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Boschan, P.J. (2004). The Unwelcome Child and His Dreams: Reconceptualization of Dreaming in Trauma. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 13(1/2):60-65.

(2004). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 13(1/2):60-65

The Unwelcome Child and His Dreams: Reconceptualization of Dreaming in Trauma

Pedro J. Boschan

Based on the concepts of Sándor Ferenczi on trauma and vincularity, the author examines the operation of the mechanisms of dreaming in the processing of early traumatic situations and their clinical utilization. The difference is established between dreams of “repetition”, which lack dream imagery and contain a great amount of anguish, consisting of bodily sensations which may last on awakening, and the “secondary dream” with imagery, into which the first type can be transformed when the capacity of the psychic apparatus to process the traumatic situation is increased through therapeutic work. This “secondarization” of the repetitive dream has a traumatolytic effect, allowing the patient to reach psychoanalytically the mechanisms and mental states prevailing in the traumatic situation, through the mechanism of dream autorepresentation described by Silberer. In some cases, as illustrated in the clinical material, it is possible to anticipate the event of episodes of somatic disease before they become clinically evident.

The detailed analysis of dreams in patients with these characteristics is presented and discussed.

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