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Gillman, R.D. (1987). Chapter 2: Dreams as Resistance. The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work, 27-36.

Gillman, R.D. (1987). Chapter 2: Dreams as Resistance. The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work , 27-36

Section II: Perspectives on the Dream in Clinical Work

Chapter 2: Dreams as Resistance Book Information Previous Up Next

Robert D. Gillman, M.D.

A study of the insights gained from dream interpretation should include a study of the impediments in the path of these insights—the impediments that themselves reflect the characteristic defenses that patients use in their dreams to ward off awareness of unpleasant mental content.

Most dreams reported in the course of treatment take their place alongside the patient's other associations without special understanding being derived from them. These are the average dreams that abound in most psychoanalyses. Many of these dreams are reported less out of curiosity as to their meaning than out of the patient's expectation that the analyst wants to hear about them. They seem far from the patient's area of chief concern so that any attempt to focus on them would seem disruptive to the analytic process.

Yet, the very act of presenting a dream embedded within the framework of ongoing associations may be the most common of all the resistances in reporting dreams. What are the resistances in dreams and dream reporting and how can they be classified? The difficulties that confront us in trying to gain more knowledge about our patients from their dreams fall into two categories: (1) those resistances that are inherent in dream formation itself; (2) those resistances related to the manner of reporting dreams in a particular treatment session. But even those dreams which open up new insights about our patients contain these two categories of resistance. In this sense all dreams are resistance dreams.

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