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Perlman, F.T. (1996). Dream Portrait: A Study of Nineteen Sequential Dreams as Indicators of Pretermination. Bond, Alma, Daisy Franco, and Arlene Kramer Richards, with Phyllis Beren, Roslyn Goldner, Anita Katz, and Florence Williams. New York: International Universities Press, 1992, 177 pages, $27.50.. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 3(1):71-75.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 3(1):71-75

Dream Portrait: A Study of Nineteen Sequential Dreams as Indicators of Pretermination. Bond, Alma, Daisy Franco, and Arlene Kramer Richards, with Phyllis Beren, Roslyn Goldner, Anita Katz, and Florence Williams. New York: International Universities Press, 1992, 177 pages, $27.50.

Review by:
Fredric T. Perlman, Ph.D.

In an early paper on psychoanalytic technique, Freud (1913) likened psychoanalysis to a chess game in which only the opening and endgame moves could be systematically taught. Dream Portrait is an effort to extend the range of transmissible psychoanalytic knowledge to include a normative “pretermination” phase which immediately precedes the familiar “endgame” of treatment.

Dream Portrait, the first publication in the IPTAR Monograph Series, is the product of an ambitious research project conducted by a team of psychoanalysts at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR) in New York City. The group, which originally formed to study object relations theories, launched an empirical investigation of internalization phenomena as they were observed in a single analytic case. The patient, “Mr. Jones,” was a depressed and severely inhibited young man whose constricting character structure, as conceptualized by the group, was determined by the internalization of a very powerful and threatening paternal introject. The study group had been charting the evolution of Mr. Jones' object relations when one of his dreams suggested a significant transformation of the paternal introject (“a terrifying lion” was recognized as “a pussycat”). Dr. Daisy Franco, a member of the study group, saw this shift as heralding the onset of a pretermination phase, The accuracy of Dr. Franco's prediction inspired a more focused inquiry into the pretermination phase itself, with a special emphasis on the value of dreams as indicators of pretermination.

The concept of pretermination as a discrete and distinguishable phase of treatment has only recently been introduced into the literature of psychoanalysis (Van Dam, Heinicke, and Shane, 1975; Shane and Shane, 1984; see also Novick [1982] on the closely related concept of the “incubation” phase). Pretermination is conceptualized as a phase of treatment in which progressive improvements in the patient's functioning prompt either the patient, the analyst, or both to begin considering the prospect of termination.

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