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Stein, M.H. (1995). Response to Marianne Goldberger, M.D.. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 4:23-24.

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(1995). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 4(1):23-24

Response to Marianne Goldberger, M.D. Related Papers

Martin H. Stein, M.D.

This is a favorite subject of mine and I am delighted that Dr. Goldberger has elected to present such a fine paper about it. It is a tribute to her skill and tact as an analyst that a patient could reveal so much and in such useful detail. We don't always remember the difficulty involved in getting patients to talk about their daydreams, as opposed to night dreams. In the case of night dreams, the dreamer can pretend that it was another person, the dreamer, the sleeper, who produced these embarrassing, hostile, or erotic thoughts. Daydreams are much more difficult to disavow. Often they appear only very late in the analysis, or now and then very early, before they can be dealt with and fitted into context.

Dr. Goldberger tends to use the terms daydream and fantasy, interchangeably. This is correct, so far as the dictionary definition goes, but I prefer to see them as meaning not quite the same thing. Daydreams have a special place on a continuum that extends from abstract thoughts at one end to nightmares on the other. I see the continuum as involving different states of consciousness which are closer or more distant from waking alertness. The different states and their attributes might be described as follows:

Thoughts: “I thought you looked ill.” (No visual imagery)

Fantasies: “I imagined you were ill and went to the hospital. (No visual imagery)

Daydreams: “I saw you in an ambulance and then in the hospital in the operating room.” (Visual imagery)

Hypnogogic Phenomena: “As I was falling asleep, I heard the voices of surgeons and nurses.” (Auditory sensations and visual imagery)

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