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Esman, A.H. (1962). The Dream Screen in an Adolescent. Psychoanal Q., 31:250-251.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:250-251

The Dream Screen in an Adolescent

Aaron H. Esman, M.D.

The parents of Tommy, a thirteen-and-a-half-year-old Jewish boy who suffered from chronic depression, obesity, recurrent impulsive aggressive outbursts against his parents, and poor school and social adjustment, sought treatment for him after his older sister was returned to a state hospital because of recurrence of severe psychotic symptoms. The boy's mother was a narcissistic, infantile, enormously obese woman who devoted most of her time to playing cards. She saw Tommy alternately as a source of gratification for her unfulfilled needs and as a source of profound narcissistic disappointment. The father was a depressed, bitter man, made almost inarticulate by his barely controlled rage which erupted primarily in repeated verbal threats to kill the boy.

About three months after he began psychotherapy, Tommy reported that he had gone with his father to a baseball game the previous Sunday. They had had little to say to one another, their principal communication consisting of Tommy's request for ice cream and his father's peremptory refusal to buy it for him. That night the child had the following dream.

I was sitting in a movie theater, or someplace. There was a sort of screen, and baseballs were coming out of it toward me. There was a man there who was catching the balls and deflecting them to everyone else, so I couldn't get any.

In a series of papers (4), (5), (6), Lewin has presented and discussed the concept of the dream screen; others, including Rycroft (7), Heilbrunn (2), Kepecs (3), and Garma (1), have confirmed and elaborated Lewin's thesis.

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