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Purcell, S.D. (1998). Posttraumatic Nightmares. Psychodynamic Explorations. By Melvin R. Lansky, with Carol R. Bley. Hillsdale, NJ/London: The Analytic Press, 1995. 194 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 67(2):328-329.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(2):328-329

Posttraumatic Nightmares. Psychodynamic Explorations. By Melvin R. Lansky, with Carol R. Bley. Hillsdale, NJ/London: The Analytic Press, 1995. 194 pp.

Review by:
Stephen D. Purcell

This volume is based on the author's seven-year study of psychiatric inpatients at a V. A. Medical Center, and I therefore began reading it with low expectations for its relevance to my clinical work. On completing it, however, I believe the book does make a significant contribution to the clinical theory that informs my daily practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Using data from his research, Lansky makes a convincing case that many posttraumatic nightmares are not—as is often implied—a special type of dream, but are “true” dreams in the psychoanalytic sense—i.e., dreams which have an important latent content and a screening function related to the state of the dreamer's impaired and traumatized psyche.

The

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