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Ehrenwald, J. (1978). Dreams are Your Truest Friends. Joseph Katz. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975. 160 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 65(4):657-658.

(1978). Psychoanalytic Review, 65(4):657-658

Dreams are Your Truest Friends. Joseph Katz. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975. 160 pp.

Review by:
Jan Ehrenwald

Long before Freud's discovery of dreams as the royal road to the unconscious, writing about them was occasionally a rewarding source of royalties. While Freud was distressed over the initially poor sales of his classic, Artemidorus of Daldis advised his heirs to hold back on the circulation of his Dream Book so as to secure a higher price for the limited number of available copies.

In our day, dreams still seem to be the stuff bestsellers are made of. Joseph Katz's Dreams Are Your Truest Friends clearly aspires to such a status. It is an appealing collection of dreams dreamt by children, adolescents, and grownups—men and women in all walks of life, including scientists, explorers, artists, warriors, heroes, and biblical personages. His approach is essentially Freudian with an admixture of Adlerian, Jungian, and Rankian analysis.

The book is specifically aimed at the general reader and extolls what amounts to “the power of positive dreaming.” Its language and ideological content are kept on a popular, if not simplistic level. Nevertheless, it stands up remarkably well to critical scrutiny. For example, a young woman in a “crisis of sexual closeness to her husband” dreams that there is a bird flying around in her apartment. It can't get out; it is trapped. She fears it will defecate on her. An interpretation is made that she is afraid of giving her sexual instincts full range, of being humiliated, of losing control of her body in sex.

In this section Katz notes that nowadays women's dreams are clearly changing. “There is less acting the role of the helpless, fearful victim destined to suffer endless humiliations with its inevitable build-up of anger.” Yet he reassures his readers that dreams are instruments of change, that the very act of remembering them “shows that we are ready and strong enough to face something important and to do something about it.”

Throughout the book the author is concerned more with driving home his message than with imparting insight through interpretation. His approach is explicitly educational and directive. Indeed, this purpose overshadows all other considerations.

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