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Int J Psychoanal. 2006 Jun;87(Pt 3):703-23.

Dreams that mirror the session.

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Erratum in

  • Int J Psychoanal. 2006 Aug;87(Pt 4):1124.


Dreams in which the analyst appears undisguised almost always depict violations of the setting. Often experienced as special, epiphanic moments, they give a glimpse of an intense, emotional reaction to traumatogenic or otherwise significant events that have occurred during the session or in the most recent previous ones. Probably, the essential aspect of these dreams can be found in the 'form of their content'. This may be paralleled by the narrative technique of mise en abyme or mirror-text. The dream appears as a story within the main story and the scene of the analysis is reflected anti-illusionistically. The fictional structure of the setting is emphasized. Its theatrical self-consciousness quality is revealed at its best. The author postulates that the transformative therapeutic value of these dreams derives from denouncing the referential illusion of 'concrete reality' and of 'what really happened'. For the analysand, they are an effective (i.e. emotionally intense) opportunity to discover the spatial articulations and the staggering refractions of the inside/outside, the textual/extra-textual, the psychic reality/material reality. In the continual comings and goings from one term to another, the work of symbolization is reactivated and the subject is constructed. Dreams that mirror the session, from this point of view, provide a model for conceptualizing the analytic work, and their significance goes beyond the specific phenomena referred to. A clinical case is given, in which some of one patient's dreams are considered as they occurred over a short period. In one of them, the dream-within-a-dream phenomenon is present.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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