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Myers, W.A. (1989). Cognitive Style in Dreams: A Clue to Recovery of Historical Data. Psychoanal Q., 58:241-244.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:241-244

Cognitive Style in Dreams: A Clue to Recovery of Historical Data

Wayne A. Myers, M.D.

In this brief communication, I will describe how a patient's previously unrecognized childhood cognitive difficulties became manifest in a pair of dreams during the course of his adult analysis. This material dovetails with Kafka's (1984) findings in a case in which a patient's previously undiagnosed childhood cognitive problems also surfaced during adult analysis. In that instance, right-left spatial reversals and accompanying feelings of humiliation and lowered self-esteem in the adult treatment allowed the analyst to reconstruct the childhood problem. Kafka raised the question of how persistent traces of childhood cognitive difficulties may be detected in adult analyses. This paper is, in part, a response to that query.

Mr. A was a thirty-year-old graphic designer who came for analysis because of difficulties in effecting a long-lasting relationship with a woman. Much of the first two years of the treatment centered on his attempts to deal with his overly close, but highly ambivalent ties to his mother and his intense feelings of competition with his successful and very verbal father.

One of the prominent problems in Mr. A's life was his feeling of self-consciousness in social situations. He always perceived himself as being shy, introverted, and unable to be expansive verbally. He frequently envied other men (particularly his father) who demonstrated the type of verbal skill he coveted. After evenings in which he felt that he had not "measured up" verbally in a social gathering, he felt intensely humiliated.

In the transference, he experienced this same affect (humiliation) vis-à-vis the analyst whenever he was offered an interpretation that he felt was particularly felicitously worded.

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