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Goetzmann, L. Benden, C. Ruettner, B. Wutzler, U. Boehler, A. Wittmann, L. (2019). The experience of transplantation as reflected in dream life: A case study illustrating the mental processing of a lung transplant. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 100(3):517-539.
   

(2019). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 100(3):517-539

Research

The experience of transplantation as reflected in dream life: A case study illustrating the mental processing of a lung transplant

Lutz Goetzmann, Christian Benden, Barbara Ruettner, Uwe Wutzler, Annette Boehler and Lutz Wittmann

Although it is well known that a lung transplant enhances the recipients quality of life, our knowledge of how it is processed mentally is limited. In this study, interviews were conducted with a lung-transplant patient two weeks, three months, and six months after surgery so as to investigate the relevant unconscious processing mechanisms. A dream reported in the first interview was analysed in accordance withapplying the Zurich Dream Process Coding System. A transplantation complex was reconstructed on the basis of various sources of information (the dream and the waking narratives). The principal aspects of the transplantation complex that emerged from both the dream and the waking narratives concerned the oral-sadistic phantasy that the donor had been killed and that his lung, or soul, had been violently incorporated in the patient. The main unconscious themes involved in the processing of the transplant were found to have been already laid down in the dream and to have been presented in it in the form of visual analogues. According to our interpretation of the data analysed, powerful cannibalistic phantasies and death wishes played an important part in the processing of the transplant. These archaic phantasies may have been actualized by the transplant.

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