A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis

By Sigmund Freud | Go to book overview

ELEVENTH LECTURE

THE DREAM

The Dream-Work

IF you have mastered dream censorship and symbolic representation, you are, to be sure, not yet adept in dream distortion, but you are nevertheless in a position to understand most dreams. For this you employ two mutually supplementary methods, call up the associations of the dreamer until you have penetrated from the substitute to the actual, and from your own knowledge supply the meaning for the symbol. Later we shall discuss certain uncertainties which show themselves in this process.

We are now in a position to resume work which we attempted, with very insufficient means at an earlier stage, when we studied the relation between the manifest dream elements and their latent actualities, and in so doing established four such main relationships: that of a part of the whole, that of approach or allusion, the symbolic relationship and plastic word representation. We shall now attempt the same on a larger scale, by comparing the manifest dream content as a whole, with the latent dream which we found by interpretation.

I hope you will never again confuse these two. If you have achieved this, you have probably accomplished more in the understanding of the dream than the majority of the readers of my Interpretation of Dreams. Let me remind you once more that this process, which changes the latent into the manifest dream, is called dream-work. Work which proceeds in the opposite direction, from the manifest dream to the latent, is our work of interpretation. The work of interpretation attempts to undo the dream-work. Infantile dreams that are recognized as evident wish fulfillments nevertheless have undergone some dream-work, namely, the transformation of the wish into reality, and generally, too, of thoughts into visual pictures. Here we

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