internally determined and most preferred by the dreamer. That one is 'left with this, ' however, may convey the erroneous impression that from a gourmet menu, one may only sample the dieter's luncheon. As Erikson (1954) suggests, the manifest dream's 'style of representation … is by no means a mere shell to the kernel, the latent dream.' It is a rich source of personally significant data in itself, along the theoretical and methodological lines I have described.

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