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Mancia, M. (1988). The Dream as Religion of the Mind. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 69:419-426.

(1988). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 69:419-426

The Dream as Religion of the Mind

Mauro Mancia


Dreams are defined as a religion of the mind in the sense that they can re-ligare —i.e. unite in a complex relationship—the components involved in the construction of the mind and its representation. The paper discusses the processes of splitting and projective identification which are manifested in dreams and appear to be essential for the transformation of emotional experiences, the acquisition of knowledge and mental growth.

On the basis of clinical findings, a revision of Freud's theory of dreams is proposed: the concept of an internal world dominated by good and bad parent figures suggests a theological function for dreams connected with a state of necessity.

Dreams represent a real experience which, in analysis, becomes a representation of the internal organization in its immediate present. For this reason, work on dreams makes it possible to acquire knowledge of one's internal objects and of their relationship with the Self.

The work on the internal world offered by dreams is made possible by the recovery of memory, the agency responsible for a fusion between current reality and that of infancy as reactivated in the transference.

Finally, some aspects of the processes active in dreams are discussed, which make them similar to poetic texts.

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