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Stein, M.H. (1987). Chapter 5: The Clinical Significance of Dream Interpretation in the Analysis of Acting Out. The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work, 57-68.

Stein, M.H. (1987). Chapter 5: The Clinical Significance of Dream Interpretation in the Analysis of Acting Out. The Interpretations of Dreams in Clinical Work , 57-68

Chapter 5: The Clinical Significance of Dream Interpretation in the Analysis of Acting Out Book Information Previous Up Next

Martin H. Stein, M.D.

That an understanding of dreams may cast light on the meaning of waking behavior is not really open to doubt, but even as analysts we may differ about how and to what extent. Dreams would appear to be especially relevant to the study of behavior which we regard as rather less rational, more difficult to explain in logical terms, a category which would include among others, acting out. One of the earliest and most dramatic statements of the connection between dreams and behavior is to be found in Book 9 of Plato's Republic. Socrates says: “What we wish to recognize is the following: surely some terrible, savage and lawless form of desires is in every man, even in some of us who seem to be ever so measured. And surely this becomes plain in dreams” (572b). Of the tyrant he states, “what he had rarely been in dreams, he became continuously while awake. He will stick at no terrible murder, or food or deed” (574e, 575a). The worst man “is awake, presumably, what we describe a dreaming man to be” (576b). Freud paraphrased this last statement in The Interpretation of Dreams, “this … the virtuous man is content to dream what a wicked man really does” (1900, p. 620). We might take the liberty of paraphrasing further: “What the

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