A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis

By Sigmund Freud | Go to book overview

TENTH LECTURE

THE DREAM

Symbolism in the Dream

WE have discovered that the distortion of dreams, a disturbing element in our work of understanding them, is the result of a censorious activity which is directed against the unacceptable of the unconscious wish-impulses. But, of course, we have not maintained that censorship is the only factor which is to blame for the dream distortion, and we may actually make the discovery in a further study of the dream that other items play a part in this result. That is, even if the dream censorship were eliminated we might not be in a position to understand the dreams; the actual dream still might not be identical with the latent dream thought.

This other item which makes the dream unintelligible, this new addition to dream distortion, we discover by considering a gap in our technique. I have already admitted that for certain elements of the dream, no associations really occur to the person being analyzed. This does not happen so often as the dreamers maintain; in many cases the association can be forced by persistence. But still there are certain instances in which no association is forthcoming, or if forced does not furnish what we expected. When this happens in the course of a psychoanalytic treatment, then a particular meaning may be attached thereto, with which we have nothing to do here. It also occurs, however, in the interpretation of the dreams of a normal person or in interpreting one's own dreams. Once a person is convinced that in these cases no amount of forcing of associations will avail, he will finally make the discovery that the unwishedfor contingency occurs regularly in certain dream elements, and he will begin to recognize a new order of things there, where at first he believed he had come across a peculiar exception to our technique.

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