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Gaines, R. (1994). Interpersonal and Jungian Dream Interpretation. Contemp. Psychoanal., 30:855-867.
   

(1994). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 30:855-867

Interpersonal and Jungian Dream Interpretation

Robert Gaines, Ph.D.

THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF commonality between the Interpersonal and Jungian approaches to dream interpretation, which has not previously been fully recognized or explored. There are striking similarities in the use of 'manifest content, ' and in the conceptualization of the types of mental operations that occur in sleep. These, and other similarities, will be discussed below. In fact, the evolution of the Interpersonal approach to dreams and dream interpretation, as developed by Sullivan (1953) and Fromm (1951), owes a considerable and largely unacknowledged debt to Jung (1933). Besides the existing areas of overlap, there are additional aspects of the Jungian approach that have not yet been considered by Interpersonalists, which could help to expand and refine the Interpersonal approach.

Sullivan's approach to dreams is characterized by a certain ambivalence (Sullivan, 1953). Dreams are considered to contain very important information about the dreamer, but the use of dream interpretation in treatment is cautioned against. Sullivan (1953) offers several examples of dream interpretation, but avoids spelling out specific principles for dream interpretation.

Sullivan viewed sleep as a time when the self system is temporarily relaxed, because threats to self-esteem are at a distance (Sullivan, 1953). Thought processes are relatively less interfered with by anxiety. Motivational tendencies and self/other personifications that are normally dissociated can be safely expressed. In this way sleep and dreams act as a safety valve for the personality.

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