Dreams and History: The Interpretation of Dreams from Ancient Greece to Modern Psychoanalysis

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Dreams and History: The Interpretation of Dreams from Ancient Greece to Modern Psychoanalysis

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Steve Oberhelman Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Dreams are universal, but their perceived significance and conceptual framework change over time. This book provides new perspectives on the history of dreams and dream interpretation in western culture and thought. Dreams and History contains important new scholarship on Freud's Interpretation of Dreams and subsequent psychoanalytical approaches fro What is a dream?

Dreams and History contains important new scholarship on Freud's Interpretation of Dreams and subsequent psychoanalytical approaches from distinguished historians, psychoanalysts, historians of science and anthropologists. This collection celebrates and evaluates Freud's landmark intellectual production, whilst placing it in historical context. A modern view of psychoanalysis, it also discusses the controversial idea of the role of the external world on the shaping of unconscious mental contents. In highly accessible language it proceeds through a series of richly illustrated case studies, providing new source materials and debates about the causes, meanings and consequences of dreams, past and present: from Victorian anthropological exploration of ancient Greek dream sources to peasant interpretation of dream-life in communist Russia; from concepts of the dream in sixteenth-century England to visual images in nineteenth-century symbolist painting in France.

Dreams and History will fascinate those interested not only in psychoanalysis and history, but also arts, culture, humanities and literature.

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Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Dreams and History , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Jung believed the psyche to be a self-regulating organism in which conscious attitudes were likely to be compensated for unconsciously within the dream by their opposites.

Learn Sigmund Freud's Dream Interpretation Method - Psychoanalysis - Free Association

The self aspires to tell the ego what it does not know, but it should. This dialogue involves fresh memories, existing obstacles, and future solutions. Jung proposed two basic approaches to analyzing dream material: the objective and the subjective. Jung argued that the subjective approach is much more difficult for the dreamer to accept, but that in most good dream-work, the dreamer will come to recognize that the dream characters can represent an unacknowledged aspect of the dreamer. Thus, if the dreamer is being chased by a crazed killer, the dreamer may come eventually to recognize his own homicidal impulses.

Jung believed that archetypes such as the animus , the anima , the shadow and others manifested themselves in dreams, as dream symbols or figures. Such figures could take the form of an old man, a young maiden or a giant spider as the case may be. Each represents an unconscious attitude that is largely hidden to the conscious mind. Although an integral part of the dreamer's psyche, these manifestations were largely autonomous and were perceived by the dreamer to be external personages.

Acquaintance with the archetypes as manifested by these symbols serve to increase one's awareness of unconscious attitudes, integrating seemingly disparate parts of the psyche and contributing to the process of holistic self-understanding he considered paramount. Jung believed that material repressed by the conscious mind, postulated by Freud to comprise the unconscious, was similar to his own concept of the shadow, which in itself is only a small part of the unconscious.

Jung cautioned against blindly ascribing meaning to dream symbols without a clear understanding of the client's personal situation. He described two approaches to dream symbols: the causal approach and the final approach. Thus, a sword may symbolize a penis, as may a snake. In the final approach, the dream interpreter asks, "Why this symbol and not another? A snake representing a penis is alive, dangerous, perhaps poisonous and slimy. The final approach will tell additional things about the dreamer's attitudes. Technically, Jung recommended stripping the dream of its details and presenting the gist of the dream to the dreamer.

This was an adaptation of a procedure described by Wilhelm Stekel , who recommended thinking of the dream as a newspaper article and writing a headline for it. Although Jung acknowledged the universality of archetypal symbols, he contrasted this with the concept of a sign—images having a one-to-one connotation with their meaning. His approach was to recognize the dynamism and fluidity that existed between symbols and their ascribed meaning. Symbols must be explored for their personal significance to the patient, instead of having the dream conform to some predetermined idea.

This prevents dream analysis from devolving into a theoretical and dogmatic exercise that is far removed from the patient's own psychological state. In the service of this idea, he stressed the importance of "sticking to the image"—exploring in depth a client's association with a particular image. This may be contrasted with Freud's free associating which he believed was a deviation from the salience of the image.

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He describes for example the image "deal table. Jung would ask a patient to imagine the image as vividly as possible and to explain it to him as if he had no idea as to what a "deal table" was. Jung stressed the importance of context in dream analysis. Jung stressed that the dream was not merely a devious puzzle invented by the unconscious to be deciphered, so that the true causal factors behind it may be elicited.

Dreams were not to serve as lie detectors, with which to reveal the insincerity behind conscious thought processes. Dreams, like the unconscious, had their own language.

As representations of the unconscious, dream images have their own primacy and mechanics. Jung believed that dreams may contain ineluctable truths, philosophical pronouncements, illusions, wild fantasies, memories, plans, irrational experiences and even telepathic visions. Jung would argue that just as we do not doubt the importance of our conscious experience, then we ought not to second guess the value of our unconscious lives.

In , Calvin S. Hall developed a theory of dreams in which dreaming is considered to be a cognitive process. For example, if one dreams of being attacked by friends, this may be a manifestation of fear of friendship; a more complicated example, which requires a cultural metaphor, is that a cat within a dream symbolizes a need to use one's intuition. For English speakers, it may suggest that the dreamer must recognize that there is "more than one way to skin a cat," or in other words, more than one way to do something. In the s, Ann Faraday and others helped bring dream interpretation into the mainstream by publishing books on do-it-yourself dream interpretation and forming groups to share and analyze dreams.

Faraday focused on the application of dreams to situations occurring in one's life. For instance, some dreams are warnings of something about to happen—e. Outside of such context, it could relate to failing some other kind of test. Or it could even have a " punny " nature, e. Faraday noted that "one finding has emerged pretty firmly from modern research, namely that the majority of dreams seem in some way to reflect things that have preoccupied our minds during the previous day or two. In the s and s, Wallace Clift and Jean Dalby Clift further explored the relationship between images produced in dreams and the dreamer's waking life.

Their books identified patterns in dreaming, and ways of analyzing dreams to explore life changes, with particular emphasis on moving toward healing and wholeness. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For similar terms, see Dream Interpretation album and Interpretation of dreams disambiguation. Important figures. Important works. Schools of thought. Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. Caillois Eds.