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The Method Of Dream Interpretation - 4 - Freud

But if I eliminate the dreams of neurotics , which constitute my principal material , I cannot be too fastidious in my treatment of the rest.Only those dreams are left which have been incidentally related to me by healthy persons of my acquaintance, or which I find given as examples in the literature of dream-life. Unfortunately, in all these dreams I am deprived of the analysis without which I cannot find the meaning of the dream.But if I eliminate the dreams of neurotics , which constitute my principal material, I cannot be too fastidious in my treatment of the rest.

Only those dreams are left which have been incidentally related to me by healthy persons of my acquaintance, or which I find given as examples in the literature of dream-life. Unfortunately, in all these dreams I am deprived of the analysis without which I cannot find the meaning of the dream.My mode of procedure is, of course, less easy than that of popular cipher method, which translates the given dream-content by reference to an established key; I, on the contrary, hold that the same dream-content may conceal a different meaning in the case of different persons, or in different connections.

I must, therefore, resort to my own dreams as a source of abundant and convenient material, furnished by a person who is more or less normal, and containing reference to many incidents of everyday life.i shall certainly be confronted with doubts as to the trustworthiness of these 'self-analyses', and it will be said that arbitrariness is by no means excluded in such analyses. In my own judgement, conditions are more likely to be favorable in self-observation than in the observation of others; in any case, it is permissible to investigate how much can be accomplished in the matter of dream-interpretation by means of self-analysis.

There are other difficulties which must be overcome in my own inner self.One has a comprehensible aversion to exposing so many intimate details of one's own psychic life, and one does not feel secure against the misinterpretations of strangers. But one must be able to transcend such considerations. 'Tout psychologiste,'writes Delboeuf 'est oblige de faire l'aveu meme de ses faiblesses s'il croit par la jeter du jour sur quelque probleme obscur.' And I may assume for the reader that his initial interest in the indiscretions which I must commit will very soon give way to an exclusive engrossment in the psychological problems elucidated by them.

 

I shall therefore selec t one of my own dreams for the purpose of elucidating my method of interpretation. Every such dream necessitates a preliminary statement; so that I must now beg the reader to make my interests his own for a time, and to become absorbed, with me, in the most trifling details of my life; for an interest in the hidden significane of dreams imperatively demands just such a transference.I shall therefore selec t one of my own dreams for the purpose of elucidating my method of interpretation.

Every such dream necessitates a preliminary statement; so that I must now beg the reader to make my interests his own for a time, and to become absorbed, with me, in the most trifling details of my life; for an interest in the hidden significane of dreams imperatively demands just such a transference.

Preliminary Statement - In the summer of 1895 i had treated psycho-analytically a young lady who was an intimate friend of mine and of my family. It will be understood that such complicated relations may excite manifold feelings in the physician, and espically the psychotherapists. The personal interest of the physician is greater, but his authority less. If he fails, his friendship with the patient's relatives is in danger of being undermined. In this case, however, the treatment ended in partial success; the patient was cured of her hysterical anxiety, but not of her somatic symtpoms.

At that time I was not quite sure of the criteria which denote the final cure of an hysterical case, and I expected her to accept a solution  which did not seem acceptable to her. In the midst of this disagreement we discontinued the treatment for the summer holidays. One day a younger colleague,one of my most intimate friends, who had visited the patient - Irma - and her family in their country residence, called upon me.

7. However, I will not omit to mention, the qualification of the above statement, that I have practically never reported a complete interpretation of a dream of my own. And I was probably right not to trust too far to the reader's discretion.

I asked him how Irma was, and received the reply: 'She is better, but not quite well.' I realise that these words of my friend Otto's, or the tone of voice in which they were spoken, annoyed me. I thought I heard a reproach in the words, perhaps to the effect that I had promised the patient too much, and - rightly or wrongly - I attributed Otto's apparent 'taking sides' against me to the influence of the pateint's relatives, who, i asumed, had never approved of my treatment.

This disaggreable impression, however, did not become clear to me, nor did I speak of it. That same evening I wrote the clinical history of Irma's case, in order to give it, as though to justify myself, to Dr. M,. a mutual friend, who was at that time the leading personality in our circle. During the night (or rather in the early morning) I had the following dream, which I recorded immediately after waking.

Dream of July 23-24, 1895 A great hall - a number of guests, whom we are receiving - among them Irma, whom I immediately take aside, as though to answer her letter, and to reproach her for not yet accepting the 'solution'. I say to her;'If you still have pains. it is really your own fault.' - She answers:

'If you only knew what pains I have now in the throat, stomach, and abdomen - I am choked by them.' I am startled, and look at her. She looks pale and puffy. I think that after all I must be overlooking some organic affection. I take her to the window and look into her throaty. She offers some resistance to this, like a woman who has a set of false teeth. I think, surely, she doesn't need them-The mouth then opens wide, and I find a large white spot on the right, and elsewhere i see extensive greyish-white scabs adhering to to the right, and elsewhere I see extensive greyish-white scabs adhering to curiously curled formations, which are evidently shaped like the turbinal bones of the nose. -

I quickly call Dr M., who repeats the examination and confirms it. ..Dr M . looks quite unlike his usual self; he is very pale, he limps, and his chin is clean shaven.....Now my friend Otto, too, is standing beside her, and my friend Leopold percusses her covered chest, and says; 'She has a dullness below, on the left.' and also calls attention to an infiltrated portion of skin on the left shoulder( which I can feel, in spite of the dress)...M. says: 'There's no doubt that it's an infection, but it doesn't matter; dysentry will follow and the poison will be eliminated.'....

We know, too, precisely how the infection originated. My friend Otto, not long ago, gave her, when she was feeling unwell, an injection of a preparation of propyl...propyls..propionic acid...trimethylamin ( the formula of which I see before me, printed in heavy type.....One doesn't give such injections so rashly....Probably, too, the syringe was not clean.

8. This is the first dream which I subjected to an exhaustive interpretation.

Reference: The Interpretation of Dreams: Sigmund Freud.

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