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Palombo, S.R. (1989). The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work: Edited by Arnold Rothstein, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1987. 229 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:452-456.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:452-456

The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work: Edited by Arnold Rothstein, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1987. 229 pp.

Review by:
Stanley R. Palombo

An interpreted dream often marks a dramatic turning point in the progress of an analysis. Yet too much attention to dreams on the part of either patient or analyst will soon become an obstacle to analytic work. How does the analyst know when enough is too much?

This book, the third in the Workshop Series of the American Psychoanalytic Association (ably edited by Arnold Rothstein), addresses this issue and others related to it. The difficulty in finding a proper balance between the traditional view and more varied modern approaches is reflected in the title of the book. The unexpected linking of the definite article and the plural noun gives a hint of the deeper tensions this volume tries to resolve.

The workshop was held in both New York and San Francisco in November 1985 and March 1986 The book includes a historical review by Leo Rangell and ten valuable papers by eight of the participants in the workshop. Rothstein provides the introduction and conclusion. There are formal discussions of the papers by Edward Weinshel and Robert Gillman. Excerpts from the informal discussion are included in an appendix.

The papers are too varied and too rich in clinical insight to be reviewed here individually. I take the risk of doing the authors an injustice by concentrating on the larger issues raised by the papers as a group. My hope is that this approach will be in the collegial spirit of the workshop as a whole.

Rangell's fine introduction presents Freud's theory as it was developed in The Interpretation of Dreams and later. Among a list of problems left unresolved by Freud's work, Rangell mentions one which I believe sets the tone for much of the discussion that follows.

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