This is a report of a round table discussion organized by the Societé Psychanalytique de Paris. The participants were Drs. M. Schlumberger, M. Benassy, S. Lebovici, F. Pasche, M. Fain, R. Diatkine, R. Held, S. Nacht, M. Bouvet, and P. Luquet.
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Freud stated in 1913 that 'psychoanalysis is founded upon the analysis of dreams'. One is struck to read today the very divergent attitudes of experienced analysts on the use of dreams. There are indeed few who consider dreams the 'royal road' to the unconscious, and more surprisingly there are those who consider it a very bad detour.
The middle-road approach may be summarized by quoting Dr. Benassy: 'If the therapeutic action is oriented in the direction of analysis of repression, the dream is of great value. However, if one works in the modern technical sense, and if one respects the principle of analyzing the defense—that is to say, the ego—before the tendency, then dreams have neither more nor less importance than the other aspects of comportment.'
The more extreme view is that Freud discovered psychoanalysis through his autoanalysis and therefore his own dreams were of particular importance for understanding his unconscious; that dreams are nothing but dreams and have not the value of live experience. Dr. Nacht states that 'in 1913 Freud could then say that psychoanalysis is founded on the analysis of dreams, but we would prefer to say today that psychoanalysis was formerly founded on the analysis of dreams'.
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(1960). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXIII, 1959. Psychoanal. Q., 29:445-446