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Miller, J.M. (2016). Discussion of R. Karush’s “Elucidating the Transference Using the Child’s Dream” and A. Schmukler’s “Aspects of Insight in Working with Children’s Dreams”. Psychoanal. Inq., 36(3):228-230.

(2016). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 36(3):228-230


Discussion of R. Karush’s “Elucidating the Transference Using the Child’s Dream” and A. Schmukler’s “Aspects of Insight in Working with Children’s Dreams”

Jill M. Miller, Ph.D.

Children and adolescents use a variety of methods to communicate to their analyst, be it verbally, nonverbally, or, as is often the case, in some combination (Sandler, Kennedy, and Tyson, 1980). Unlike adults, whose primary vehicle for communication is language, children turn to other means. They play, using their imaginations and fantasies, employing toys and whatever is available to them in the consulting room; for example, their shoes become cars or planes, a place to hide something they hope (or not) will be found, or in frustration and anger, something to throw. They draw, construct things out of a variety of materials, play games, and, bring their dreams.

It is difficult to talk about the role of dreams in child analysis, without including them in the context of all of the analysis. As Anna Freud (Hampstead Clinic, 1980) said:

Whenever we single out a psychoanalytic concept, and try to study it, we do so in detail, taking that concept alone. … Thus, isolating concepts for study has enormous advantages in learning more about them, but at the same time it falsifies the picture because concepts do not exist in isolation. [p. 193]

A dream is dreamt and then presented within an analytic process, a process that is dynamic and sequential, with an energy, pace, and rhythm where movement is observed and experienced. It is both regressive and progressive, as analyst and child advance toward the analytic aims, be they intermediary or outcome ones (Kennedy and Moran, 1991).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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