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De Monchaux, C. (1978). Dreaming and the Organizing Function of the Ego. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 59:443-453.

(1978). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59:443-453

Dreaming and the Organizing Function of the Ego

Cecily De Monchaux

In this paper I am going to be concerned with the role of dreaming, not for the sleeper, but for the wide-awake person who reports the dream to the analyst. If I confine the setting to that of the analytic treatment, it is because, as Freud (1923p. 117) put it, 'the employment of dreams in analysis is something very remote from their original purpose'. These limitations do not by any means rule out considerations of dream content—indeed, one of my aims in this paper is the clarification of some relations between the form and content of dreams. But I am choosing to tackle the problem here not from the point of view of the relation between content and form within the dream, as Erikson (1954), for instance, has done so imaginatively; rather, I want to examine the relation between dreaming and other modes of action in analysis.

In the development of psychoanalysis subsequent to the publication of the 'Interpretation of Dreams' (Freud, 1900), dream theory provided generously for all areas of the growing discipline. Paradigmatically, the neurotic symptom was conceived as a long-term waking dream, its latent content sustained in disguise by defence mechanisms; the concept of topographical regression in the developmental model of the dream was generalized to be applied in the concept of the life history of the dreamer; and most significant of all, the transference phenomenon was understood in dream terms as the expression of an ever-present if latent set of wishes both freed and stimulated by certain features of the analytic situation, as the dream thoughts were both freed and stimulated by the sleep state.

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