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Oliver, M. (2016). Dream and fantasy in child analysis. J. Child Psychother., 42(2):243-248.

(2016). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 42(2):243-248

Dream and fantasy in child analysis

Malby Oliver

On dreams, dreaming and the child

The ‘dream’ is the true paradigm of psychoanalysis. If Freud had to save one thing, and only one, it would be the dream … the dream develops outside consciousness, it is a true unconscious event. There’s the diminution of censorship, and therefore there’s the emergence of desire. Bion was the only Kleinian analyst who preferred the dream to the child. And amongst the Independents, Winnicott plainly, explicitly says that the important moment in the therapeutic consultation with a child is the moment when the child is ready to tell a dream.

(Green, 1999: 50)

This is an original book on the psychoanalytic understanding of children’s dreams and dreaming in child analysis today.

Are dreams present or absent in the psychoanalytic encounter with the child? Does the child bring his dreams to the analyst? How does the analyst think about the child’s dream? What is the method used for its exploration? Is the dream part of the analyst’s conceptual framework influencing the analyst’s stance? These are some of the questions the book raises as a starting point for reflection.

The dream, in relation to other forms of expression of the unconscious mind such as fantasy, play and drawings, is – as the title of the book suggests – the main subject of discussion, as the child’s dream may share a similar status to and/or not be clearly differentiated from other products of the child’s imaginative life.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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