Page:Freud - The history of the psychoanalytic movement.djvu/19

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

analytic interpretation of dreams and the once so highly esteemed art of dream interpretation of the ancients only became clear to me many years afterwards. The most characteristic and significant portion of my dream theory, namely, the reduction of the dream distortion to an inner conflict, to a sort of inner dishonesty, I found later in an author to whom medicine but not philosophy is unknown. I refer to the engineer J. Popper, who had published "Phantasies of a Realist" under the name of Lyonkeus.

The interpretation of dreams became for me a solace and support in those difficult first years of analysis, when I had to master at the same time the technique, the clinic and the therapy of the neuroses, when I stood entirely alone, and in the confusion of problems and the accumulation of difficulties I often feared to lose my orientation and my confidence. It often took a long time before the proof of my assumption, that a neurosis must become comprehensible through analysis, was seen by the perplexed patient, but the dreams, which might be regarded as analogous to the symptoms, almost regularly confirmed this assumption.

Only because of these successes was I in condition to persevere. I have, therefore, acquired the habit of measuring the grasp of a psychological worker by his attitude to the problem of dream interpretation, and I have noticed, with satisfaction, that most of the opponents of psychoanalysis avoided this field altogether, or if they ventured into it, they behaved most awkwardly. The analysis of myself, the need of which soon became apparent to me, I carried out by the aid of a series of my own dreams which led me through all the happenings of my childhood years. Even today I am of the opinion that in the case of a prolific dreamer and a person not too abnormal, this sort of analysis may be sufficient.

By unfurling this developmental history, I believe I have shown what psychoanalysis is, better than I could have done by a systematic presentation of the subject. The special nature of my findings I did not then recognize. I sacrificed, unhesitatingly, my budding popularity as a physician and an extensive practice among nervous patients, because I searched directly for the sexual origin of their