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Lippmann, P. (1996). On Dreams and Interpersonal Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(6):831-846.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(6):831-846

On Dreams and Interpersonal Psychoanalysis

Paul Lippmann, Ph.D.

The richness and creativity of early classical work with dreams became narrowed through doctrinaire obedience to Freud's brilliant hypotheses. Interpersonal psychoanalysis, though originally little interested in problems of mind and private mentation, may be well suited, in part due to its lack of a comprehensive dream theory, to a clinical approach to dreams that is relatively open-minded, pluralistic, complexly layered, collaborative, and playful. Multiple possibilities for the meanings of dreams and multiple ways of approaching dreams in analytic therapy are suggested. Although many therapists for complex reasons shy away from working on dreams, an interpersonal approach recognizes that several wishes of both patient and analyst may be significantly fulfilled in the pleasures of working together on dreams. If it is mindful of what is unfortunately a growing tendency to project into all dreams a single-minded preoccupation with transference and countertransference, and if it respects the world of dream imagery in its own right, interpersonal psychoanalysis can make a genuine contribution to our understanding of dreams and dreams can lend an important dimension to interpersonal concepts. Several clinical examples are presented in an effort to highlight an approach that “stays with the image” and allows the dream images to make their way into the psychoanalytic dialogue.

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