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Grinstein, A. (1954). The Convertible as a Symbol in Dreams. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 2:466-472.

(1954). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2:466-472

The Convertible as a Symbol in Dreams

Alexander Grinstein, M.D.

The fact that any element in the manifest content of a dream may have more than one meaning is very well known, having been emphasized by Freud (1p. 219). He maintained that, in the consideration of a particular element, one must evaluate it in the light of whether it was to be taken in a positive or negative sense, whether it was to be understood historically (as memory or recollection), whether it was to be taken symbolically, or whether its importance depended upon its wording(1p. 341).

In this brief paper, I should like to discuss the use of a particular type or model of automobile as a dream element. It must be noted, however, that its use, as with any dream element, is determined by the individual life experiences of the dreamer. Very frequently the automobile, as a vehicle, is used to represent the analytic process itself. In such instances it is important to note whether the progress made is slow or fast, whether the road is smooth or rough, and whether the driver of the car seems competent or has difficulties in negotiating the journey.

Quite often the automobile represents the entire body ego of the dreamer and its various parts. In this connection, Sterba (2), for instance, reported a case of an adult analysand who dreamed of a little boy who damaged the right front fender of a car. On his way to the analytic hour, he stumbled on the front walk, which he had passed innumerable times, fell, and actually broke his arm.

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