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Meltzer, D. (1976). Dream-Narrative and Dream-Continuity. Contemp. Psychoanal., 12:423-432.

(1976). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 12:423-432

Dream-Narrative and Dream-Continuity

Donald Meltzer, M.D.

IT NEED NOT BE TAKEN AS CRITICAL when we say that Freud in the Traumdeutung was taking a particular interest in dreams as a source of information about unconscious mental processes and not in dream-life as an aspect of living. The dream, whose trivial function was to keep the sleeper asleep by gratifying unconscious wishes while cleverly evading the censorship of what two decades later would be called the Super-ego (with a capital S), does not preclude the dream as "a thought like any other thought." It was merely a particular vertex for viewing and exploiting a phenomenon. There is neither reason for saying that Freud's view is wrong, nor certainly that it is uninteresting, if we move on, as the analytical method has moved on, to take an interest in this phenomenon from another vertex and to put it to another use. I wish to do so, to take dream-life as my object of examination, for it is certainly, in my own method of work which has been so deeply influenced by the experiences of the playroom, the object of scrutiny par excellence for the elucidation of the transference. Not, I must emphasize, that the dream is the prime object of observation, for that exists palpably in the transactions of the transferencecountertransference relationship in the consulting room; but the dream, I find, is my most convincing evidence for the elucidation of the meaning and structure of the transference.


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