Dreaming : Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams
Human Sciences Press, Inc., New York City

Volume 5, Number 4, December 1995


Making Connections in a Safe Place: Is Dreaming Psychotherapy?
Ernest Hartmann
Page 213

Dreaming "Accidentally" of Harold Pinter: The Interplay of Metaphor and Metonymy in Dreams
Bert O. States
Page 229

Dreams and Current Concerns: A Narrative Co-Constitutive Approach
Daniel Deslauriers and John Cordts
Page 247
Available online

How Might We Explain the Parallels Between Freud's 1895 Irma Dream and His 1923 Cancer?
Thomas R. Hersh
Page 267


The Wilderness of Dreams: Exploring the Religious Meanings of Dreams in Modern Western Culture by Kelly Bulkeley
Reviewed by Robert L. Katz
Page 289

Hartmann, Ernest.
Making connections in a safe place: Is dreaming psychotherapy?
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 5(4) 213-228, Dec 1995.


Many similarities are noted between the process of dreaming—especially dreaming in REM sleep—and the process of psychotherapy as usually practiced in the many dynamic psychotherapies deriving from Freud's work. Dreaming and psychotherapy both involve freeing of associations, prevention of "acting out," and making psychological connections in many different senses, all occurring in a safe environment. In REM sleep—the best though not the only setting for dreaming—safety is provided by the bed and by muscular paralysis; in therapy, by the relationship with the therapist (alliance), the setting and the rules of conduct. The essence of this similarity is captured in the phrase "making connections in a safe place." The similarity can be seen particularly clearly in the period following an acute trauma. Dreaming and therapy each give the victim (patient) a safe place in which to work. The work consists of making connections between the trauma and other relevant memories, themes, and issues so that the trauma and its associated disturbing affect are eventually integrated into the patient's life. It is argued that the similarity of dreaming and psychotherapy is not simply an interesting metaphor, but a deeper relationship which can teach us something useful both about therapy and about dreaming, and suggests a "quasi-therapeutic" function of dreaming: Dreaming makes connections more broadly and more "peripherally" than does typical waking thought; making connections contextualizes the dominant emotions of the dreamer.

Key Words: dreaming; psychotherapy; psychoanalysis; trauma.


States, Bert O.
Dreaming "accidentally" of Harold Pinter: The interplay of metaphor and metonymy in dreams.
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 5(4) 229-245, Dec 1995.


This paper examines a personal dream that offers a coalescence of dream, waking, and fictional experience. Essentially, the dream is used as an occasion for discussing the role of metaphor and metonymy in the production of orderly dream narratives, or meaningful dreams (Meaning and formal organization are considered as virtually coterminous terms). The paper proposes that metaphor can only occur, in and out of dreams, by virtue of subjacent metonymic chains, or networks that are composed of partly resemblant contents, and that secondary day residue, in some cases, may get into dreams on the coattails of metonymic association with a primary image. It is suggested that dreams may create meaning rather than arising from meanings that are already in place as part of the dream thought, and that any meanings dreams may have are dependent on the prevailing emotion or attitude of the dreamer during the dream itself. The relation of the dream process to surrealistic imagery is examined.

Key Words: metaphor; metonymy; meaning; day residue; Harold Pinter.


Deslauriers, Daniel; Cordts, John.
Dreams and current concerns: A narrative co-constitutive approach.
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 5(4) 247-265, Dec 1995.


In a collaborative research situation, dreamers were asked to reflect on the meaning of their own dreams in relationship to self-selected current concerns. Dreamers gave a description of their current concerns in two different modes: 1) an abstract description (abstract mode) and 2) a concrete event (story-mode); during the following week, they were asked to note dreams that relate to the concerns (spontaneous mode of expression). An open-ended interview served as a collaborative mean to explore the relationship between the abstract and narrative modes of expression and the dream. A narrative approach was used to highlight particular structures of experience in each mode of expression using a case-example. The analysis suggests the possibility that in dream understanding, the focus on life concern is more easily accessible in a story- like manner. This supports the importance of life story and of reflection on authorship in therapeutic encounter.

Key Words: dream; current concerns; meaning attribution; narrative; phenomenology.

Available online

Hersh, Thomas R.
How might we explain the parallels between Freud's 1895 Irma dream and his 1923 cancer?
Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Vol 5(4) 267-287, Dec 1995.


Freud's 1895 "Irma" dream—the first he ever submitted to a detailed analysis, the dream he used as the "specimen dream" in The Interpretation of Dreams—seems to have contained both images of his 1923 cancer as well as a reasonable "theory" as to its etiology. In this paper, four possible explanations are discussed. There is reason to think that some dreams reflect biological states and that dreams may eventually be used to help in early diagnosis of physical illnesses. The "Irma" dream is seen, in part, as a warning "sent" by Freud's body. This helps explain Freud's fascination with the dream. From this angle (and there are many other angles), Freud's theorizing about dreams represented his attempt to become conscious of that which would eventually kill him. The discussion section focuses on how connections between dreams and disease states have been, and might further be, studied.

Key Words: prodromal dreams; Freud's "Irma" dream; biology of dreaming.


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