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Ellman, S. (2005). Mark J. Blechner, The Dream Frontier. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 2001. ISBN: 0881632244, 336 pp., $49.95.. Neuropsychoanalysis, 7(2):219-221.

(2005). Neuropsychoanalysis, 7(2):219-221

Mark J. Blechner, The Dream Frontier. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 2001. ISBN: 0881632244, 336 pp., $49.95.

Review by:
Steven Ellman

Edited by:
Bonnie Smolen and Douglas Watt

Mark J. Blechner has put forth an interesting perspective on dream life in his new volume The Dream Frontier. Blechner attempts not only a view of dreams and dreaming, but on occasion moves into contemporary neuroscience, exploring theories of consciousness, processes of decision making, and the underlying mechanisms of certain neurological conditions. The main focus of his work, however, is a running commentary on Freud's dream theory, alongside his own views of how the dream appears in the clinical situation. He relates not only how an analyst might receive, interpret, and perhaps even create a patient's dream, but also how the dream may be presented in the supervisory process. Given all that he attempts, his book must in some ways fall short, since no one author can cover all this material in a single 300-page book. To be more specific, in reading Blechner's book I would say that in each of his 22 chapters I found something that I strongly disagreed with, but I also found each of his chapters interesting and stimulating. I was appreciative of the amount of work that has gone into the excellent integration of material from areas that do not obviously fit together. In my initial attempt at this review, I did not clearly state Blechner's theoretical orientation. Rather—as is true of Blechner himself (at least in this volume)—I implied that his position, while usually respectful of Freud, attempts to show how an approach that veers towards the manifest content of the dream can both be helpful to the analytic clinician and explain phenomena garnered from laboratory studies.

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