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Lane, R.C. Harris, M. (2002). The Changing Place of the Dream in Psychoanalytic History, Part I: Freud, Ego Psychology, and the Interpersonal School. Psychoanal. Rev., 89(6):829-859.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Review, 89(6):829-859

The Changing Place of the Dream in Psychoanalytic History, Part I: Freud, Ego Psychology, and the Interpersonal School

Robert C. Lane, Ph.D., ABPP and Max Harris, M.A.

One of the major strands woven into the fabric of psychoanalysis was Freud's use of the interpretation of dreams for his self-analysis. As a result of his own insights, he was destined to favor dreams and consider them the main avenue to the unconscious, placing them in an exceptional position. It seemed that in the beginnings of psychoanalysis, dream analysis and psychoanalysis were synonymous, and thus hard to differentiate from each other.

However, no one today would claim that psychoanalysis and dream analysis are synonymous. As we look at the more than 100-year history of psychoanalysis, what stands out is how the place of the dream in psychoanalysis has mainly waned. The radical shift in how psychoanalysis is done raises questions about why this occurred.

At least part of the answer can be found within the history of psychoanalysis itself. We can trace some of the change to shifts in Freud's own thinking, which opened up new approaches to analysis such as ego psychology, and to the challenge posed by the interpersonal school to his understanding of dreams. If we look at ego psychology, one of the things that stands out is the repercussions for dream analysis when there was a shift from Freud's emphasis on uncovering repressed infantile sexual wishes through free association to an emphasis on analysis of ego defenses (A.

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