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Loewenstein, R.M. (1949). A Posttraumatic Dream. Psychoanal Q., 18:449-454.

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(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:449-454

A Posttraumatic Dream

Rudolph M. Loewenstein, M.D.


3 Unlike the repetitive posttraumatic dreams described by Marie Bonaparte (1).

- 449 -

A patient, analyzed many years previously, returned for a short period of treatment.

Some time before, he had made a canoe trip with his wife and two other couples. In three canoes they paddled down a river which had many rapids in its course, and which had become swollen from twenty-four hours of torrential rain. In a deep, narrow gorge, the patient's canoe capsized. He and his wife clung to their canoe and were able to attract the attention of their friends who came to rescue them. The wife succeeded in grasping one of the other canoes; the man, however, lost his grip on his own canoe and was carried away by the current. When he struggled to the surface he was far away from the others. He saw that his wife was being rescued. Fortunately, his capsized canoe just then floated by. He obtained hold of it and was swept down several miles by the violent current. Soon he heard the thunder of rapids which he was approaching. He took the precaution of disengaging his body from a rope in which he had become entangled. He was careful meanwhile not to lose his grip on the canoe, knowing that a man cannot by his own exertions keep afloat on the surface of foaming water. From then he recalled only that for what seemed to him an infinitely long time he was under water,

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