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5. The Exceptional Position of the Dream in Freudian Thought

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

5

 

The Exceptional Position of the Dream in Freudian Thought

In this chapter, we briefly review some of Freud's major theoretical writings. This is necessary since the two papers on dreams in Chapter 6 were written twelve years apart, and during that time there were major shifts in Freud's theoretical position. Nevertheless, it is surprising how Freud's position on dream analysis does not seem to change dramatically over this decade when so many aspects of the theory are undergoing transformation. The implications are important when one attempts to summarize Freud's mature or final position on psychoanalytic technique.

The Early Importance of Dream Formation

Freud had already mentioned the significance of dreams by 1893. While writing Studies on Hysteria, Freud conceived of the dream as symbolically representing certain aspects of every normal person's waking life. In talking about the nature of symptoms, Freud tells us that at times the relationship between the precipitating cause and the final expression of the symptom “consists only in what might be called a ‘symbolic’ relation…a relation such as healthy people form in dreams” (Breuer and Freud 1893, p. 5).

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12. Freud's Termination and Construction Papers

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

12

 

Freud's Termination and Construction Papers

Analysis Terminable and Interminable1

(1937)

I

Experience has taught us that psycho-analytic therapy—the liberation of a human being from his neurotic symptoms, inhibitions and abnormalities of character—is a lengthy business. Hence, from the very beginning, attempts have been made to shorten the course of analysis. Such endeavours required no justification: they could claim to be prompted by the strongest considerations alike of reason and expediency. But there probably lurked in them some trace of the impatient contempt with which the medical profession of an earlier day regarded the neuroses, seeing in them the unnecessary results of invisible lesions. If it had now become necessary to deal with them, they should at least be got rid of with the utmost despatch. Basing his procedure on the theory formulated in Das Trauma der Geburt (1924) Otto Rank made a particularly determined attempt to shorten analysis. He assumed that the cardinal source of neurosis was the experience of birth, on the ground of its involving a possibility that the infant's primal fixation’ to the mother might not be surmounted but persist in the form of ‘primal repression’. His hope was that, if this primal trauma were overcome by analysis, the whole neurosis would clear up, so that this one small piece of analytic work, for which a few months should suffice, would do away with the necessity for all the rest. Rank's argument was certainly bold and ingenious, but it did not stand the test of critical examination. Moreover, it was a child of its time, conceived under the stress of the contrast between the post-war misery of Europe and the ‘prosperity’ 1 of America, and designed to accelerate the tempo of analytic therapy to suit the rush of American life. We have heard little of the clinical results of Rank's plan. Probably it has not accomplished more than would be done if the men of a fire-brigade, summoned to deal with a house set on fire by an upset oil-lamp, merely removed the lamp from the room in which the conflagration had broken out. Much less time would certainly be spent in so doing than in extinguishing the whole fire. The theory and practice of Rank's experiment are now things of the past—no less than American ‘prosperity’ itself. 2

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Chapter Eighteen

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

Summary

This is one of the few chapters where there is a mention of research. The research is presented to illustrate a developmental model that combines physiological factors with relational factors. The research includes some mention of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep research as well as research in motivational pathways of the brain. The chapter includes a model of mother-infant interactions. It ends with a clinical case to illustrate the model in terms of the clinical situation.

Introduction

In 1995, Freudian and relational psychoanalysts published an article comparing and contrasting the two theoretical positions. Merton Gill, who by that time was clearly a relational analyst, summarized the positions and maintained that both types of theory, to some extent, account for both innate and experiential factors but differ in at least four ways.

First, it is uncontestable that the classical point of view emphasizes the innate over the experiential, whereas the relational emphasizes the experiential over the innate. Second—and really a correlate of the first—in the classical view, the innate is explanatorily superor-dinate to the experiential (sometimes reductively so), whereas in the relational, the experiential is explanatorily superordinate to the innate (sometimes reductively so). The issue is a hierarchical one. Mitchell saw the bodily urges—part of intrapsychic structure—as expressed by way of interpersonal relations. Hoffman (personal communication, August 1992) criticized Mitchell's description in that “what seems to be underestimated in this kind of formulation is the importance of sexual interest and desire in itself rather than as a channel for something else which is not intrinsically sexual.” Third, the classical point of view emphasizes how the past determines the present, whereas the relational point of view emphasized how the present can be illuminated by the past. On the whole, the classical point of view sees the present as a repetition of the past, whereas the relational point of view sees the present as more independent of the past. Fourth, the relational view stresses new interpersonal experience over insight as mutative, whereas the reverse is true in the classical view. [Gill, 1995, pp. 91-92]

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Chapter Ten

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

Summary

We trace Winnicott's writings from his earliest papers to some of his posthumous publications. In his hands, psychoanalytic theory describes human experience in terms of the trials of becoming real or authentic. Each concept of Freud's or Klein's is transformed into his personalized way of understanding the internal life of the baby and the baby and child present in the adult. In Winnicott, we see the firm beginning (or in parallel with Fairbairn) of the importance of the two person field. Although Winnicott accepts the idea of the infant's instinctual excitement, it is the relationship with the mother that is crucial in the fate of this excitement. In ideal development, the instinctual component is not the important factor, but, rather, it is the overlapping experiences of the two participants that is crucial in terms of what will be internalized in the infant's developing representational world. Winnicott presents a number of concepts that help the infant's/developing child's transition into the world of others, while developing an indwelling sense of self. Perhaps his most familiar concept is that of the transitional object and transitional space. In this space, the child is able to construct the tools to create reality; for Winnicott, the authentic self does not passively receive, but actively creates reality.

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Chapter One

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

Slightly before, slightly beyond

Chapter summary

The title of the chapter is from Walter Stewart's book, Psychoanalysis: The First Ten Years (1963). In this chapter we look at the beginning of Freud's career as a therapist and an emerging psychoanalyst. He attempts to formulate a theory where psychological disturbances are caused by a combination of environmental events and physiological conditions. He is strongly influenced by the neurophysiologists of his era, and the familiar Freudian concepts such as fantasy and transference do not play a prominent role in the theory of this era. Rather, in adults there are actual causes that produce neurotic symptoms. The sexual practices of the era are thought by Freud to produce symptoms such as anxiety and neurasthenia. He calls neuroses that are produced by sexual practices, such as excessive masturbation or coitus interruptus, actual neuroses. Neuroses that are caused by conditions in childhood are called psychogenic neuroses, but these disorders are also caused by “real” events, trauma in childhood. The trauma that

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