Int J Psychoanal 2004 Aug;85(Pt 4):857-77
It is the art of psychoanalysis in the making, a process inventing itself as it goes, that is the subject of this paper. The author articulates succinctly how he conceives of psychoanalysis, and offers a detailed clinical illustration. He suggests that each analysand unconsciously (and ambivalently) is seeking help in dreaming his 'night terrors' (his undreamt and undreamable dreams) and his 'nightmares' (his dreams that are interrupted when the pain of the emotional experience being dreamt exceeds his capacity for dreaming). Undreamable dreams are understood as manifestations of psychotic and psychically foreclosed aspects of the personality; interrupted dreams are viewed as reflections of neurotic and other non-psychotic parts of the personality. The analyst's task is to generate conditions that may allow the analysand--with the analyst's participation--to dream the patient's previously undreamable and interrupted dreams. A significant part of the analyst's participation in the patient's dreaming takes the form of the analyst's reverie experience. In the course of this conjoint work of dreaming in the analytic setting, the analyst may get to know the analysand sufficiently well for the analyst to be able to say something that is true to what is occurring at an unconscious level in the analytic relationship. The analyst's use of language contributes significantly to the possibility that the patient will be able to make use of what the analyst has said for purposes of dreaming his own experience, thereby dreaming himself more fully into existence.