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Cwik, A.J. (2002). MAYER, ELIZABETH L LOYD. ‘On “Telepathic Dreams?” An Unpublished Paper by Robert J. Stoller’, J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 2001, 49, 2, pp. 629-57.. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(3):515-517.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(3):515-517

MAYER, ELIZABETH L LOYD. ‘On “Telepathic Dreams?” An Unpublished Paper by Robert J. Stoller’, J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 2001, 49, 2, pp. 629-57.

Review by:
August J. Cwik

The paper of Robert Stoller (psychoanalytic theorist of gender identity and sexuality fame) ‘On Telepathic Dreams’, originally written in 1973, was one of those papers that had to be written, but was not destined to see the light of day - until now. Jung's paper, ‘The transcendent function’, outlining the technique of active imagination and written during his break with Freud, suffered a similar fate for three decades. But whereas the reported reason that Jung left his paper unpublished was for fear of influencing future analysts in their collecting of data from unconscious sources, Stoller was advised by his supervisor at the time that ‘if he valued his career as a young and reputable psychoanalyst he would, at least for the moment, put it away and not try to publish it’ (p. 630). It is this dynamic of secretiveness surrounding the paper that piques one's interest equally, if not more than the actual content of the paper.

The original paper documents one of Stoller's own dreams, as well as several patients’ dreams while Stoller was an analytic candidate. The content of Stoller's dream picked up on an accident, which had actually just happened to his supervisor's son. Similarly, the patients’ dreams recount material from Stoller's life at the time with little or no disguise. For example, one patient dreamt of an unknown, older man carrying some large object who smashed through a wall of glass. In actuality, on the same evening of the dream, Stoller had crashed accidentally through a glass door while carrying chairs. There is also an account of a non-dream experience in which Stoller correctly ‘guesses’ an unusual gift that a colleague was about to give him. The gift, an army patch, had particular personal significance from Stoller's own past. He concluded the paper noting a few interesting ‘protospeculative’ thoughts: the dreams usually occurred during a separation; there were few personal associations to the dreams; the dreams were of a different quality than other dreams the patients reported; and he never had experiences like this before or after this time period.

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