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Caligor, L. (1996). The Clinical Use of the Dream in Interpersonal Psychoanalysis A Dream Specimen. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(6):793-811.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(6):793-811

The Clinical Use of the Dream in Interpersonal Psychoanalysis A Dream Specimen

Leopold Caligor, Ph.D.

I hope to convey to the reader through the analysis of a dream specimen how I as an interpersonal psychoanalyst apprehend and process a dream in the context of an actual session; how the dream evokes in me thoughts, images, associations, and affective responses; and how these are shared in dialogue with the patient. I find the patient's dream important because it vividly expresses in imagery, affect, and narrative her modes of coping with interpersonal anxiety by selective inattention and dissociation.

It is my view that this dream was triggered in response to a therapeutic impasse. My response to the impasse led to increased activity and a concordant effort on my part to engage the patient in the here and now, which led to a transference-countertransference enactment represented in the dream. The analysis of the dream allowed the recognition of what I had until then not been able to perceive.

Sharing with the patient my associations to her dream permitted an in-depth dialogue to take place. I have attempted to reconstruct my personal reactions to the dream as they unfolded, the clinical decisions I made, and why I made them.

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