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Avoiding Premature Conclusions: The Use of Dreams to Inform the Analyst’s Unfolding Understanding

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Dreams create unique opportunities and challenges for the child and adolescent psychoanalyst. The psychoanalytic axiom that dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious” (Freud, 1900, p. 608) can exert an unhelpful pressure to understand and interpret dreams prematurely, especially in work with children and adolescents. It may be useful for the analyst who works with children and adolescents to think about dream imagery kaleidoscopically, allowing his own images of the dreamer’s images to float in mind and to move in and out of consciousness in response to other verbalizations, play, behaviors, and shifting countertransferences. I encourage an open-ended process to dream work that tolerates uncertainty and ongoing questions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 2, 2016

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