Dreaming Men Are Haunted Men Essay

2380 words - 10 pages

“Dreaming men are haunted men,” wrote Stephen St. Vincent Benet, and the two greatest classical theoreticians of psychoanalysis and the importance of dreams would have agreed with the poet. But Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung would have differed – and indeed in their lifetimes often did differ – on what it is that haunts us in our dreams. This paper examines the differences in Freud’s and Jung’s theories on the interpretation of dreams. Because their theories on the importance and meaning of dreams cannot be extricated from the rest of their work, a brief overview is first given of the context of the importance of dreams to each researcher. After providing this needed background, the paper ...view middle of the document...

Resistance he defined as the unconscious defense against awareness of repressed experiences in order to avoid the resulting anxiety. Both the mechanisms of resistance and repression are in abeyance or at least substantially weakened during sleep, and experiences and feelings come to the fore in dreams that during wakening hours are kept in check (Hogensuw, 1994, p. 98).
Freud traced the operation of unconscious processes, using the free associations of the patient to guide him in the interpretation of dreams and slips of speech, and from this point on in both his practice and his theoretical writings dreams would play an important part in Freud’s conception of the ways in which the human psyche works (Hogensuw, 1994, p. 103).
Dream analysis led Freud to his discoveries of infantile sexuality and of the so-called Oedipus complex, which constitutes the erotic attachment of the child for the parent of the opposite sex, together with hostile feelings toward the other parent. In these years he also developed the theory of transference, the process by which emotional attitudes, established originally toward parental figures in childhood, are transferred in later life to others. Sometimes the pathways of these transferences can be traced through a person’s dreams.
The end of this five-year period of work was marked by the appearance of Freud's most important work, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). In this essential treatise Freud analyzed many of his own dreams recorded in the 3-year period of his self-analysis, begun in 1897. This work expounds all the fundamental concepts underlying psychoanalytic technique and doctrine and its influence on all of his later work (as well as in much of the criticism leveled at him) is clear in the book. The time of the publication of this book may also be as something of a personal and professional calm-before-the-storm for Freud, whose works would become increasingly controversial, losing him a number of supporters who had felt his work on dreams was both important and valid (Kaufman, 1992, p. 48).
In 1902 Freud was appointed a full professor at the University of Vienna, an honor granted not in recognition of his contributions but as a result of the efforts of a highly influential patient. The medical world still regarded his work with hostility, and his next writings, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1904) and Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory (1905), only increased this antagonism. As a result Freud continued to work virtually alone in what he termed “splendid isolation.” By 1906, however, a small number of pupils and followers had gathered around Freud.
After the onset of World War I Freud devoted little time to clinical observation and concentrated on the application of his theories to the interpretation of religion, mythology, art, and literature. He had abandoned the study of dreams as a primary tool through which to investigate the power of the unconscious....

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