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Podhoretz, H. (1986). Freud's Rules of Dream Interpretation. Alex Grinstein. New York: International Universities Press, 1983, xiv + 306 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 73A(1):128-130.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Review, 73A(1):128-130

Freud's Rules of Dream Interpretation. Alex Grinstein. New York: International Universities Press, 1983, xiv + 306 pp.

Review by:
Harriktte Podhoretz

Grinstein's book provides an excellent updated guide for the journeyman psychoanalyst's approach to dream interpretation. It also happens to be a refreshing review of Freud's magnum opus, Interpretation of Dreams (1900) and its application to current psychoanalytic practice.

Grinstein reiterates Freud's way of viewing the dream; Freud notes that “Dreams can select their material from any part of the dreamer's life, provided only that there is a train of thought linking the experience of the dream-day (the recent impressions) with the earlier ones—every dream is linked in its manifest content with recent experiences and in its latent content with the most ancient experiences” (p. 218).

Assuming this theoretical stance, and including the important caveat that “only the patient's associations, however, can substantiate the meaning of a symbol used in a dream” (p. 99), Grinstein leads us through symbols and. other means of representation in dreams.

Grinstein deploys a sensitivity toward dream interpretations that implies more than a mechanical or merely symbolic approach. Especially pleasing to this reviewer is his awareness of the variety of emotional meanings behind a patient's given response; that is, he follows the affect (affect-laden vs. affect-empty) and is continually alert for displacement; therefore the emphasis is on emotion, with content being secondary. The beginner is alerted and the seasoned analyst is well-reminded to be especially sensitive to the character style of the dream as well as the dreamer's attitude as he offers (or withholds) associations and emotions to the analyst. Grinstein's clinical vignettes illustrate revelations of the patient's latent sexual and aggressive drives toward the therapist, via the transference.

A Jewish patient, in treatment with a woman analyst, dreamed that he was looking at a beautiful Spanish stamp on which a nude painted by Francisco Goya was reproduced.

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