Friday, December 09, 2011

GW Psychiatric Treatment: Dream Interpretations

February 19, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apartment 136
Washington, DC  20008

Suzanne M. Pitts, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry
George Washington University
   Medical Center
2150 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20037

Dear Dr. Pitts:

I believe that an important line of inquiry in my case is the interrelationship of (1) cognition, (2) life history, and (3) fantasy life.

The attached article re shamanism may shed light on such an interrelationship.  The shaman’s cognition is typically characterized by an unusual access to primary process and high reality testing potential (see p. 176).  A typical feature of the life history of the shaman is oral frustration (see p. 185).  Also, shamanistic fantasies follow a typical pattern (see pp. 213-223); shamanistic fantasies or symbols seem to play a recurring role in my dreams.  For example, compare the recurring symbol of architecture and construction in my dreams with the shamanistic Symplegades symbol: “rocks that clash together, the road that opens and closes, and the passage that ‘contracted and expanded like a mouth that was chewing.’”  (p. 217).  Compare also the swimming pool (semen/milk) in the “Dream of the Four Miltons" with the descent into water, a characteristic feature of the basic shamanistic dream.  (see p. 220).  Finally, compare the observation “that the shaman ranges over a ‘mystical geography’ . . . [or] traverses an “emotional geography” [] based on the mythical anatomy of the mother" (see p. 218) with the “journey dream” of mine in which the town of Greensboro represented my father’s body which I traversed.

Put another way, I am suggesting the possibility that the content of my dreams is related to my ability to analyze the dreams (and also to my motive in analyzing them, and also to my reality testing ability and interpersonal relations).  (I am aware that this proposition suggests the logical inference that Freud’s ability and motive in analyzing his dreams was related to the content of his dreams, which would mean that his dreams had a certain atypical content--is this idea tenable?)


Gary Freedman

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