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Oremland, J.D. (1973). A Specific Dream During the Termination Phase of Successful Psychoanalyses. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 21:285-302.

(1973). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 21:285-302

A Specific Dream During the Termination Phase of Successful Psychoanalyses

Jerome D. Oremland, M.D.


Because of the unusual plasticity of dreams—their use of visual imagery and condensation—they often represent with striking clarity

the two main aspects of the analysis: the major symptom complex and the transference. In three cases considered successfully analyzed, a dream occurred during the termination process with the following specific characteristics: (1) it occurred in relationship to a termination event; (2) it portrayed the presenting or a major symptom with significant modification; and (3) it represented the analyst undisguised and in intimate relationship with the symptom. It is suggested that in these cases the dream demonstrates to varying degrees the alteration which the analysis has brought about in both the symptom and the transference. The symptom is changed, and the analyst's being represented in a realistic, role-appropriate manner indicates the degree to which the transference distortions have been analyzed and resolved. A fourth case, also with a termination dream, but an analysis considered incomplete, is presented for contrast.

The termination phase as a test of the analysis is discussed. It is proposed that a dream with the characteristics described, when present, is important additional evidence that an analytic process was initiated, that the symptom structure has been modified, that there has been significant resolution of the transference, and that a completing process is underway.

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