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Katan, M. (1960). Dream and Psychosis: Their Relationship to Hallucinatory Processes. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:341-351.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:341-351

Dream and Psychosis: Their Relationship to Hallucinatory Processes

Maurits Katan

A superficial comparison between the dream and the psychosis shows that these two processes have much in common. The events in the dream are hallucinated; primitive ego-mechanisms as well as the primary process prevail. Frequently, too, the dream-content is the same as the content of psychotic symptoms. The impression of similarity between the dream and the psychosis is increased by the fact that sometimes a psychosis begins with a dream, and not infrequently the psychotic patient makes no distinction between a dream and his psychotic symptom.

As we know, Freud tried to unravel psychotic symptoms by comparing them with examples from normal life which were well understood. For instance, the state of being in love, with its marked overestimation of the love object, threw light upon the overestimation of the ego in megalomania. He also compared the dream, the affect of mourning, and the affect of jealousy, with psychotic phenomena. The dream became a normal example of short duration of the pathological psychosis.

My question is whether such concepts can be maintained in view of the present metapsychological development. It is my opinion that the underlying conflicts of the so-called normal examples are not the same as the conflicts which give rise to psychotic symptoms. Notwithstanding a strong outward resemblance, the normal example has a completely different structure from that of the psychotic symptom. Thus a careful study of the normal example has to be made before a decision can be reached as to which feature, if any, of the normal example can be used for a comparison.

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