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Bezahler, H.B. (1973). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Psychoanal Q., 42:171.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:171

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York

Harvey B. Bezahler

DISCUSSION: Dr. Leonard Shengold pointed to the paper's valuable exposition of the meaning of shadows in art but disagreed with the psychoanalytic implications of the paper. He felt that the author extended the concept of symbol use beyond that of early psychic activity to a level where metaphor is possible, a representation that can be either conscious or unconscious. In considering shadows in dreams, Dr. Shengold felt that they may frequently appear as part of the 'taken for granted hallucinated dream reality' and are mostly unnoticed unless they have special significance. He noted, however, that he had no instances of shadows in dreams to report and used an 'inferred' shadow from one of Freud's dreams—the one about Rome. Dr. Shengold said that shadows offer multiple possibilities for symbol representation and have the ability to hide latent meaning, as would any other dream element. Therefore he could see no theoretical reason for their sparseness in clinical reports.

While agreeing with Dr. Sarnoff's observation of the infrequent appearance of shadows in dreams, Dr. Renato Almansi differed with his conclusion that the shadow symbol represents an aggressive, threatening feeling. He felt that many other elements in the dream left too many questions to establish such an exclusive relationship. Dr. Jan Frank noted that all dreams are shadowy and that in schizophrenia shadows often are persecutory in meaning. Dr. Bernard Fine spoke of the frightening associations to shadows and felt that a good deal might be learned about this in the study of children's games where shadows are used to represent danger.

In response Dr. Sarnoff said that he specifically referred to cast images as shadows; suppositions without using this basis would not be pertinent to his thesis.

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