chapter  7
21 Pages

The Stuff of Dreams

WithHelen Walker Puner, Erich Fromm, Paul Roazen, S. P. Puner

The theory of repression became what Sigmund Freud called the foundation-stone of his understanding of the neuroses. It led inevitably to the concept of unconscious psychic activity which was basic to the new medical discipline he was evolving. Psychoanalytic treatment itself was a long and wearisome process, and Freud must often have doubted the validity of his assumption that a neurosis could be cured by it. But the dreams, which he regarded as similar to symptoms, lent themselves readily to comprehension, and thus gave him hope. His success with dream interpretation, he once said, was the only thing which made him persevere through the difficult years. Die Traumdeutung led psychoanalysis far from the analytic chamber, into fields of universal interest. Freud himself asserted that his discovery of the meaningfulness of dreams was “a new-found land, which has been reclaimed from the regions of folklore and mysticism.”