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Glucksman, M.L. (1988). The Use of Successive Dreams to Facilitate and Document Change During Treatment. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 16(1):47-70.

(1988). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 16(1):47-70

The Use of Successive Dreams to Facilitate and Document Change During Treatment

Myron L. Glucksman, M.D.


The universally accepted goal of most therapies is the promotion of intrapsychic and interpersonal change. Psychoanalysis, in particular, aims for structural as well as dynamic change: the strengthening of ego functions, greater self-cohesion, modification of super-ego demands, successful resolution of unconscious conflicts and transference reactions, as well as the replacement of pathological defenses and destructive interpersonal practices with healthier ones. The data for evaluating clinical change comes from a variety of sources: overt behavior, the relationship with the analyst and others, the manifest and latent content of the patient's productions and the quality of the patient's affective communications.

The dream holds a special place among the patient's productions as an invaluable source of information in connection with personality structure and dynamics. Since dreams reflect virtually every aspect of the dreamer's experience, it seems reasonable to assume that clinical changes during the course of treatment will be incorporated into dream content. A number of knowledgeable clinicians have observed changes in both dream content and structure as treatment progresses (Alexander, 1961; Bonime, 1962; Dewald, 1972; Saul, 1972; Warner, 1983).

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