The Dream Frontier
Routledge – 2001 – 336 pages
The Dream Frontier is that rare book that makes available the cumulative wisdom of a century's worth of clinical examination of dreams and then reconfigured that wisdom on the basis of research in cognitive neuroscience. Drawing on psychodynamic theorists and neuroscientific researchers with equal fluency and grace, Mark Blechner introduces the reader to a conversation of the finest minds, from Freud to Jung, from Sullivan to Erikson, from Aserinksy and Kleitman to Hobson, as the work toward an understanding of dreams and dreaming that is both scientifically credible and personally meaningful.
The dream, in Blechner's elegantly conceived overview, offers itself to the dreamer as an answer to a question yet to be asked. Approached in thi open-ended manner, dreams come to reveal the meaning-making systems of the unconscious in the total absence of waking considerations of reality testing and communicability. Systems of dream interpretation arise as helpful, if inherently limited, strategies for apprehending this unconscious quest for meaning. Whereas students will appreciate Blechner's concise reviews of the various schools of dream interpretation, teachers and supervisors will value his astute reexamination of the very process of interpretating dreams, which includes the manner in which group discussion of dreams may be employed to correct for individual interpretive biases.
Elegantly written, lucidly argued, deftly synooptic but never ponderous in tone, The Dream Frontier provides a fresh outlook on the century just passed along with the keys to the antechambers of the new century's reinvestigation of fundamental questions of conscious and unconscious mental life. It transcends the typical limits of interdisciplinary reportage and brings both researcher and clinician to the threshold of a new, mutually enriching exploration of the dream frontier in search of basic answers to basic questions.
"Anyone who thinks, writes, or teaches about dreams, and anyone who works with them clinically, needs to be familiar with this remarkable and engaging book. Mark Blechner's clinically based ideas about dream theory and the use of dreams in treatment are thoughtful, lucid, illuminating, and often startlingly original as well. The Dream Frontier will be taught and read all the way from undergraduate classes to psychoanalytic institutes. It is a contribution that will endure."
- Donnel Stern, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, William Alanson White Institute
"The Dream Frontier offers an exciting excursion into the synthesis of various disciplines: cognitive neuroscience, neurology, clinical psychology and psychiatry, and philosophy in the context of their history during the past 100 years. Blechner addresses his concern with the isolation between scientists studying dreams and clinicians interpreting dreams by challenging both to consider the many frontiers of knowledge currentl involved with dream investigations…Blechner brings a broad intellectual scope to his various topics, using diverse, extensive sources and authors to compare and contrast approaches in developing evidence to support his themes."
- Paula Anne Franklin, Ph.D., Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases
"With psychoanalytic virtuosity and a good deal of originality, Mark Blechner has reformulated dream theory in its relation to the evolving framework of neurocognitive research, neurophysiology, linguistics, and evolutionary theory. In doing so he has provided the clinician with a wide-ranging and detailed approach to interpretive techniques. In 1953 Robert Fleiss wrote The Revival of Interest in Dreams to stimulate the flagging interest of psychoanalysts on dreams. Blechner's The Dream Frontier promises a second revival that now embeds the dream in the rich interdisciplinary matrix it deserves."
- Montague Ullman, M.D., Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiarty, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
I. Introduction and Overview
1. The Dream Frontier
II. New Ways of Thinking About Dreams
2. The Analysis and Creation of Dream Meaning
3. Secondary Revision, Tertiary Revision, and Beyond
4. Who Creates, Has, Remembers, Tells, and Interprets the Dream?
5. We Never Lie in Our Dreams
6. Condensation and Interobjects
7. Oneiric Darwinism
8. Dreams and the Language of Thought
III. Clinical Work With Dreams
9. Vectors of Dream Interpretation
10. How to Analyze Dreams: Fundamental Principles
11. How to Analyze Dreams: Special Topics
12. Homonyms and Other Wordplay in Dreams
13. Dream Acts: Dreams in Analysis as Actions
14. Dream Symbols
15. Kleinian Positions and Dreams
16. The Patient's Dreams and the Countertransference
17. Dreams as Supervision, Dreams in Supervision
18. The Clinical Use of Countertransference Dreams
19. The Reallocation of Madness
IV. Sleep, Dreams, and the Brain
20. Knowing What We Know in Waking and Dreaming
21. What Dreams Can Tell Us About the Brain
22. Endoneuropsychic Perception
Mark J. Blechner, Ph.D., is Training and Supervising Analyst and Teaching Faculty at the William Alanson White Institute and at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. A member of the editorial board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Dr. Blechner also participates in the study group on neuropsychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. He has written numerous articles on dreams and is the editor of Hope and Mortality: Psychodynamic Approaches to AIDS (Analytic Press, 1997).