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The Method Of Dream Interpretation - 5 - Freud

The dream has an advantage over many others. It is at once obvious to what events of the preceding day it is related , and of what subject it treats. The preliminary statement explains these matters. The news of Irma's health which I had received from Otto, and the clinical history, which I was writing late into the night, had occupied my psychic activities even during sleep.The dream has an advantage over many others. It is at once obvious to what events of the preceding day it is related , and of what subject it treats. The preliminary statement explains these matters.

The news of Irma's health which I had received from Otto, and the clinical history, which I was writing late into the night, had occupied my psychic activities even during sleep.neverthe less, no one who had read the preliminary report, and had knowledge of the content of the dream, could guess what the dream signified. Nor do I myself know. I am puzzled by the morbid sympthoms of which Irma complains in the dream, for they are not the symptoms for which I treated her. I smile at the nonsensical idea of an injection of propionic acid, and at Dr. M.'s attempt at consolation. Towards the end of the dream seems more obscure and quicker in tempo than at the beginning. In order to learn the significance of all these details I resolve to undertake an exhaustive analysis.

ANALYSIS

The Hall - a number of guests, whom we are receiving. We were living that summer at Bellevue, an isolated house on one of the hills adjoining the Kahlenberg. The house was originally built as a place of entertainment, and therefore has unusually lofty, hall-like rooms. The dream was dreamed in bellevue, a few days before my wife's birthday. During the day my wife had mentioned that she expected several friends, and among them Irma, to come to us as guests for her birthday. My dream, then anticipates this situation: It is my wife's birthday and we are receiving a number of people, among them Irma, as guests in the large hall of bellevue.

I reproach Irma for not having accepted the 'solution', I say, 'I you still have pains, it is really your own fault.' I might even have said this while awake; I may have actually said it. At that time I was of the opinion recognised (later to be incorrectly) that my task was limitedin informing patients of the hidden meaning of their symptoms.Wheter they accepted or did not accept the solution upon which success depended. - for that I was not responsible. I am grateful to this error, which fortunately, has now been overcome, since it made life easier for me  at a time when, with all my unavoidable ignorance, I was expected to effect successful cures. But I note that in the speech which I make to Irma  in the dream I am above all anxious that I shall not be blamed for the pains which she still suffers. If it is Irma's own fault, it cannot be mine. Should the purpose of the dream be looked for in this quarter?

Irma's Complaints - pains in the neck, abdomen, and stomach; she is chocked by them. pains in the stomach belonged to the symptom complex of my patient, but they were not very prominent; she complained rather of qualms and a feeling of nausea. Pains in the neck and abdomen and constriction of the throat palyed hardly any part in her case. I wonder why I have decided upon this choice of symptoms in the dream; for the moment I cannot discover the reason.

She looks pale and puffy. My patient had always a rosy complexion. I suspect that here another person is being substituted for her. I am startled at the idea that I may have overlooked some organic affection. This, as the reader will redily believe, is a constant fear with the specialist who sees neurotics almost exclusively, and who is accustomed to ascribe to hysteria so many manifestations which other physicians treat as organic.

On the other hand, I am haunted by a faint doubt - I do not know whence it comes - whether my alarm is altogether honest. If Irma's pains are indeed of organic origin, it is not my duty to cure them. My treatment, of course, removes only hysterical pains. It seems to me, in fact, that I wish to find an error in the diagnosis; for then I could not be reproached with failure to effect a cure.

I take her to the window in order to look into her throat. She resists a little, like a woman who has false teeth. I think to myself, she does not need them. i had never had occasion to inspect Irma's oral cavity.The incident in the dream reminds me of an examination, made some time before, of a governess who at first produced an impression of youthful beauty, but who, upon opening her mouth, took certain measures to conceal her denture.

Other memories of medical examinations, and of petty secrets revealed by them, to the embarrasment of both physician and patient, associate themselves with this case - 'She surely does not need them', is perhaps in the first place a compliment to Irma: but I suspect yet another meaning. In a careful analysis one is able to feel whether or not the arriere-pensees which are to be expected have all been exhausted.

Reference: The Interpretation of Dreams: Sigmund Freud.

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