In a book by Harvard psychologist Richard J. McNally titled Remembering Trauma, the author disputes the value of analyzing the dreams of patients in psychotherapy. He argues that in order to analyze a dream, the psychologist needs to know a lot about a patient, and if the psychologist already knows a lot about the patient, analyzing his dreams will only be redundant. Apparently, if I read him correctly, Professor McNally does not believe that dreams provide novel insights about a patient.
That argument does not sit well with me, though I can't think of a way to dispute it logically. But I did think of the following, which, I believe, serves as a useful analogy.
There are already many fine and exhaustive biographies of Abraham Lincoln. Let us say that someone discovers a cache of hitherto unknown letters written by Lincoln while he was President. Would it make sense to say to a historian who contemplates writing a book about the letters: "So much is already known about Lincoln. Won't a book about President Lincoln's newly-discovered letters simply be redundant?" In all probability, only a non-historian would ask such a question.
Does professor McNally's dismissal of the value of dream analysis say anything about the ultimate value of dream analysis -- or does his observation simply stamp him as a non-psychoanalyst?
Though in defense of Professor McNally I will quote the preface of E. James Lieberman's biography of the analyst Otto Rank. Dr. Lieberman is a retired Washington, DC psychoanalyst/psychiatrist. Dr. Lieberman opens the preface to his book as follows: "As a reader who feels burdened by a surfeit of books, I must justify the production of yet another. Otto Rank gave up writing for a time, saying, 'There is already too much truth in the world--an overproduction which apparently cannot be consumed.' I agree." Dr. Lieberman goes on to justify his writing a biography of Rank titled: Acts of Will: The Life and Work of Otto Rank!