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Pontalis, J.B. (1974). Dream as an Object. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 1:125-133.

(1974). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 1:125-133

Dream as an Object

J. B. Pontalis

Die Traumdeutung (1900): the title itself already links, indeed irrevocably unites, the dream and its interpretation. Freud, at the same time as he totally revises it, places himself in the tradition of the various seers, secular and religious, where the dream is consecrated to its meaning, thus to some extent neglecting the dream as experience: the subjective experience of the dreamer dreaming and the inter-subjective experience in therapy, when the dream is brought to the analyst, both offered and withheld, speaking yet silent. Perhaps when with Freud the dream travels to its definitive status through interpretation, and the dream dreamt in images is converted into the dream put into words, something is lost: every victory is paid for by exile and possession by loss.

My intention is not to place myself antecedent to Traumdeutung, but to recapture that which the Freudian method, in order to exercise its efficiency to the fullest, necessarily put aside. I wish to understand what appears to me to be an opposition between the meaning and the experience, by situating myself in analysis in order to find my guide marks. I feel justified in such an undertaking by some of the post-Freudian works and by a certain reticence on my part in deciphering the contents of a dream in a clinical encounter when I could not perceive what it represented as experience or as a refusal of experiences. As long as one does not appreciate the function that the dream fulfils in the analytic process, and as long as the place that it fills in the subjective topography remains indeterminate, any interpretation of the message of the dream is at best ineffective; at worst it maintains an unending complicity about a specific object, which remains an unclarified libidinal cathexis between analyst and patient: it is no longer a language that is circulating; it is a currency.

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