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Blum, H.P. (2011). Exploring Core Concepts: Sexuality, Dreams and the Unconscious. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 92(2):275-277.

(2011). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 92(2):275-277

Exploring Core Concepts: Sexuality, Dreams and the Unconscious Related Papers

Response by
Harold P. Blum

2 To what extent do you privilege dream interpretation in relation to other forms of mental representations?

Although there is no longer any ‘royal road’ to psychoanalytic interpretation, dreams have a valued if not necessarily privileged position in diverse 21st century psychoanalytic thought and practice. I am very pleased to reconsider dreams since the 1975 IPA Congress, London (Blum, 1976).

Theories of the functions of dreams have been controversial; it may be useful to differentiate general functions from applications in clinical work. In terms of their general function, dreams usually represent hallucinatory fulfillment of an unconscious infantile wish (Freud, 1900). In my opinion, dreams do not have a validated protective function as a safety valve or as the guardian of sleep. Dreams could only protect dreaming sleep, approximately 25 per cent of adult sleep.

Dreams have a communicative function (Bergmann, 1966; Ferenczi, 1913; Kanzer, 1955) both in general and in clinical contexts. The dream can be regarded as a private communication, perhaps ambivalently forgotten. In analysis there is a specific motivation to tell the dream to the analyst since the analysand knows that dreams are valued by the analyst as a source of analytic insight. The communicative function of the dream in psychoanalysis is influenced by the particular analyst's attitude toward and interest in dreams, an interpersonal dimension of the analytic process. As a regressive revival, reporting a dream is analogous to a child's telling a dream to a parent.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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