Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/102

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84
THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

thus taught me that a dream may be linked into the psychic concatenation which must be followed backwards into the memory from the pathological idea as a starting-point. The next step was to treat the dream as a symptom, and to apply to it the method of interpretation which had been worked out for such symptoms.

For this a certain psychic preparation of the patient is necessary. The double effort is made with him, to stimulate his attention for his psychic perceptions and to eliminate the critique with which he is ordinarily in the habit of viewing the thoughts which come to the surface in him. For the purpose of self-observation with concentrated attention, it is advantageous that the patient occupy a restful position and close his eyes; he must be explicitly commanded to resign the critique of the thought-formations which he perceives. He must be told further that the success of the psychoanalysis depends upon his noticing and telling everything that passes through his mind, and that he must not allow himself to suppress one idea because it seems to him unimportant or irrelevant to the subject, or another because it seems nonsensical. He must maintain impartiality towards his ideas; for it would be owing to just this critique if he were unsuccessful in finding the desired solution of the dream, the obsession, or the like.

I have noticed in the course of my psychoanalytic work that the state of mind of a man in contemplation is entirely different from that of a man who is observing his psychic processes. In contemplation there is a greater play of psychic action than in the most attentive self-observation; this is also shown by the tense attitude and wrinkled brow of contemplation, in contrast with the restful features of self-observation. In both cases, there must be concentration of attention, but, besides this, in contemplation one exercises a critique, in consequence of which he rejects some of the ideas which he has perceived, and cuts short others, so that he does not follow the trains of thought which they would open; toward still other thoughts he may act in such a manner that they do not become conscious at all—that is to say, they are suppressed before they are perceived. In self-observation, on the other hand, one has only the task of suppressing the