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Stekel, W. Frohman, B.S. (1931). Analysis of A Key Dream. Psychoanal. Rev., 18(4):379-393.

(1931). Psychoanalytic Review, 18(4):379-393

Analysis of A Key Dream

Wilhelm Stekel, M.D. and Berteand S. Frohman, M.D.

When Freud published his famous book on dreams many laughed at the message of the new prophet. Several reviewers stated that it was not science, but armchair philosophy useless for practical application, of interest only for philosophers and visionists.

In spite of the first impressions and ironic reviews, dream analysis became an important part of psychoanalysis. How is it possible to penetrate the unconscious, if we neglect the language of the dreams emerging from the depths of the soul? Freud called dream interpretation the “Via Regia” to the unconscious. (In Rome, the royal road, Via Regia, led to the Capitol.)

Dream interpretation gradually became a real science, the foundation of which was the contribution of Freud's which attempted to prove all dreams are wish fulfillments. The classical method was based upon the free associations of the patient and the knowledge of symbols. The method was as follows: The patient was told to think of the dream and relate everything that came into his mind. Freud saw in the dream itself the “manifest” content. By association he got the “latent” significance of the dream. The first symbols discovered were mostly sex symbols, besides the fact that a king or any authority was interpreted as Father; queens or ladies of prominence, as Mother. This dream analysis was dependent upon the cooperation of the patient. In many cases the patient could give no associations. It was therefore necessary to find a method which combined association with the intuition of the analyst. This is the basic difference between Active and Passive psychoanalysis. The Active method may penetrate the important conflicts of the subject more rapidly and shorten the analysis from one to three years to one to three months.

Before we start with an example of our new method of dream analysis, we must repeat the first rules given us by Freud in the publication mentioned.

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