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Blum, H.P. (1976). The Changing Use of Dreams in Psychoanalytic Practice—Dreams and Free Association. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 57:315-324.

(1976). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 57:315-324

The Changing Use of Dreams in Psychoanalytic Practice—Dreams and Free Association

Harold P. Blum

Dreams have been the subject of extensive investigation through psychoanalysis since its inception and more recently by experimental studies of sleep and the psychophysiology of the dream/sleep state (E. Hartmann, 1967). Questions have arisen concerning the biological and even the teleological role of the dream. For example, do we dream in order to sleep, do we sleep in order to dream, is the dream a normal concomitant and possible preserver only of REM sleep, or are we not yet in a position to state decisively what the relationship is between psychological dream, phases of sleep, and other altered states of consciousness? The upsurge of dream and sleep studies have spurred efforts at interdisciplinary integration and re-evaluation of psychoanalytic dream theory. The remarkable and important laboratory research on dreaming sleep has nevertheless added very little to the understanding of dreaming as a psychological phenomenon or to the clinical significance of the dream in psycho-analysis. Within the framework of psycho-analytic psychology, Freud's masterful conceptions and insights into the dream have been so rich and relatively complete that new additions to dream theory have been very limited. During the rapid growth of our entire science, the dream has remained a most solid and fundamental keystone.

In recent years there has been little evolutionary change in the clinical use of dreams, and the title of this dialogue might be misleading. But it is illuminating to consider whether dreams are used in the same way, with the same frequency and purpose as in the past, before the ascendance of modern ego psychology.

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