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Silber, A. (1973). Secondary Revision, Secondary Elaboration and Ego Synthesis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 54:161-168.

(1973). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 54:161-168

Secondary Revision, Secondary Elaboration and Ego Synthesis

Austin Silber

Freud (1900p. 505) ascribes to secondary revision the first contribution on the part of waking thought to the construction of dreams. Thus Freud is indicating the central importance of what in present-day terminology we would call the ego's contribution to dream formation. In 'Totem and Taboo' (1913) Freud clearly introduces the concept of a synthetic function in his discussion of secondary revision:

The secondary revision of the product of the dream work is an admirable example of the nature and pretensions of a system. There is an intellectual function in us which demands unity, connection and intelligibility from any material, whether of perception or thought, that comes within its grasp; and if, as a result of special circumstances, it is unable to establish a true connection, it does not hesitate to fabricate a false one. Systems constructed in this way are known to us not only from dreams, but also from phobias, from obsessive thinking and from delusions (p. 95).

Freud, in 1926, conceptualized the connecting, unifying, rationalizing processes as the synthetic functions of the ego.

By studying an example of secondary revision as it emerged in the exposition of a dream during the course of an analysis, a special aspect of ego synthesis can be more carefully viewed. First, however, an opportunity is provided to continue this brief review of the concept of secondary revision.

The purpose of secondary revision is to fill up 'The gaps in the dream-structure with shreds and patches' (Freud, 1900p.

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