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Slap, J.W. Trunnell, E.E. (1987). Reflections on the Self State Dream. Psychoanal Q., 56:251-262.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:251-262

Reflections on the Self State Dream

Joseph W. Slap, M.D. and Eugene E. Trunnell, M.D.


Self psychologists contend that patients with narcissistic personality disorders have dreams which cannot be understood in terms of current psychoanalytic dream theory and that these dreams, called self state dreams, have a different origin and structure. The manifest content of these dreams is said to reveal the reactions of healthy sectors of the psyche to disturbing changes in the condition of the self. Self psychologists are said to be able to understand these dreams directly, without the patients' associations, as portrayals of the dreamers' dread of threats to the integrity of the self. The authors raise questions about these contentions. They conclude that the self state dream will remain a dubious concept until a more extensive psychology of dreaming is provided by self psychologists.

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