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Oremland, J.D. (1978). Perhaps and Maybe in Dreams. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 5:199-205.

(1978). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 5:199-205

Perhaps and Maybe in Dreams

Jerome D. Oremland


The paper presents ways in which the adverbial abstractions perhaps and maybe can be represented in dreams. In the first example, it was noted that the patient characteristically reported that his dreams were fragments and incomplete. Rather than being the form and related to withholding, it was realized that it was the gloss to indicate that the significance of the dream was tentative and uncertain, the dream representation of his 'perhaps'-ing and 'maybe'-ing.

In the second case, the patient characteristically moved away from severe competitive conflicts with the analyst, especially regarding dream interpretation, by pondering what the nature of the dream might have been, had a different event from the linking event occurred. By so doing, this patient prevented anticipated severe competitive struggles by taking both patient and analyst to what might have been as opposed to what was with regard to his dreaming, just as his frequent 'maybe'-ing and perhaps'-ing did for other interactions in the analysis.

In the two cases, the area of analysis which effected a change appeared quite different. However, even the case in which dream analysis seemed to produce the change, closer study revealed that it was the transference significance of the dreaming and its interpretation which brought about the shift. These two analyses support the view that though appearing quite different with regard to the central significance of dream analysis in producing change, in fact the major changes in analysis are the result of interpretation of transference neurosis rather than any other element.

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