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Jelliffe, S.E. (1916). Technique of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(2):161-175.

(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(2):161-175

Technique of Psychoanalysis

Smith Ely Jelliffe

Freud has called these “announcement dreams.” They often serve to tell the analyst what the patient's first unconscious impressions are concerning him, and they also often announce the whole character of the conflict. This is true particularly for those patients whose conflicts are often half grasped (foreconscious). The following is an illustration:

The patient, twenty-eight years of age, whose chief complaints were persistent headaches at the back of the head, a sense of great tenseness, a marked trend to suffusion of the face, pathological blushing, with a host of transient gastro-intestinal and other phenomena, at the second interview related: “I am on a bleak hillside, there is a threatening cloud coming up from the valley. I am with a little girl; I am anxious to get seven or eight little books into the house where they will not be destroyed, and we bring them in and put them on the washstand.

My first question was “Why or eight?” To which the reply was “I do not understand.” I then said: “What are books to you?” Books, stories, life histories, life experiences. These were the associations. (And washstands?) Something to clean, to wash. And I replied, “You wish to tell me [the threatening cloud] about seven life experiences which you have had in order to cleanse them and be cleansed by the telling of them [confessional motive], and the eighth is just formative, and that is why you said or eight.” To which a reply was made. “Yes, I think that I have made up my mind that you can help me, and it seems necessary that I should be able to find some one to trust and to tell what is constantly in my mind, and which keeps me distressed all the time.”

Here the transference put me in the place of a father confessor and announced at the same time, even in the upper level of the dream, there were seven or eight unworthy experiences which had to be gotten rid of to get at the deeper levels of the conflict.

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