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Sandler, J. (1976). Dreams, Unconscious Fantasies and 'Identity of Perception'. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 3:33-42.

(1976). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 3:33-42

Dreams, Unconscious Fantasies and 'Identity of Perception'

Joseph Sandler

To be asked to give the Freud Lecture in Vienna on the anniversary of Freud's birth is a profound and moving experience. To give the lecture in 1975 is, in addition, a special honour and privilege because it marks the 75th anniversary of 'The Interpretation of Dreams' (Freud, 1900). When one reads that book today one can only marvel at the genius of its creation, at the theoretical and clinical revolution which it represented, and at the boldness and incisiveness of Freud's thinking. It stands as a monument to Freud, even though it was one of his earliest works. It has provided material for psychoanalytic scholars to work on and to study, a process which will continue for many generations. At the time of its publication the book put forward the most radical of theoretical formulations, at the same time raising a multitude of questions, some of which were answered by Freud himself, others by later workers, while many still remain unanswered.

One of the points made by Freud in Chapter 7 of 'The Interpretation of Dreams', and never fully developed by him later, will (after some introductory remarks) provide the theme of this paper. It is the concept of the identity of perception (Wahrnehmungsidentität), and I shall try to show that this idea, first presented in the context of a discussion of dreams, may be generalized to a whole realm of experience and behaviour. It can, I believe, be of clinical and theoretical use to us in this more general form.

Following a short historical review (abbreviated for the purpose of publication) I shall comment briefly on the psychoanalytic concepts of unconscious fantasy and unconscious wish.

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