The Journal of Abnormal Psychology Volume 10

Scanned by Charles Keller with OmniPage Professional OCR software The Journal of Abnormal Psychology EDITOR MORTON PRINCE, M.D.. LL.D. Tufts College Medical School ASSISTANT EDITOR FOR BRITISH ISLES ERNEST JONES, M.D., M.R.C.P. London ASSOCIATE EDITORS HUGO MUNSTERBERG, M.D., PH.D. Harvard University JAMES J. PUTNAM, M.D. Harvard Medical School AUGUST HOCH, M.D. New York State Hospitals
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  • 1915-1916
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The Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Tufts College Medical School



Harvard University

Harvard Medical School

New York State Hospitals


Cornell University Medical School

Johns Hopkins University

Oxford University





Reprinted with the permission of The American Psychological Association, Inc

Volumes 1-15 of this title were published as The Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Volumes 16-19 of this title were published as The Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology.

first reprinting, 1964

Printed in the United States of America


Hysteria as a Weapon in Marital Conflicts. By. A. Myerson, M. D. The Analysis of a Nightmare. By Raymond Bellamy Analysis of a Single Dream as a Means of Unearthing the Genesis of Psychopathic Affections. By Meyer Solomon, M. D. An Act of Everyday Life Treated as a Pretended Dream and Interpreted by Psychoanalysis. By Raymond Bellamy
Freud and His School (Concluded). By A. W. Van Rentergham, M. D. Anger as a primary Emotion, and the Application of Freudian Mechanism to its Phenomena. By G. Stanley Hall
The Necessity of Metaphysics. By James J. Putnam, M. D. Aspects of Dream Life. The Contribution of a Woman Remarks Upon Dr. Coriat’s Paper, “Stammering as a Psychoneurosis.” By Meyer Solomon, M. D. Constructive Delusions. By John T. MacCurdy, M. D., and Walter L. Treadway, M. D.
Socrates in the Light of Modern Psychopathology. By Morris J. Karpas, M. D. Psychoneuroses Among Primitive Tribes. By Isador H. Coriat, M. D. Two Interesting Cases of Illusion of Perception. By George F. Arps, M. D. A Psychological Analysis of Stuttering. By Walter B. Swift, M. D. The Origin of Supernatural Explanations. By Tom A. Williams, M. D. Data Concerning Delusions of Personality. By E. E. Southard, M. D. Sixth Annual Meeting of the American Psychopathological Association. Discussion.
The Sex Worship and Symbolism of Primitive Races. By Sanger Brown II., M. D. The Psychoanalytic Treatment of Hystero-Epilepsy. By L. E. Emerson, Ph. D. On the Genesis and Meaning of Tics. By Meyer Solomon, M. D. Scientific Method in the Interpretation of Dreams. By Lydiard Horton A Case of Possession. By Donald Fraser
Sex Worship and Symbolism of Primitive Races (Concluded) by Sanger Brown II., M. D.


(Figures with asterisks indicate original articles. Figures without asterisks indicate abstracts, reviews, society reports, correspondence and discussions. The names of the authors ar given in parenthesis).

American Psychopathological Association, Sixth Annual Meeting Anger (Hall)*
Backward Child (Morgan)
Brain, Study of (Fiske)
Character (Shand)
Christianity, (Hannay)
Continuity (Lodge)
Criminal Types (Wetzel & Wilmanns) Daily Life, Psychology of (Seashore)
Delinquent, (Healy)
Delusions, Constructive (MacCurdy and Treadway)* Development and Purpose (Hobhouse)
Dream Analysis (Solomon)*
Dream Life (Anon)*
Dreams, Interpretation of (Horton)* Dreams, Meaning of (Coriat)*
Everyday life, Psycho Analysis of (Bellamy)* Feeble Mindedness (Goddard)
Freud and his School (Van Renterghem)* Human Motives (Putnam)
Hysteria as a Weapon (Meyerson)*
Hystero-Epilepsy, Psychoanalytic Treatment of (Emerson)* Laughter (Bergson)
Mental Disorders (Harrington)
Metaphysics, Necessity of (Putnam)* Nightmare, Analysis of (Bellamy)*
Perception, Illusions of (Arps)*
Personality, Delusions of (Southard)* Phipps Psychiatric clinic
Possession (Fraser)
Post-traumatic Nervous and Mental Disorders (Benon) Primitive Races, Sex Worship and Symbolism in (Brown)* Primitive Tribes, Psychoneuroses among (Coriat)* Psychical, Adventurings in (Bruce)
Psychobiology, (Dunlap)
Psychology, Educational (Thorndike) Psychology, General and Applied (Munsterberg) Psychoneuroses, Treatment of *
Sexual Tendencies in Monkeys, etc (Hamilton) Sleep and Sleeplessness (Bruce)
Social Psychology (McDougall)

Socrates, Psychopathology of (Karpas)* Stammering, Remarks upon Dr. Coriat’s paper (Solomon)* Stuttering, Experimental Study of (Fletcher) Stuttering, Psychological Analysis of (Swift)* Supernatural Explanations (Williams)*
Tics (Solomon)*

Arps, George F.
Bellamy, Raymond
Brown, Sanger
Carrington, H.
Castle, W. E.
Clark, L. Pierce
Coriat, Isador H.
Dearborn, George V. N.
Elliott, R. M.
Emerson, L. E.
Fraser, Donald
Hall, G. Stanley
Harrington, Milton A.
Horton, Lydiard.
Holt, E. B.
Jones, Ernest
Karpas, Morns J.
MacCurdy, John T.
Myerson, A.
Putnam, James J.
Solomon, Meyer
Southard, E. E.
Swift, Walter B.
Taylor, E. W.
Treadway, Walter L.
Troland, Leonard T.
Van Renterghem, A. W.
Van Renterghem, A. W.
Williams, Tom A.




Clinical Director and Pathologist, Taunton State Hospital Taunton State Hospital Papers, 1914-5

THE progress in our understanding of hysteria has come largely through the elaboration of the so-called mechanisms by which the symptoms arise. These mechanisms have been declared to reside or to have their origin in the subconsciousness or coconsciousness. The mechanisms range all the way from the conception of Janet that the personality is disintegrated owing to lowering of the psychical tension to that of Freud, who conceives all hysterical symptoms as a result of dissociation arising through conflicts between repressed sexual desires and experiences and the various censors organized by the social life. Without in any way intending to set up any other general mechanism or to enter into the controversy raging concerning the Freudian mechanism, which at present is the storm center, the writer reports a case in which the origin of the symptoms can be traced to a more simple and fairly familiar mechanism, one which, in its essence, is merely an intensification of a normal reaction of many women to marital difficulties. In other words, women frequently resort to measures which bring about an acute discomfort upon the part of their mate, through his pity, compassion and self-accusation. They resort to tears as their proverbial weapon for gaining their point. In this case the hysterical symptoms seem to have been the substitute for tears in a domestic battle.

Case History–Patient is a woman, aged thirty-eight, of American birth and ancestry. Family history is negative so far as mental disease is concerned, but there seems to have been a decadence of stock as manifested in the steady dropping of her family in the social scale. She is one of two children, there being a brother, who, from all accounts, is a fairly industrious, but poverty-stricken farmer. Her early childhood was spent in a small village in Massachusetts. She received but little education, largely because she had no desire to study and no aptitude for learning, although she is by no means feeble-minded. The menstrual periods started at fourteen, and have been without any noteworthy accompanying phenomena ever since. History is negative so far as other diseases are concerned. She worked as a domestic and in factories until she was married for the first time at the age of twenty. She had no children by this marriage. It is stated on good authority that she took preventive measures against conception and if pregnant induced abortion by drugs and mechanical measures. At the end of eight years there was a divorce. Just which one of the partners was at fault is impossible to state, but that there was more than mere incompatibility is evident by the reticence of all concerned. Shortly afterward, she married her present husband with whom she has lived for about nine years. He is a steady drinker, but is a good workman, has never been discharged, and, apparently, his drinking habits do not interfere with the main tenor of his life. He lives with the patient in a small house of which they occupy two garret rooms, meagerly furnished, though without evidence of dire poverty.

From her fifteenth year the patient has been subject to fainting spells. By all accounts they come on usually after quarrels, disagreements or disappointments. They are not accompanied by blanching, by clonic or tonic movements of any kind, they last for uncertain periods ranging from five minutes to an hour or more, and consciousness does not seem to be totally lost. In addition she has vomiting spells, these likewise occurring when balked in her desires. She is subject to headaches, usually on one half of the head, but frequently frontal. There is no regular period of occurrence of these headaches except that there is also some relation to quarrels, etc. On several occasions the patient has lost her voice for short periods ranging from a few minutes to several hours following particularly stormy domestic scenes.

On July 29 of this year she was suddenly paralyzed. That is to say, she was unable to move the right arm, the right leg, the right side of the face, and she lost the power of speech entirely; there was complete aphonia. This “stroke” was not accompanied by unconsciousness, but was preceded by severe headache and much nausea. During the three weeks that followed she remained in bed, recovering only the function of the arm. Her husband fed her by forcing open her mouth with a spoon. She did not lose control of the sphincters. As she manifested no other progress to recovery despite the administration of drugs, numerous-rubbings and liniments, the physician in charge called the writer into consultation.

Physical Examination Aug. 20–A well-developed, fairly well nourished woman, appearing to be about thirty-five years of age. Face wears an anxious expression and she shuns the examiner’s direct gaze. Movements of the right hand and arm are now fairly free. There is no appreciable difficulty in any of its functions according to tests made for ataxia, strength, recognition of form, finer movements, etc., in fact, she uses this hand to write with, as she cannot talk at all. Such writing is free, unaccompanied by errors in spelling, there is no elision of syllables and no difficulty in finding the words desired. The face is symmetrical on the two sides. There is no evidence of paralysis of the facial muscles. In fact, the cranial nerves, by detailed examination, are intact, except in so far as respiration and speech are concerned. The right leg is held entirely spastic, the muscles on both sides of the joints, that is, flexors and extensors, being equally contracted. It is impossible to bend this leg at any joint except by the use of very great force. The reflexes everywhere are lively but are equal on the two sides, and none of the abnormal reflexes is present, including in this term Babinski, Gordon and Oppenheim.

Sensation–There is very markedly diminished reaction to pin prick all over the right side, including face, arm, chest, leg and tongue. In some places complete analgesia obtains. Reaction to touch is likewise diminished and recognition of heat and cold is impaired.

Speech–There is complete loss of the ability to make any sound, either voiced or whispered; that is to say, there is complete aphonia,– there is loss of all voice. The patient understands everything, however, and writes her answers to questions rapidly and correctly. She can read whatever is written, there is no difficulty in the recognition of objects, no evidence of any aphasia whatever.

The diagnosis–hysteria–can hardly be doubted. The history of headaches, fainting spells without marked impairment of consciousness, vomiting spells, hemianaesthesia, hemianalgesia, complete aphonia and an exaggerated paralysis, not only of the right leg, but of the ability to thrust out the tongue, while at the same time all other cranial functions were unimpaired together with the apparent health of the individual in every other respect, make up a syndrome hardly to pass unrecognized.

Treatment–The patient was entirely inaccessible to direct suggestion, for no amount of assurance that her leg was all right enabled her to move it. When such suggestions were made, she shook her head firmly and conclusively, and this is true of suggestions concerning speech. This point is of importance in the consideration of the mechanism. Attempts at hypnotism failed ingloriously. Psychoanalysis was deferred for the time, and recourse was had to indirect suggestion and re-education.

The first function to be restored was the power of bending the leg which hitherto had been held entirely spastic. The patient was assured that while she had lost the power of using the limb, a little relaxation of the muscles of the front of the leg would permit it to be bent. Her attention was distracted while at the same time a firm, steady pressure was put upon the leg above and below the knee joint and advantage taken of every change in the tone of the muscles involved in keeping the leg extended. Little by little the leg was bent until finally it was completely flexed, this for the first time in three weeks. Her attention was called to this fact and she was assured that upon the physician’s next attempt to bend her leg, resistance would be lessened and she would be able to aid somewhat as well. This proved true. Then the leg was only partly supported by the physician while the patient was assured that with his help she would be able to bend it more freely. From this, she passed on to the ability to move the leg without any assistance on the part of the writer. After having been given exercise in bending the leg for some twenty or thirty times, with complete restoration of this ability, she was induced to get out of bed, and while standing erect she was suddenly released by the physician. She swayed to and fro in a rather perilous manner but did not fall. Finally, by gradation of tasks set, by a judicious combination of encouragement and command, she was enabled to walk. She was then put to bed and assured that upon the physician’s next visit she would be taught to walk freely. Meanwhile, the husband was instructed that he must not allow her to stay in bed more than an hour at a time and that she must come to the table for her meals.

On the physician’s next visit, two days later, it was found that the husband had not been able to induce his wife to come to the table, and that he had been unable to get her to walk. The physician then commanded her to get out of bed, which she did with great effort. She was then put back to bed and instructed to get up more freely and without such effort, demonstration being a visual one, in that she was shown how best to accomplish the task set. Finally, at the end of the visit, she was walking quite freely and promised in writing, for she had not as yet learned to talk, that she would eat at the table.

The next day instruction was commenced along the lines of speech. Upon being asked to thrust out her tongue, that organ was protruded only a short distance, and she claimed, in writing, to be unable to protrude it further. Thereupon it was taken hold of by a towel and alternately withdrawn from and replaced into the mouth. After a short period of such exercise she was enabled to thrust the tongue in and out. She was then instructed to breathe more freely; that is to say, to take short inspirations and to make long expirations, this in preparation for speech. She was unable to do this, the expiration being short, jerky and interrupted. Thereupon the examiner placed his two hands, one on each side of her chest, instructed her to inspire, and when she was instructed to expire forced his hands against her ribs in order to complete the expiratory act. After about fifteen or twenty minutes of this combination of instruction and help the patient was able to breathe by herself and freely. She was then instructed to make the sound “e” at the end of expiration. This she was unable to do at first, but upon persistence and passive placing of her mouth in the proper position for the sound, she was able to whisper “e.” From this she rapidly went on to the other vowel sounds. Then the aspirate “h” was added, later the explosives, “p,” etc., until at the end of about two hours she was enabled to whisper anything desired. Her husband was instructed not to allow her to use her pencil any more, and she promised faithfully to enter into whispered conversation with him, although it was evident that she promised this with reluctance.

Upon the next visit, two days later, she was still whispering, and when asked if she could talk aloud, shook her head and whispered “No,” that she was sure she could not. Efforts to have her make the sound “a,” or any of the vowels in a voiced manner failed completely. She was then instructed to cough. Although it is evident that a cough is a voiced sound, she was able to do this, in a very low and indistinct manner. She was then instructed to add the sound “e” at the end of her cough. This she did, but with difficulty. Finally, after much the same manoeuvering which has been indicated in the account of how she was instructed to whisper, she talked freely and well. When this was accomplished the husband was instructed to have her dress herself and to take her to: some place of amusement, and to keep her out of doors almost continuously.

At all times the patient had complained of a pain in her side which she claimed was the root of all her trouble. It had been “doctored,” to use her term, by all the physicians in the city and, it was alleged, came after she had been lifting a paralyzed old lady in the house across the way. Despite all treatment this pain had not disappeared and the various diagnoses made–strain, liver trouble, nervous ache had not sufficed to console the patient or to relieve her. There was no local tenderness, no pain upon movement, but merely a steady ache. No physical basis whatever for this trouble could be found. Her medicine for the relief of it was discontinued, and so, too, were certain medicines she had been obtaining for sleep.

Upon each visit the husband and wife had been informed by the physician that he did not believe the trouble was organic in its nature, that he believed it depended upon some ideas that the patient had, and that, furthermore, it was the result of some mental irritation, compared for the purpose of fixing the point to a festering sore and which, if removed, would permanently eliminate the liability of such seizures. The patient and her husband were informed that the physician intended to delve to the bottom of this trouble and, by deferring investigation as to its exact nature until the symptoms had practically disappeared, a way was cleared to obtain their complete confidence, and at the same time to overcome any unwillingness to accept a psychical explanation for such palpable physical ills. This latter point is of importance in dealing with uneducated persons. For the most part, they are intensely practical and materialistic, and a mere idea does not seem to them to account for paralysis although, of course, such skepticism is usually accompanied by superstitious credulity along other lines. Moreover, by establishing himself as a sort of miracle worker (for so the cure was regarded), it would be understood that curiosity was not the basis for the investigation into the domestic life of the patient and her husband, but that a desire to do more good inspired it.

The physician started his investigation with the statement that he knew from past experience that some conflict was going on between husband and wife; that there was some source of irritation which caused these outbursts of symptoms on the part of the patient, and that unless they told him what was behind the matter his help would be limited to the relief of the present symptoms. It was firmly stated that any denial of such discord would not be believed, and that only a complete confidence would be helpful.

The patient, who had been listening to this statement with lowered eyes and nervously intertwining fingers, then burst out as follows: There WAS trouble between them and there always would be until it was settled right,–this with much emphasis and emotional manifestation. So long as he insisted on living where they did, just so long would she quarrel with him. She did not like the neighbors, especially the woman downstairs, she did not like the room, she did not like anything about the place or the neighborhood, hated the very sight of it and would never cease attempting to move from there. It came out on further questioning that the woman downstairs, whom the patient particularly disliked, was a storm center in that the wife was jealous of her, although she adduced no very good reasons for her attitude. Moreover, the patient stated that she wished to move to a district where she had friends, though other sources of information showed that these friends were of a rather unsavory character. Her husband was absolutely determined not to move from his house. He stated that he would rather have her go away and stay away than move from there; that the rent was too high in the place where she wanted to move, and that the rent was suitable where they were. Moreover, for his part, he hated his wife’s desired neighborhood and would never consent to changing his residence from the present place to the other. It came out that her fainting and vomiting spells and headaches usually followed bitter quarrels, and on other matters these symptoms usually placed the victory on her side. On this particular point, however, her husband had remained obdurate. It was shown that the present attack of paralysis and aphonia, symptoms of an unusually severe character, followed an unusually bitter quarrel which had lasted for a whole day and into the night of the attack.

The question arises at this point, “Why did this attack take the form of a paralysis?” At first this seemed unaccountable, but later it was found that the old woman for whom the patient had been caring had a “stroke” with loss of the power to speak, though no aphonia. The patient had gone to work as a sort of nurse for the old woman under protest, for she did not wish to do anything outside of her own light housekeeping, although the added income was sorely needed since work was slack in her husband’s place of employment. The pain in her side caused her to quit work as nurse, much to her husband’s dissatisfaction until she convinced him that her pain and disability were marked. It was evident that despite the controversies and quarrels that prevailed in the household, her husband sincerely loved her, for he stayed away from his work during the three weeks of her illness to act as her nurse. Moreover, he spent his earnings quite freely in consulting various physicians in order to cure her.

It was shown from what both the patient and her husband said, and from the whole history of their marital life, that she had used as a weapon, though not with definite conscious purpose, for the gaining of her point in whatever quarrel came up, symptoms that are usually called hysterical; that is to say, vomiting, fainting spells and pains without definite physical cause. This method usually assured her victory by playing upon her husband’s alarm and concern as well as by causing him intense dissatisfaction. With the advent of a disagreement which could not be settled her way by her usual symptoms, there followed, not by any means through her volition or conscious purpose, more severe symptoms; namely, spastic paralysis and aphonia, which, in a general way, were suggested by her patient. There seems to have been, and there undoubtedly was, a sexual element entering into this last quarrel; namely, that she was jealous of the woman who lived downstairs, though without any proof of her husband’s infidelity.

Both patient and her husband finally agreed to the physician’s statement that the symptoms were directly referable to the quarrels, although both claimed that it had never occurred to them before, a fact made evident by their questions and objections. No psychoanalysis was possible in this case, for the man and woman belong to that class of people who feel that they are cured when their symptoms are relieved. It may be argued, without any possibility of contradiction, that a psychoanalysis would have revealed a deeper reaching mechanism and that a closer relationship and connection between the paralysis and other symptoms with the past sexual experiences of the patient could have been established. This last claim may be doubted, however, for there is always a gap between the alleged “conversion” of mental states into physical symptoms, and this gap can in no case be bridged over even by Freud’s own accounts. The conversion always remains as a mere statement and is a logical connection between the appearance of physical symptoms and the so-called conflicts; in other words, it is an explanation and not a FACT. Compared with the complex Freudian mechanism, with its repressions, compressions, censors, dreams, etc., the conception of hysterical symptoms as a marital weapon as comparable with the tears of more normal women seems very simple and probably too simple. In fact, it does not explain the hysteria, it merely gives a USE for its symptoms, and the writer is driven back to the statement that the neuropathic person is characterized by his or her bizarre and prolonged emotional reactions, which, in turn, brings us back to a defect ab origine. And the Freudians, starting out to prove that the experiences of the individual ALONE cause hysteria, by pushing back the TIME of those experiences to INFANCY (and lately to foetal life), have proved the contrary, that is, the inborn nature of the disease.



Professor of Education, Emory and Henry College, Emory, Va.

A FEW nights ago I experienced a very interesting nightmare, and, immediately on awakening, I got up and recorded it, analyzing it as fully as I was able. This is the first nightmare I have had for several years, and I never was especially addicted to them. Two years ago I made an introductory study of dreams,[1] and at that time dreamed profusely, but recently I have been dreaming very rarely, and when I do dream the experiences are not at all vivid. I use the term “nightmare” in a somewhat popular sense to mean a painful or frightful dream accompanied by physical disturbances, such as heart flutter and disturbances of breathing, and followed on awakening by a certain amount of the painful emotion which was a part of the dream. Accepting this definition, the experience which I have to relate was a typical nightmare. A few words of explanation are necessary to give the proper setting for the experience. At present I am teaching in the summer school at this place and my wife is visiting her folks; during her absence, in order to keep from getting too lonesome, I invited one of the young men in the summer school to come and room with me and keep me company. With this as an explanation, I shall copy the original account of the dream as nearly as possible, making a few corrections of the barbarous language I used in the half-asleep state.

[1] At Clark University, 1912-1913.

On the night of August 9, 1914, I went to bed at 11.40 o’clock and was soon asleep. About 3.40 in the morning, the young man, F. K. S., roused me and I awoke weak, scared, and with a fluttering heart; he said I had been making a distressing sort of noise, but he could not distinguish any words. Immediately, I judged that the dream was caused by my lying on my back, and in an uncomfortable position. As a rule I do not sleep on my back, but for some reason I had gone to sleep that way this time. Also, it had been raining when I went to bed, and I had put the windows down, and the ventilation was bad.

The dream, as nearly as it was remembered, was as follows: I was with somebody in a buggy and we drove down a hill, across a little stream, and up the other hill, where we arrived at our destination. I seemed to find trouble in getting a place to hitch, and I had to take the horse out of the buggy and I think take the harness off. I distinctly remember that in the dream this was a hardship to me, as it would have been in waking life, for I am not a good hand with horses, and do not like to work with them. All this is very hazy to me, and I do not know with whom I was driving, but think it was a lady, possibly my wife. There were other people at this place and other horses and buggies. (Could it be called a case of reversion to childhood, in that there were only horses and buggies and no automobiles?) There is a break in the dream here, and we were within some kind of a building where there was a crowd of people. As it seems now, we were around some kind of a rotunda, but this is very vague. The important part seems to be that there were two people, a man and a woman, who were talking very stealthily and earnestly to each other, and they soon drew me into the conversation. It runs in my head now that the man was my father (who has been dead for some years), though I am not sure about this, while there is no recollection of who the woman was. Now it appeared that there was some woman in the crowd who had some peculiar evil influence over every one and whom everybody feared. This man and woman were planning to slip off from this wicked woman and meet me and the one with me on the road, and in some way, which is not now clear, we were to circumvent this bad woman and break her power. The man explained and explained to me that we were to meet at certain springs which were at the side of the road, but it seemed that I could not get it into my head where they were, and I was afraid I would not stop at the right place. At last I thought I knew where he meant, and told him that I would stop there and wait until he came up, but then I happened to think that he might be ahead of me anyhow, and could stop and wait for me; then I was sure he would be ahead, for I remembered that I had to harness and hitch up the horse and his was all ready. And now we seemed to be getting our horses, and I remarked to him that I was not a bit good hand at working with horses, and he expressed his sympathy that I had this work to do.

Here was a second break in the dream, and I was standing in a hallway, looking through a window into a room. In this room sat my wife and the evil woman whom everybody feared. She had learned our play (I was conscious of this in the dream), and was determined to have her revenge, and prevent us carrying out our plan. She had hypnotized my wife, and had her scared so that she was in great mental agony. I heard her saying, “Now you are a big black cat,” or something much like this, at any rate making her think she was a cat and at the same time leaving her partly conscious of who she was. This woman looked exactly like a woman who lives in the neighborhood where my wife is now visiting and of whom she has always been somewhat afraid because of her sharp tongue and unpleasant ways. Immediately, I was filled with a great fear for my wife and with a raging anger against the woman. I broke out into calling her all kinds of names, especially saying, “You devil, you devil,” and trying to get through the window to her. I tore out the screen, but had a great deal of difficulty in doing so. When I had finally succeeded in tearing the screen out, I threw it at her head, but she did not dodge, but sat boldly upright and seemed to defy me. Then I tried to jump through the window to get to her, but was so weak that I could not do so; this seems strange since the window was not more than three feet from the floor. I was making unsuccessful attempts to get through, and was railing at the woman when S. awoke me. I awoke weak, and for some time continued to feel frightened, though not enough so to keep me from talking and writing out the dream. I got up and put up the windows (since the rain had stopped), and about this time a very fair explanation of parts of the dream came to me. I immediately told it to S., in order to keep from forgetting it, and then decided to write it down, which I proceeded to do.

Parts of the dream seem to analyze very nicely, but there are parts which seem to resist analysis; I did not try to force the analysis but gave only the part which came spontaneously. In the first part of the dream I was driving in a buggy, I crossed a creek and had trouble with unharnessing a horse. Several times recently, I have mentioned the fact that I never liked to work with horses, even when on the farm at home. I do not remember of having mentioned this fact on the day of the dream, but Mr. C. had stopped in to call on me that evening and had mentioned that he drove in in a buggy. I had not seen the buggy and had wondered what he did with it, and had not remembered to ask him. He had also told me that he was going to a place called Yellow Springs; I knew about where Yellow Springs are, but could not quite place them and had tried to figure out what direction he would go. This seemed to come out very clearly in the dream, when I was trying to find out where these unknown springs by the side of the road were. I had related during the evening how I recently fell into a creek with my clothes on and this probably accounted for the creek over which I drove in the dream. In the dim second part of the dream, the rotunda seems to have resembled the chapel of the new college building which is being builded, and about which I was talking that afternoon.

The last part of the dream seems to have been the important part, and in it several of the Freudian mechanisms show up very plainly. Just before going to bed, I had read an article about Vera Cheberiak, the Russian murderess of the Mendel Beilis case, and how she is now engaged in suing different people for slander. The article had described her as coolly and impudently sitting up in court and seeming to realize her power over her enemies, and it had also made a point of the great fear in which she is held. I had read another article about the city of Salem, which has recently burned, and I had remembered that it was the “witch” town of colonial days where people were supposed to be turned into black cats. I had read still another article, descriptive of country life, which described how a man had climbed a tree after a cat which was eating young robins. I had just a day or two before received a letter from my wife, which contained the news that she was going to visit this woman whom she fears, but whom she must visit because of their social relation As already mentioned, the woman in the dream looked just like this one, and it will readily be recognized that the dream woman was a condensation of Vera Cheberiak, a Salem “witch,” and the woman whom my wife fears. The fact that she was hypnotized into thinking she was a cat would naturally accompany the Salem witch, and the cat in the apple tree, concerning which I had read, might also have entered the dream. Aside from these, there is another element which may have been instrumental in causing my wife to be punished by thinking she was a cat. I once saw a woman who was suffering from melancholia who thought she was a cat, and her mental suffering seemed to me to be about the keenest of any that I have ever observed, this possibly caused the dream-making factor to represent her as thinking she was a cat. The hall, window and screen are also easy of explanation. That evening I had examined a window which opens from our bedroom into a hall, and had wondered whether we would continue to keep it curtained this year or take the curtains away. When I put down the windows to keep out the driving rain, I had had trouble with a screen much as I did in the dream.

The heart of the dream seems to be in this last scene. That morning (it was Sunday) I had very unwillingly, and from a sense of duty, gone to a tiresome and long-drawn-out church service. I had become so fatigued during the service, and so disagreed with some of the things the preacher said, that I was conscious of a mild desire to swear and throw something. I had humorously mentioned this fact after the service, but there was quite an element of truth in the jest. The dream gave me the chance of my life to fulfil this desire, and I seized the opportunity by breaking into a stream of profanity (not very successful profanity, I fear, as I never use it when awake and therefore was not in good practice) and throwing the screen at the woman. But was there not a deeper meaning than this in the dream? I think so decidedly; it seems that it would be a lot of trouble to construct such a tremendous nightmare just to give me an opportunity to swear and throw something, because a preacher had been somewhat tiresome. There was evidently a deeper and more subtle wish which was also fulfilled. That evening I had walked up the railroad track with a crowd of young people and where the paths crossed we had all split up and gone different directions. Two young ladies had gone back to their boarding places across the campus, and I had suggested to the young fellow with me that we go along with them. However, he objected, and we walked back down the railroad track. Now, it had occurred to me that he probably thought I was not within my bounds as a married man when I wanted to walk back with these young ladies; something of the same idea had come to me that day when some one had said in a conversation, “Professor B. is the most satisfied man on the campus whose wife is away.” I had wondered if they thought I did not care for my wife and vaguely wished I had some way of showing my love for her, and, more than that, these suggestions had very naturally made me wonder if I really care for her as much as I should. I could not have asked for a better opportunity to serve and show my love for my wife than the dream gave me, and at the same time it assured me of my affection for her. There is still another element of repression in this and that is that I have for some time been wanting to forcibly express myself against the unpleasant ways of this lady whom my wife so fears. In the dream, I very freely and fully followed this desire.

This far I can go in the analysis and feel sure of my ground. It will be noticed that I have not resorted to symbolism, and have made very little technical use even of the Freudian mechanisms. I could very easily plunge into symbolism and more elaborate analysis, but should I do so I fear I would be in the same condition as a bright young scholar who made an elaborate study of Freudian theories. He expressed himself by saying that it was a “chaotic inferno.” This analysis will seem very unfinished to many of the well-trained readers of the JOURNAL, and so, in a way, it does to me, but it may be interesting as the work of a layman rather than a trained physician. I have not used the word “sexual” in this paper, but the reader can judge for himself if the impulses would come under this heading, either in the more narrow use of the term or in the broader meaning which Freud has given it. For myself, I see no possible objection in employing the word “sexual” in this connection.

The uncertain parts of the dream are as interesting in a way as the others. Why did I not know with whom I was riding, and why were the persons with whom I talked more certain in their identity? Here, of course, is the place where it would be easy to find a repression if such existed and–I believe–if it did not exist. Whether there is such a repression there or not I do not know, but I see no necessity for considering that there is one there just because there is a dim place in the dream. In the study which I made of dreams a year or so ago, I became convinced that there is a principle of dream-making which has not been noticed. I will throw out a suggestion here in the hope that some one will study it further, but will give no elaborate discussion in this paper. Briefly, it is that only those things appear in a dream which are necessary to express the meaning of the dream. A few illustrations may make this clear. Every one has noticed the rarity with which colors and sunshine appear in dreams; I have found, however, that colors and sunshine always appear if there is any necessity for their doing so. Some one dreams of a melon and looks to see if it is ripe; he sees the red color; he dreams of a stream which he thinks is a sewer and smells it to see if it gives off an odor and finds that it does; he dreams of pulling his fishing line to see if there is a fish on it and senses the pull of the fish; I have examples in abundance which go to indicate that taste, smell, tactual, kinaesthetic, color sensation or any other kind will appear in a dream when they are called for to complete the meaning of the dream, but they are not common because they are very rarely needed. Even in waking life we rarely think in these terms. If this little principle prove true, it would be easy to understand why certain parts of a dream are dim without going to the doubtful process of positing a repression. The persons in the dream were not recognized simply because there was no need for them to be; the dream expressed the pertinent meaning just as well without them as with them. They were observed just as many of us would observe the occupants of a street car in waking life; we could possibly not describe, even partly, any one of the occupants of the car which we used on our way to the office or home.

Before leaving this nightmare, I want to call attention again to the somatic elements. I was lying on my back and in a cramped position, the air was closer than usual, and my circulation was naturally deranged. When I awoke I was strongly inclined to give the physical elements a large amount of the responsibility for the dream, and I have not found occasion to change my mind in this matter. I think that even the inability to jump through the window in the dream was caused by the weak and exhausted state of my body, due to the poor circulation and cramped position.



THOSE; of us who have devoted a certain amount of our time and energy to the study of dreams have early come to realize the value of a dream as a starting-point in the analysis of certain mental states, particularly those of an abnormal character.

Frequently, in the hopeless tangle of symptoms, complaints and disconnected facts in the history as originally obtained, especially in old-standing cases, one does not really know just where to begin, what to start with in the first efforts to struggle with the problem of the ultimate genesis and evolution of the condition which is presented to him at the particular moment. Of course, by a careful review of the patient’s past life history, gone over by persistent questioning and cross-examination, one can begin with the family history and step by step trace the history of the patient from earliest childhood or infancy through the various stages and phases of activity and development up to the very moment of examination. This may at times appear quite dull, quite uninteresting and entirely unnecessary to certain patients. For this reason and also for many other reasons, which I shall not enumerate at this point it is at times well to resort to dream analysis. And in analyzing dreams it is well to remember a fact, with which I believe all psychoanalysts will agree, namely, that by a most thorough and far-reaching analysis of a SINGLE DREAM, we can, by following out to the ultimate ends the various clues which are given us and the various by-paths which offer themselves to us in the course of the analysis–we can, I repeat, should we be so inclined, root up the entire life history of the dreamer. This may not be necessary in all cases. But, at any rate, if we desired so to do for scientific purposes, we could arrive at such results. In such an analysis we would, of course, first take up, individually, every portion and every element of every portion of the dream, and by means of each such lesser or greater element of the dream, we could arrive at a mass of material, a wealth of information concerning the past experiential, emotional, mental and moral life of the individual whose dream we were at the moment analyzing. In fact, one could ferret out the full life history in great detail, thus obtaining a complete autobiography leading far down into the depths of the dreamer’s mental life and into the inner world of his own. With the material so obtained one could truly reconstruct the complete life history, piecemeal, until the wonderful and inspiring structure of the mental world of the dreamer would be reared, reaching far back to early childhood and perhaps even to infancy, extending so far forward as to give us a prophecy, based on the dreamer’s dynamic trends and emotional trends and leanings, of the probable future, stretching forth its tentacles in all directions, and, uncovering the psychic underworld in its every part, holding up before our eyes the naked mind, in its length, its breadth and its thickness.

I am not referring here particularly to the employment of the method of hypnosis, especially as practiced by Prince, or to Freud’s so-called free association (which is frequently really forced association) or Jung’s word association methods. I am speaking only of analysis of the dream by ordinary conversation and introspection, in the normal waking state. Of course, were the latter method supplemented by these other methods, the results would be so much the more complete and far-reaching. I may mention, specifically, that the employment of Freud’s free association method would be helpful here in gathering information because, when employing this method, one practically forces the one being analyzed to think by analogy and by comparison, insisting that he tell you what a certain word or name or scene or experience or what not reminds him of, what it resembles, what he can compare it to, no matter how remote its connection, no matter how unrelated, how far-fetched or how silly the association may appear in his own eyes–in other words, we demand that he co-operate by suspending critical selection and judgment. Although, as I say, Freud’s, Jung’s, Prince’s and other methods may be advantageously employed, still, it seems to me, although I cannot yet state this in final or positive terms, that, at least in most cases, such an unravelment and resurrection of the past life history can be obtained by an analysis of the dream conducted in the ordinary, waking state, and the usual conversational mode of history-taking and daily oral intercourse.

It needs no repetition or elaboration to convince psychoanalysts (I use the term “psychoanalyst” in the broad, unrestricted sense of the word, including the supporters of all possible schools or standpoints or methods in psychoanalysis or mental analysis, and not limiting it to Freud’s psychoanalysis) of the essential and fundamental truth of this statement. I shall, therefore, not unnecessarily lengthen this paper by endeavoring to bring forth complete evidence of the truth of this assertion.

As a matter of fact, this conclusion or generalization applies not alone to dreams but to any single element in the objective or subjective world which may be seized upon as the initial stimulus and from which, as a starting-point, association of ideas, in ordinary conversation or aided by any of the more or less experimental or artificial but valuable methods heretofore mentioned, may be begun and continued ad libitum or even ad infinitum, under the tactful guidance and judgment of the investigator. For example, if I may be permitted to tread upon the dangerous path of near-sensationalism or extremism, I may mention that were I to take even so common, so widely used, and so relatively insignificant a word as the definite article “the” as the initial stimulus, and have one of my fellowmen or fellow-women (whose full co-operation, it is assumed, I have previously obtained) give me one or more free or random word associations, and thereafter, with these newly acquired elements, continued to forge my way into the thickly wooded and unexplored recesses of the unknown and mysterious forest of the mind, I doubt not but that I should achieve the same results as if I had started upon my journey with a dream. If this be true, and I firmly believe that it is, in the case of that universally used and apparently inconsequential word “the,” to which the normal person can be expected to have such a large number of associations, of varying degrees of intimacy or remoteness, how much truer is it when we have such a definite mental fact or mental state as a dream as the starting-point of our hunting expedition?

The dream gives us something tangible to start with, something near at home to the dreamer or patient, something interesting and amusing to him, something baffling and so frequently unintelligible to him, and, as a consequence, a more conscientious, earnest and wholehearted co-operation can be obtained from the person whose mental life is being investigated. Here is something vivid to him, something of personal interest to him. And so we can look to him to lend us his aid in better spirit and in fuller measure than might otherwise be obtainable.

I have been referring in my previous remarks, for the most part, to unravelment of the normal individual’s life history. But my remarks are equally applicable to a mentally disturbed individual’s life history and to the genesis of abnormal psychic states, particularly those to be met with in the neuroses and psychoneuroses.

So true is the generalization, indeed the truism or dictum here laid down, that, in only the psychoanalyst knows how many instances, by the analysis of a single, even the very first dream, one can arrive at the rock-bottom depth of the trouble at hand–yes, at the very genesis of the condition. It is not my intention in this paper to report such cases in full detail, since the presentation of even a single such case would be too lengthy for publication in an ordinary medical or other journal, and in many instances might well go to make a good-sized book, a real autobiography of more or less interest, if not to the average reader, at least to the psychoanalyst and to the person who has undergone the psychoanalysis. Without attempting to present an elaborate history or complete analysis, but rather merely to call attention to the truth of the general problem which is being discussed in this paper, I shall, however, mention a few definite illustrations of this sort.

A man of sixty was brought to my dispensary clinic by his wife (I say “brought” and not “accompanied” by his wife, advisedly). She accompanied him into my examining room. He had an almost complete aphonia, spoke hoarsely and in a whisper and presented all the signs of abductor laryngeal paralysis; added to which there was a partial hemiplegia of the right side involving the upper and lower extremities, but not the face or any of the cranial nerves other than that supplying the right laryngeal abductor. I shall not give any other points in the history except that this paralysis was of four months’ duration, there was some resistance to movements at the elbow and knee, but Babinski and other indications of a central organic lesion were absent. The results of the rest of the physical examination need not be mentioned except that the patient presented evidences of arteriosclerosis. The patient was of dull mentality, meek humble and subservient; he was much below par mentally (I did not put him through any special intelligence tests), had little information to offer, constantly resorted to “I don’t know” as a reply, and could co-operate but little. I did, however, obtain the important bit of information that seventeen years ago he had had an almost complete aphonia of several weeks’ duration and that one day, while on board ship, he became seasick, vomited, became frightened, went to his room, and suddenly his voice returned to him. So sudden was the transformation that many of his fellow-passengers insisted that he had been deceiving them and had purposely simulated the condition he had previously presented. The case was one of hysteria, the patient presenting at the time of my examination signs of abductor laryngeal paralysis (laryngological examination disclosed a right-sided abductor palsy) and right-sided partial hemiplegia.

For the next two visits the wife accompanied, or rather, brought the patient to the clinic and I could get but little information and consequently progressed but little. I asked him, in her presence, to come alone the next time–which he did. The description of the onset of the attack, which was furnished me on his previous visits, proved the hysterical nature of the condition: he had suddenly been attacked by nausea and vomiting, fell to the floor, lay there, more or less unconscious (as he described it) for five or ten or more minutes, was assisted to his feet, went to his bed with practically no assistance, a few hours later found that he could speak little more than above a whisper, and in another few hours or more his right side became weak and failed him. He had insisted that the onset came on suddenly. He had denied any quarrels or trouble at home. Nothing could be obtained from him as to his thoughts just prior to the attack or as to any special emotional shocks.

On his fourth visit I asked him to tell me any dream he had had recently and which had made an impression upon him. He could give me no aid. Nothing came to mind. I asked him if he had dreamed the night before, and he told me he had had a dream the afternoon of the preceding day, during an afternoon nap. Here is the dream: He found himself struggling with a tremendous snake, the upper part of which was in human form, the features being very hazy and not at all recalled. The snake was vigorously endeavoring to enwrap itself about him and to strangle him, and he was desperately and fiercely struggling to defend himself against it and to free himself from it–and yet he could not fight it off. In desperation and in fear he cried aloud for help. This was the end of the dream, for, at this point, members of his family came rushing toward him to inquire what was wrong with him, and due partly to shock and his own activity in the dream, and partly perhaps to the noise of the footsteps and of the conversation of those who came running toward him to inquire into the cause of his distressful cries, he awoke.

The thoughts and reveries just preceding the dream and the thoughts and experiences during the morning preceding the dream, although the true inciters of the dream, and although concerned with the central figure (his wife) in this little drama, need not be detailed since the dream has a wider and more deeply arising significance.

I could not learn definitely from him whether the series of associated thoughts turned first from his wife to his troubles with her, to her attitude toward him, and then to her resemblance in this respect (her nagging, pestering persistence and actual persecution of him) to a snake which is endeavoring to enwrap itself about him, to strangle him, to withdraw from him his very life’s blood, etc. This may or may not have been the line of associations just preceding the dream.

He had no idea as to what the dream meant. Using free association, in ordinary face-to-face conversation, I asked him what “snake” reminded him of. The association came in a moment. He smiled, became embarrassed, said it was foolish of him to tell me this, but it reminded him of his wife. He had always looked upon his wife as a snake in human form. He had frequently called her “snake” because of her conduct toward him. She had wound herself about his life in snake-like fashion.

And then came the story of their troubles. This was his second wife. She was fifteen years his junior. He was meek, feeble, of weak will-power, without initiative. She was domineering. Although his wife never told him so openly and in so many words, he felt convinced that the trouble had begun more or less because his wife’s sexual libido was not satisfied in her sexual relations with him. He admits that she is a passionate woman, her sexual libido was of such strength that he, much older than she, and not too strong physically, could but little gratify her. The first complaints and the sole trouble which appeared on the surface were financial–he barely made a living and she complained thereat continually, bitterly and tyrannically. It seems that her complaint in this direction was justified. It is difficult to determine just what role her lack of sexual gratification played– whether it only acted as stirring up the embers of dissatisfaction (with his weekly earnings) which already existed, or whether it was the basic factor, led to her dissatisfaction with her matrimonial choice, and caused her to seek some more or less valid cause for complaint, in that way permitting her, more or less consciously, to transfer her dissatisfaction and discontent from the lack of sexual gratification to the hard pressed financial condition (which perhaps she might, for that matter, have been willing to endure, did she but obtain the full gratification of her sexual craving). At any rate, both of these factors played their role in causing domestic disagreement, one factor being openly acknowledged as the cause by his wife, the other factor never mentioned by her, but believed by him to be an important accessory, if not the main, fundamental and primary source of the trouble. His wife, using his poor earning capacity as a weapon, and with the demand for “more money” as her battle-cry, carried on a campaign of complaint, grumbling, nagging, fault-finding, insult and abuse, but little short of persecution, making conditions wretched and miserable at home. Things at length became quite unbearable to him–so much so that, feeble in willpower and lacking in initiative as he was and is, he was compelled to leave home and live with his aunt, since his wife had practically deserted him. Although she had sold out the furniture and the rest of the furnishings of the home, and had pocketed the money thus received, she repeatedly called at his aunt’s home for no other purpose than to force him to pay her sums of money for her weekly maintenance. On each such visit she would act the tyrant, would storm and rage furiously, would subject him to stinging rebukes and deliver biting tongue-lashings, causing him in consequence to be much upset and nervous the rest of the day. The very morning on which he had had the attack, which was followed by his present trouble (partial aphonia and partial hemiplegia) his wife had paid him one of these unusually stormy and noisy, and, to say the least, unwelcome visits. She had carried the attack to such a point that our patient became so emotionally upset (he is a harmless, emotional, kindly, unassuming and indifferent sort of old fellow) that he suddenly was attacked with nausea and vomiting, and, frightened, fell to the floor, with the consequences above detailed. I need not go further into the history and analysis of this case, but the story thus far elicited is more than sufficient to show that here we have a specific instance in which, by the analysis of a single dream, we have arrived at the genesis of an hysterical paralytic syndrome of four months’ duration. The analysis took but a few minutes. It may be mentioned, in parentheses, that a full knowledge of the cause of the condition did not lead to a disappearance of the palsy. In other words, as we all know, knowledge per se does not lead to action or to the assertion or development of the will-power. I may say, also, that the events here related were not suppressed or repressed, for, as soon as the question of his wife was taken up, the patient admitted that it was she who was the real cause of his present conditions, and he thereupon detailed the story above related. He assured me that he had always been fully aware that it was she who had brought about his present condition, although, of course, he did not know whether he had had an hysterical, apoplectic or other sort of attack. In fact he believed his condition was permanent and incurable– especially since he had been treated at various neurological clinics for many weeks past without the slightest improvement or progress.

Were we to follow up this history we could unearth the full life history of this patient, including the genesis of his early attack of aphonia. But I deem this unnecessary and inadvisable in this paper, as mentioned previously.

Here, then, we have a definite case in which by the analysis of a single and incidentally the first dream we have arrived at the genesis of the psychoneurotic disorder.

From this same standpoint I have studied another case, a married woman of twenty-nine, with marked neurasthenic and hysterical symptoms (including astasia-abasia, anesthesias, palpitation of the heart, throbbing sensations in the stomach and a great many other symptoms). This case I studied for upwards of four months, with almost daily visits to the hospital where she was being cared for. I made quite an intensive study of her dream life and of her past life history, and I find that had I taken the very first dream which I obtained from her and conducted a thorough analysis with this dream as my first mile-post, I would have arrived at a full genesis of the condition, which was of ten years’ duration. In this case, also, I must repeat, there was no indication of repression, the patient having always understood very well the origin and cause of her condition. Here, too, we find that the knowledge alone did not lead to her recovery. This case I shall report in detail at a later date.

In this connection, I cannot keep from reciting the dream of a young girl of twelve which I had the good fortune to study. She came to me complaining about her throat. There was something dry, “a sticking” in her throat. She did not know what it was. Would I look at her throat? I found nothing abnormal, and was about to dismiss her when I observed that her hands were bluish. I felt them. They were cold. I thought at once of probable heart disease. I was soon informed that she had heart disease. She had been told so by other doctors. This proved to be the case, as I learned on examining her.

Being keenly interested in this subject of dreams, I wondered whether, if she were subject to periods of cardiac decompensation of varying degree, she did not have dreams of a terrifying nature (about burglars, robbery and the like), because of embarrassment of breathing during sleep, resulting from her cardiac insufficiency and consequent circulatory and respiratory disturbance. I asked her whether she had been dreaming much of late. She told me she had had a dream the preceding night. What was it? I inquired.

She had dreamed that she had died. Her mother had put her in a coffin, carried her to the cemetery and then proceeded to bury her. Her mother had first forced something into her mouth (it seemed to be a whitish powder), and then lowered her into the grave and filled the grave with dirt. That is all that she could remember.

I shall not enter into a complete analysis or interpretation of this dream. There is no doubt, however, to every psychoanalyst who has devoted his attention to dreams, that the analysis of such a dream should prove most interesting. It is also apparent that by taking up the various elements of the dream and following them untiringly along the various trails and ramifications which lead on in various directions, one could unmask the entire life history of this twelve-year-old girl.

I wish, however, to direct the reader’s attention to only one aspect of this dream–the death of the dreamer. She denied that she feared death or that she thought of death because of her heart disease or from any other cause. I next inquired: “Do you wish or have you ever wished you were dead?” The reaction of the girl was immediate and intense. She stood frightened, embarrassed; her eyelids twitched convulsively in rapid succession, her face gradually assumed a suppressed crying expression, tears came to her eyes, they soon flowed freely and rolled down her cheeks; she sobbed, and, through her tears, she uttered, almost inarticulately, the one word, “Yes.” A convulsive, inspiratory grunt, a bashful, receding, turning away of the head and body, a raising of the hands to cover her face and hide her tears, and hasty, running steps to get away, while murmuring audibly “Let me go away,” followed rapidly one upon the other. I gently seized her hand, calmed and reassured her. And, through sobs and tears, in almost inaudible tones, in starts and spurts, and reluctantly replying to questions which were forced upon her, producing replies which were literally drawn from her against her will, she told me this little story: A little boy cousin of hers, three years her junior, had begun school two years or so later than she, and yet, in spite of this handicap, this little relative had outstripped her in school, he being now in a higher grade than she herself was. She would not be so much concerned or worried about this not-to-be-proud-of performance, had not the boy’s mother that week visited her home and there, in the presence of other people, talked considerably about her boy’s progress in school, his rapid advance as compared with that of our little dreamer, her relative stupidity and backwardness. And so this boy’s mother had continued for some time in the same strain. This caused our little girl to feel much embarrassed–in fact, ashamed and mortified. She had felt that way for several days past, it had made her cry, had made her feel miserable and unhappy; so much so that she had wished she were dead. I shall not continue this analysis further. But it is plainly seen that here too, by a single dream, we have come upon life-experiences, viewpoints and mental material which affords us efficient and sufficient weapons to boldly attack the fortress of her full life history, her mental qualities, her trends, her psychic depth, her mental makeup in its entirety, in its every dimension.

It is interesting to note that on the morning following the experience which I had with this child, she came to see me a second time, and, on my examining her throat, it presented the typical picture of bilateral tonsillitis, the final result of the initial sticking sensation in her throat, which she had experienced the day before. After taking a culture from her throat as a matter of routine to exclude a possible diphtheria, the patient, greatly disturbed because of her newly-discovered trouble, burst forth into bitter tears, and, still sobbing, rushed abruptly from the room.

A week later, when I saw her again, she had regained her emotional equilibrium and we reviewed her dream and its analysis without any special signs of emotional disturbance.

Very interesting, also, was my experience about a week following this when, casually reciting this little girl’s dream, its significance and her conduct, to an old lady whom I know very well, I found that she too was presenting all the signs of emotional upset, for, as I proceeded with my recital, tears gradually came to her eyes, her face assumed a suppressed crying expression, she tried to smile through her tears, and finally, unable to control her emotions, she broke out into a free and unrestrained weeping spell, following which I learned from her that the recital of this girl’s condition, her dream and its meaning, recalled to her mind her darling daughter, a noble girl of sixteen years of age, who had died some fifteen years ago, after a long period of incapacitation and a miserable existence brought on by tonsillitis, chorea, rheumatism and, finally, heart disease, with all the extreme signs and symptoms of broken cardiac and renal compensation. Here, then, I had touched another complex, which, if followed up, would lead me into the innermost depths and recesses of this old lady’s soul-life, into the holiest of holies of her mental life.

The writer will be pardoned for not here giving fuller histories, or for not carrying out the analyses to their ultimate goals, or for not giving the interpretations of the two dreams presented. That was not the primary object of this communication.

I wish, in conclusion, to repeat that through the conscientious and most far-reaching analysis of a single dream, or, in fact, of a single element of a dream or a single element or stimulus in the objective or subjective world, one may, at least not infrequently, unearth the full life history of normal or abnormal individuals, and the genesis and evolution of psychopathic affections.

The reader may justly inquire why the analyst should resort to dream analysis instead of taking the history of the case in the usual way. In all cases the patient should be permitted to tell her story in her own way. This method of procedure, with cross questioning, may and should indeed be sufficient to unravel the case for us in most cases. But if we find that we have not gained the confidence of the patient and have not that condition of being en rapport with the patient which is essential for progress and success in the analysis, one may resort to dream analysis, not so much for the purpose of following the royal road to what the Freudian school calls “the unconscious,” but rather with the object of obtaining the confidence of the patient and of having something definite to start with.



Professor of Education, Emory and Henry College, Emory, Va.

A RECENT article by Brill, entitled “Artificial Dreams and Lying,”[1] recalled to me a little work I did two years ago while engaged in making an introductory study of dreams as a thesis at Clark University. The part which is hereby submitted is a fragment of a larger work and, being only a sort of side issue, was never included in the thesis proper. I have made only such changes as were made necessary by the fact that this is a fragment and needed one or two minor changes to make it complete.

[1] Journal Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 9, No. 5.

Let me say at the beginning that I have the greatest and most profound respect for Freudian theories as interpreted by G. Stanley Hall and other men of like scholarly ability, but I have never been able to accept the more extreme form of Freudianism as interpreted by some of the most prolific writers in this field. I have found that the charges made by Habermann[2] are substantially true. I find it very helpful indeed, to try to interpret my own dreams and to assist some of my students to do so according to the Freudian formula, and to a certain point I believe these interpretations are undoubtedly true. The question is to find the point beyond which the interpretation becomes artificial. Personally, I believe that this will always have to be decided finally by the individual himself rather than by some outsider who insists on reading in a certain interpretation. I have come to believe that it is possible for one to become trained to the point at which he is able to decide just how far the interpretation goes, or, at least, to approximate it.

[2] Journal Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 9, No. 4.

With these few introductory remarks I shall submit the paper, which was written in 1912. I have not appended the rather long and cumbersome bibliography from which I drew these references, but I can supply any reference that is wanted.

If we examine the Freudian system, we find that it is impossible to disprove this theory of dreams. If we demonstrate that a dream has no sexual connection whatever, they have only to say that it is the censor that blinds, and, by resorting to symbolism and other such very present helps in time of trouble, they show plainly that we were mistaken. The situation is the same as it would be if I declared that what I saw as blue appeared yellow to the rest of the world. The disproof of this and of Freudianism are equally impossible. But, on the other hand, have the Freudians presented any proof or argument on the affirmative side of this question? They are over fond of saying, “Freud has proven thus and so,” but in what did the proof consist? The great answer to all objections has been to analyze dreams and, so far as I know, the attempt has never failed to show that the dream in question conformed to the prescribed requirements. And in truth, it is not a difficult matter to analyze a dream a la Freud. After a little practice, especially if one has a vivid imagination and is somewhat suggestible, It is possible to find the repressed sexual wish in every dream. But if we use such flexible and wonderful factors as the four mechanisms, and, above all, symbolism, we can find the same things in any other experience. By this I mean that if we take a bit out of our daily life, a dream of some one else, a fictitious story, an historical incident, or any other pictured situation and PRETEND THAT IT IS ONE OF OUR OWN DREAMS and apply the Freudian analysis, we find that it serves for this purpose as well as a real dream. When this is the case, it is absurd to put any faith in the analysis of real dreams, when carried to extremes.

As an illustration of the above statement, the following is a fairly typical example. The supposed “dream” is a commonplace bit out of my daily life. This is chosen at random (although Jones would say such a thing is impossible) and subjected to a dream analysis.


Dream. I was walking along a street on a cold winter night. I looked down at the cement walk and in this was set a piece of granite on which the letters “W. H.” were cut. Coming to the corner, I looked up and saw on a short board which was nailed to a post, the name of the street, “Queen Street,” The street running at right angles to this was King Street, and I turned and went down this. After walking a short distance, I came to a house from a window of which a light was shining. The house number was “23.” I took a key from my pocket, unlocked the door and entered.

Analysis. In attempting to analyze this (so-called) dream, I was amazed to find with how many past longings and emotionally-colored experiences it was associated. I first took up the letters on the sidewalk, and as I repeated them, letting my mind be as blank as possible in order that the associations might be free, I gained an immediate response. “W. H.”–“Which House”–came out as in answer to a question. With these words there was a definite visual image of a young country farm youth standing talking to two persons in a buggy. I remembered the incident in all its details. I was the young man and these people were asking the way to a certain place, or at WHICH HOUSE they should stop. As it so happened, I was at that time keeping company with a young lady who lived at the very house concerning which they asked. I will not go into detail any further at this point, for this is a real case and I should be trespassing on personal ground. But any one who yet remembers his boyhood courtship, with all its agonies and fears, its hopes and joys, its disappointments and its pleasures, can see at a glance how important this occasion is in throwing light on the meaning of the dream. Of course “W. H.” stood for “Which House.”

I seemed to get no further in my associations with these letters at this time, and my thoughts spontaneously turned to the name of the street. “Queen Street.” Even more readily and completely than in the other case, there came a whole complex of associations. First there was the name and image of Miss Agnes Queen, whom I had known for years. But, strange to say, the image was of this young lady standing and talking to a certain Mr. Harding. I saw them together but once, and it seemed passing strange that this incident should be the one remembered in connection with the name. But the associations were rapidly progressing, and I mentally reviewed parts of three or four years during which I was working and closely associating with this Mr. Harding. Here I began to see some light. This Mr. Harding was in all respects, at least as far as I knew him a man of good morals, but he was much less particular in his social habits than I was. He was engaged to a young lady all the time I was with him, and wrote letters to her constantly; but this fact did not prevent him from paying attentions to other young women, and I was aware that he was more familiar with them than conventionality would warrant. In fact he made no attempt to be secret in the matter, and often poked fun at me for my over sensitivity on the subject. Here was the key to a whole lot of meaning. The first year I was with him, I had no sweetheart or any lady friend on whom to center my affection or to whom I could write. There were a number of young men in our “squad,” as it was called, and nearly all of them had correspondents and it was a joke among us that I was “out in the cold world with no one to love.” In reality, this was not so much a joke for me at the time, as I tried to give the impression that it was, and I longed for the very thing of which we joked. The fact that I was out on the street on a cold winter night in this dream symbolized being “out in the cold world,” as we had used the term then.

I now took up the letters “W. H.” again, and the words “White Horse” came in response to the stimulus. With little hesitation I placed this as connected with the Knights of the White Horse of whom Tennyson writes in his poems of “King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table.” I got very little out of this, but still the White Horse was a band of men who were unrestrained in their desires and bore about the same relation to King Arthur’s Knights that Harding did to me. However, the associations did not stop here but went on, giving what at first seemed to be a meaningless list of words. “W. H.” first called up the words, “Wish Harding”; next, “Will Harding”; next, “With Harding”; and last, “Walk Harding.” In a minute it flashed on me what this all meant. “I WISH to do as Harding is doing, to WALK the way he is WITH him and I WILL.” To walk up Queen Street meant, then, to follow his example, as he at one time paid some attention to this Miss Agnes Queen. Perhaps the reason why her name was selected instead of some others was because his relations to her had been very slight and formal, and thus the idea was easier for the censor to let into sleeping consciousness than it would have been if some other names had been taken. “W. H.,” then, symbolized the four expressions that arose in the analysis.

The meaning of “King Street” came last of anything in the dream, but I will give it now. I did not seem to be able to get anywhere on this for some time, and the idea kept presenting itself that it symbolized that I was king of the situation which seemed innocent enough; but at last there came an association with Nero as portrayed in “Quo Vadis.” I then remembered how I read this book while in the adolescent stage, and how a cousin made remarks, very sensuous in their nature, about parts of it. I then got a vision of the book, “Mad Majesties,” which I saw on the library table not long since. Next came a memory of the French kings as portrayed in the works of Dumas. At this point, I realized that the idea suggested by the word king is very often, though not always, an idea or image of a very loose person as far as his social life is concerned. Thus to walk Queen Street or follow the example of Harding finds a parallel in walking King Street or following the example of a king.

With the light in the window, I came into an entirely new field of associations. I cannot go far into detail here as it would involve others as well as myself, but suffice to say that the light in the window called up a paper on the subject of light which was written by a Mr. X. and read in my hearing. Now Mr. X. and I had both kept company with the same young lady at different times, and here was another group of emotionally colored experiences. However, the important function performed by the light was that it symbolized (together with the house in which it was) the comforts, warmth and pleasures of the very opposite condition from that of being “out in the cold world with no one to love.”

The house number “23” is associated with at least two occasions. One Sunday evening; a few of the boys of our “squad,” myself among them, went out with the daughter of our landlady, and one or two other young ladies and took a boat ride in the park. It was a beautiful summer night and the park was full of young people who were treating each other to very endearing caresses. There were so many who wanted boats that only one boat was unoccupied, and it was No. 23. It had been left because it was a hoodoo number, and the other boaters were all superstitious. As we were not, we took this boat and used it. My longing lonesomeness was about at its maximum height on this night. The other occasion associated with this number is that I became engaged when I was twenty-three years old and at that time desired greatly to be married; but, as I was in school, it had to be postponed.

Now the climax of the dream! I took a key from my pocket, unlocked the door and entered. This is so plain that it hardly needs comment. Being in the cold world, as symbolized by the cold street, I enter the warmth and comfort of the lighted house. The key and lock are, of course, phallic symbols and have special significance for me as I once took a young lady to a banquet at which the favors were paper keys and hearts. Thus symbolically are fulfilled all the longings I felt while with Harding, all my desires to be married when twenty-three, all my adolescent courtship yearnings, and all my remaining repressed sexual longings.

As a point which may have a little bearing on this, I have recently received a letter from Harding and in it was information that he is for a time away from home, and I wondered if he is still careless in his behavior.

This analysis will seem foolish in the extreme to many, and I am one of the number, but my excuse is that I have copied as closely after the Freudians as possible. I have only to invite a comparison. This is not a “made up” dream, but a little bit out of my daily life; just an experience occurring on the way home from the seminary. The analysis is real in the sense that the associations arose as I have recorded them.

Perhaps some ardent Freudian might find it in his heart to say that this analysis only strengthened their position, as it showed how a whole sexual background underlies our entire life, and therefore our dreams must have a sexual origin. But the reason why I found a sexual solution of this was that I started the analysis with a definite Bewnssteinlage, as Titchener would call it, which consisted of a knowledge that I had started for a certain kind of solution, and the whole course of the associations was governed by this. If Freud had at first come into the possession of a theory that every dream fulfills a fear, or pictures a state of anger or any other emotion, he would have had just as good success in demonstrating the truth of his statements. The following analysis will illustrate this. This is a real dream, but before beginning the analysis, I took the attitude that the analysis would reveal the fulfillment of a fear or show that the dream was the dramatic representation of a feared condition as actually existing. It took some time to get into this attitude, it is true, but when the result was finally accomplished, the analysis was begun and the attempt was made to follow the Freudian method as closely as possible under the changed conditions.

The Dream. On the night of February first, I dreamed that I was going down a little hill in company with my brother and Mr. N. We seemed to be in Colorado, and at the foot of the hill was a little stream which was very pretty. There was a little waterfall, and a green pool below it, and a mist hung over the pool. I am not sure I saw the color of this pool. There was also a huge rock around which the water dashed. Some people were fishing in the stream. Some one asked if we could see the rainbows, and Mr. N. replied that he could see only one. I then looked carefully and saw a purple haze in the mist over the pool and supposed this was what was meant. But, as I continued to look, I saw a great number of rainbows, or at least patches in the mist over the water which showed the spectral colors. These were about two feet in diameter and extraordinarily beautiful. I was very anxious to get some of the trout which I felt sure were In the stream. As we came nearer, it seemed that the stream had overflowed and there were several shallow pools not over a foot deep and eight or ten feet long. In these pools could be seen fish by the dozen from a foot to eight feet long. I was slightly troubled because it would muddy my shoes, but I began to try to get some of them out. I got one very big one by the gill slit, but could not manage him and had to let him go. I handled several in the dream, but do not know whether or not I got any out.


I had some trouble in getting any light on this dream, but suddenly much of the meaning became clear and a whole group of associations came up. Undoubtedly the trouble I experienced at first was caused by the resistance of the censor. I will give the associated memories first and explain them later.

I delight in fishing and have spent many happy hours fishing for trout In the clear waters of the Colorado streams; but, strange as it may seem, it was not a memory of any of these which come into consciousness. Instead, there came up memories of three different instances, each accompanied with definite visual imagery, and in such rapid succession that I could hardly tell which came first.

Six years ago last summer, I crossed the Ohio River to spend a day in Carrolton, Kentucky, and on the way back, I bought some fish of a fisherman at the river’s edge. This man was barefooted and wore a little greasy wool hat and very ragged clothes. I remember thinking at the time that his work must be very degrading, and that the river fisherman must be about the lowest type in that part of the country. I especially noticed his feet and legs, which were bare to the knees, and which were so sunburned that they hardly looked like parts of a white man’s body. In the analysis of this dream, the image of the man as he stood there and the memory of the incident came back with great vividness.

A year or two later, my brother and I were riding along the road at about the same place, and we met a very miserable-looking specimen of humanity, driving a poor limping horse to a rickety wagon in which were some pieces of driftwood. My brother was in a “spell of the blues” at this time, and he remarked that he was coming to just that condition as fast as he could. The image and memory of this incident also came into consciousness as if it had been waiting repressed just under the surface.

The other memory was one in which I did not figure personally. A year or so ago, my brother was telling me how he and his boy had gone to the river several times and gone fishing with an old fisherman who lived there. My nephew, like most boys, had a desire to become a fisherman or hunter, and my brother had suspected that a little close acquaintance with the way a fisherman lived would cure him of this desire; in this he was entirely right, and after a few trips to visit the old fellow, he had expressed himself as cured of any desire to live the beautiful, pleasant life of a river fisherman.

Without going any further, it can easily be seen that a fisherman symbolizes for me everything that is synonymous with failure. Thus, when I stepped out into the muddy water and began fishing I symbolically became a failure, a no-account, a man who had failed in the struggle and had not achieved success. The very fact that we came DOWN HILL to the place of fishing shows, on the face of it, that a downhill career is symbolized. My brother was with me, and that is easily explained as a dramatization of the fact that I was accompanying him on that downhill road to the state of the man in the rickety wagon which he had prophesied as his future. The water in the shallow pools was muddy, and I stepped into it just after experiencing a fear that I would get my shoes wet. Remembering the fisherman’s bare brown feet, this can be interpreted as nothing but a very strong symbolization of a drop from a cultured and successful circle to a low and unsuccessful one. I grasp a fish bigger than myself and struggle with it, but am compelled to give it up. Another symbol: my work is plainly too big for me; this question is too much for me to handle, and this thesis will ultimately have to be given up as the big fish is. In fact, I cannot say that I succeeded in getting ANY fish out of the water and, therefore, I shall never succeed at anything I undertake, but will land figuratively, if not actually, in the fisherman’s hut.

The Mr. N. who was with us, was cross-eyed which, in itself, seemed to have no special meaning; but it immediately called up an image of a cross-eyed man standing at the river’s edge at Vevay, Indiana. This fellow was the picture of ignorance and want. He was telling another man about catching a big fish a few days before and how he liked that kind of fish boiled so well, but he could not wait for it to boil, but had fried part of it and eaten it that way. As I heard him relate this and watched his face, the whole event seemed to me to be most disgusting. As I was watching him, some one at my side told me that, because of a drunken spree, he had been disfranchised. He was also a fisherman and another typical specimen of the class. Mr. N., having the same facial defect, though in a much less noticeable way, became identified with him, and I am again found walking down the hill to oblivion in company with this brother in distress. This is bad for Mr. N., but it cannot be helped.

The rainbows seem bright enough, but they bring in another disquieting group of associations. The rainbow is almost, if not quite, a universal symbol of failure. We all know the old story of going to the end of the rainbow for a pot of gold, and if we want to belittle any effort we say that the individual is chasing the rainbow. So here I am again on the downhill road between two failures, following the rainbow to a hopeless condition of muddy uselessness. And if it were not bad enough to be following one rainbow, I am following a great number which must mean that I shall always end in failure whatever I undertake.

But, besides this, the rainbow has special associations for me. The first of these associations which came into consciousness was a little booklet made by a Latin student and handed her professor. I had several years of Greek and Latin under this teacher and at a certain place in the course, he asked each student to make a little booklet of some kind, using as much originality as possible, copy some favorite quotations from De Senectute and hand in the finished product. Every year he gets these out and exhibits them as a kind of inspiration. One of them had a rainbow and a pot of gold on the cover. I spent a great deal of time and work on mine and made a more elaborate booklet than any other that had been made, but I purposely left it unfinished and inscribed a statement that this was to typify the kind of work I did in that department. Of course it was a joke, but I have often thought that there was method in this madness, and that it really approximated the true state of affairs. This seeming chance association, then, is closely connected with my fear of making a failure which is so clearly dramatized in this dream.

The fact that the dream is placed in Colorado is also important. Two years ago, I spent the summer in Colorado and had a very delightful time, as was natural, being on a wedding trip. But during this stay, I did make a total failure at fishing. I had been a fairly successful trout fisher a few years before, but I had forgotten the art and did not do enough fishing to relearn. In other words, my dream gives me to understand that I cannot be successful even in fishing. One evening my bride and I witnessed a most beautiful sunset, a rainbow figuring largely in the scene. At this time we were debating whether or not to go on farther West as I had originally planned; but circumstances prevented this and instead of going on farther, we came back East or toward the rainbow. This is just one more place where the dream so clearly symbolizes a failure to do what I undertake. I will not carry the analysis any further, though I could find associations by the hundred which would strengthen the meaning given.

Of course I am not at all conscious of having any such fear as this. In fact I am rather inclined to be over-confident; but this is, of course, due to the repressing influence of the censor and only strengthens the analysis.

Examples could be given until the last trump is sounded and the world rolled up like a scroll, but I do not want to keep any one so long. Whatever we wish to make out of a dream–the dramatization of a fear, a joy, a joke (really this is what the Freudians often do), a tragedy, anything that can be suggested, the result can easily be accomplished if only we be allowed the use of Freud’s mechanisms and a moderate amount of symbolism.

I have tried to show: First, that any situation or experience can be analyzed with as good success as a dream, and second, that a dream may be made to mean anything. In other words, with Freud’s method, one can demonstrate anything to suit his taste or belief. Long ago, the saying was formulated that all roads lead to Rome. This being true, it must also be true that all roads lead everywhere else. Freud employs a wonderful figure of a mystical sphere, with its layers and cross veins and other mineralogical characteristics, to represent the part of consciousness with the repressed factor at the center well guarded. It would be far more to the point if he should represent the whole of past experience as the surface of a country, with its various roads connecting the different centers. The stations would then represent the experiences, and the roads the association tracks between them. If one should travel at random over these roads, he would in time pass through all kinds of towns and cities, but if he started in quest of a certain type, say mountain villages, he would arrive at his goal much more quickly than he would otherwise. The Freudians themselves acknowledge that they have difficulty in knowing when to stop the analysis. Their plan seems to be to travel until the landscape suits them and then get off and camp.

Thus, while I have made no attempt to give positive proof or argument that Freud’s theory, in its extreme form is at fault, I have tried to substantiate my argument that there has been no real argument on the other side. And when a theory so spectacular and altogether out of the ordinary is presented, the burden of the proof should very decidedly be thrown on the positive side. We have no obligation or even excuse for accepting such a theory on the mere presumption of the originator.

And that Freud’s theory is weird and fantastic is a self-evident fact. Perhaps the Clark University student who very carefully worked it up a few years ago went a little too far when he said it was a chaotic inferno, but at any rate, it is far removed from celestial harmony. Sidis takes about the sanest attitude possible when he refers to certain Freudian writings as being full of unconscious sexual humor. He observes further as does Prince and others that the Freudian school is in reality a religious or philosophical sect. He says that Freud’s writings constitute the psychoanalytic Bible and are quoted with reverence and awe. Kronfeld, in a most valuable criticism, says that in comparison with Freud’s conception of the vorconscious and its work, Henroth’s Demonomania appears a modest scientific theory.

The attitude of the Freudians is, itself, worth noticing. They are very prone to consider any criticism as very personal, and fly to the rescue with all the fervor of a religious fanatic. A work on dreams, because it does not bear out Freud in all details, calls forth thunderbolts from two continents. This over-anxious attitude indicates that the belief in the theory is based on an emotional condition rather than logical reasoning. Bernard Hart, who is one of those happy individuals who get the best out of Freudianism, shows the difference between the two kinds of belief by comparing our belief that the earth goes around the sun and that the man who abuses a woman is a cad. The cold, indifferent attitude toward the former is in marked contrast to our warm lively interest in the latter, and the reason is that the belief in the one is founded on scientific demonstration and in the other on our feeling in the matter. If we allow this as a gauge by which to measure, it is not difficult to place the Freudians.

We must not overlook the immense opportunity for suggestion in the work of psychoanalysis, both on the subject and the one who is in the work. The Freudians vehemently deny that any of the results of dream analysis are suggested into the mind of the dreamer, but the evidences are all on the other side. Freud, in referring to psychoanalysis of hysterical patients, says, “It is not possible to press upon the patient things which he apparently does not know, or to influence the results of the analysis by exciting his expectations.” Such an attitude is fatal when it comes to a question of accurate work. And no less important is the self-suggestion practiced by the Freudians. When we read of Freud’s long struggle in an attempt to find something which he felt surely was to be found, we see that he had abundant opportunity to acquire almost an obsession. The long years since, which he has spent in analyzing dreams and making them all come out right some way, would serve to more firmly ground his conviction, and the same is true of his disciples. Put a man to drawing square moons for ten years, and at the end of the time he will swear that the moon is square.

A large portion of the scientific world seems to have gone mad over the term “psychoanalysis.” But this kind of work has been done by all peoples and times under different names. There can be no objection to such an analysis of a dream if it is done by the right person. The dream may be used to aid the dreamer in finding out his own life, it is true, and when we understand psychoanalysis as this process, and only this, it is not objectionable. But if such is the case there is no need of all the mechanism and symbolism. The preacher who uses the Old Testament stories of the wars with the Philistines to illustrate a moral struggle is not to be criticised; but if he maintains that they were written for that purpose, we should hardly feel inclined to accept his position. A very inspiring message might be builded on the text, “The ants are a people not strong, but they prepare their meat in the summer”; but it is hardly possible that such thoughts were in the mind of the writer. Just so, a dream or a story or any other situation may be used to open the locked doors of a life, but to say that the dream has slipped stealthily out of the keyholes and over the transoms and wonderfully, mysteriously and magically clothed itself is quite another matter.





WE are frequently confronted with the question: “Just why does an erotic conflict cause the neurosis? Why not just as well another conflict?” To this the only answer is, “No one asserts that this must be so, but evidently it always is so, in spite of anything that can be said against it. It is, notwithstanding all assurances to the contrary, still true that love (taken in its large sense of nature’s course, which does not mean sexuality alone), with its problems and its conflicts of the most inclusive significance, has in human life and in the regulation of the human lot a much greater importance than the individual can image.

The trauma-theory (meaning what was in the beginning conceived by Breuer and Freud) is therefore out of date. When Freud came to the opinion that a hidden erotic conflict forms the real root of the neurosis, the trauma lost its pathogenic significance.

An entirely different light was now thrown upon the theory. The trauma question was solved, and thrown aside. Next in order came the study of the question of the erotic conflict. If we consider this in the light of the chosen example, we see that this conflict contains plenty of abnormal moments, and at first sight does not suffer comparison with an ordinary erotic conflict. What is especially striking, seemingly almost unbelievable, is the fact that it is only the exterior action, the pose, of which the patient is conscious, while she remains unconscious of the passion which governs her. In the case in question the actual sexual factor unquestionably remains hidden, while the field of consciousness is entirely governed by the patient’s pose. A proposition formulating this state of affairs would read as follows.

In the neurosis there are two erotic inclinations which stand in a fixed antithesis to each other, and one of these at least is unconscious.

It might be said of this formula, that although perhaps it is adapted to this case, possibly it is not adapted to all cases. Most people, however, are inclined to believe that the erotic is not so widespread. It is granted that it is so in a romance, but it is not believed that the most affecting dramas are more often enacted in the heart of the citizen who daily passes us by unnoticed, than upon the stage.

The neurosis is an unsuccessful attempt of the individual to solve in his own bosom the sexual question which perplexes the whole of human society. The neurosis is a disunity in one’s inmost self. The cause of this inward strife is because in most men the consciousness would gladly hold to its moral ideal, but the subconsciousness strives toward its (in the present-day meaning) immoral ideal. This the consciousness always wants to deny. These are the sort of people who would like to be more respectable than they are at bottom. But the conflict may be reversed; there are people who apparently are very disreputable, and who do not take the slightest pains to limit their sexual pleasures. But looked at from all sides this is only a sinful attitude, adopted, God knows for what grounds, because in them, back of this, there is a soul, which is kept just as much in the subconsciousness as the immoral nature is kept in the subconscious of moral men. (It is best for men to avoid extremes as far as possible, because extremes make us suspect the contrary.)

This general explanation was necessary in order to explain to some extent the conception of the erotic conflict in analytical psychology. It is the turning-point of the entire conception of the neurosis.

After Breuer’s discovery, putting into practice the “chimney sweeping” so justly christened by his patient this method of treatment has evolved into shorter psychoanalytical methods, which we will now discuss in succession in their main points.

In his use of the primitive method, Freud depended upon the time saving of hypnotism and upon the circumstance that many could not be brought into the desired deep degree of provoked sleep. The aim of this operation was to call up in the patient another state of consciousness, in which it would be possible for him to remember facts which had given cause for the origin of the phenomena, facts which thus far had remained hidden from the ordinary daily consciousness. By questioning the patient when in this state, or by spontaneous production of phantasies communicated by the patient while in hypnosis, memories come to light and affects connected with them are relaxed (these are abreagirt [rearranged], as the expression is) and the desired cure is attained. This just-mentioned method (cathartic, cleansing) and more especially the modified one, which aims especially at the promotion of a spontaneous production of phantasies communicated by the patient while under hypnotism, is still used in practice by some investigators. In what follows we go still further back–Freud next sought for a method to render hypnotism unnecessary. He discovered it by applying an artifice which he had seen Bernheim use during a visit (1887) to the latter’s clinic at Nancy. Bernheim demonstrated upon a hypnotized patient how the amnesia of the somnambulist is only an appearance.

With this aim in view, Freud from then on ceased to hypnotize his patients and substituted for that method, “spontaneous ideas.” This means that when the analysis of a patient who is awake is obstructed, and has come to a dead stop, he is told to communicate anything which comes into his mind, no matter what idea, what thought, even if the thing were very queer to him or seemed meaningless. In the material thus obtained the thread should be found leading to the semi-forgotten, the thing hidden in the consciousness. In single cases–where the resistance toward bringing into consciousness the forgotten or repressed thing, the complex, was slight–this method of treatment very quickly attains its end, but in others where the resistance was greater, the spontaneous ideas merely brought about indirect representations, mere allusions as it were to the forgotten element. Here favorable results either were not so readily obtained, or else were entirely lacking. In conjunction with this, Freud planned a simple method of interpretation by means of which, from the material thus obtained, the repressed complexes could be brought to consciousness.

Independently of Freud, the Zurich school (Bleuler, Jung) had planned the association method in order to penetrate into the patient’s subconsciousness. The value of this method is chiefly a theoretical experimental one; it leads to an orientation of large circumference, but necessarily superficial in regard to the subconscious conflict (complex).

Freud compares its importance for the psychoanalyticus; with the importance of the qualitative analysis for the chemist.

Not being completely satisfied with his method of spontaneous ideas Freud sought shorter paths to the subconscious, and therefore undertook the study of the dream-life (dealing with forgetfulness, speaking to one’s self, making mistakes, giving offense to one’s self, and with superstition and absent-mindedness, and the study of word quibbles taken in their widest sense), to all of which we are indebted for the possession of his three important books: “Die Traumdeutung?” (First edition 1900, third edition 1912); “Zur Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens” (1901-1907); “Der Witz und seine Bedeutung zum Unbewussten” (1905).

Because of the discovery of the repressed and the forbidden in the soul life, the instructions contained in the three last-named works are of great importance and of help to us in the study of the spontaneous ideas of the patient brought to light by free association. But what is of more importance for analysis is the study of what may well be termed Freud’s masterpiece, “Die Traumdeutung.”

Jung expresses himself as follows in regard to Freud’s ingenious discovery.

“It can be said of the dream that the stone which was despised by the architect has become the corner-stone. The acorn of the dream, of the ephemeral and inconsiderable product of our soul, dates from the earliest times. Before that, men saw in the dream a prophecy for the future, a warning spirit, a comforter, a messenger of the gods. Now we join forces with it in order to explore the subconscious, to unravel the mysteries which it jealously guards and conceals. The dream does this with a completeness which amazes us. Freud’s exact analysis has taught that the dream as it presents itself to us, exhibits merely a facade, which betrays nothing of the inmost part of the house. But where, by attention to certain rules we are able to bring the dreamer to express the sudden ideas awakened in him in talking over the sub-division of his dream, then it very quickly appears that the sudden ideas follow a determined direction, and are centralized about certain subjects, possessing a personal significance and betraying a meaning, which in the beginning would not have been suspected back of the dream, but which stand in a very close symbolical relation, even to details, to the dream facade. This peculiar thought-complex, in which all the threads of the dream are united, is the looked-for conflict in a certain variation which is determined by the circumstances. What is painful and contradictory in the conflict is so confused here that one can speak of a wish-fulfillment; let us, however, immediately add that the fulfilled wishes apparently are not wishes, but are such as frequently are contradictory to them. As an example let us use the case of a daughter who inwardly loves her mother and dreams that the latter is dead, much to her sorrow. Dreams like this are frequent. The contents make us think as little as possible of a wish-fulfillment, and so one might perhaps get the idea that Freud’s assertion–that the dream presents in dramatic form a subconscious wish of the dreamer–is unjust.

That happens because the non-initiated does not know how to differentiate between manifest and latent (evident and hidden) dream contents. Where the conflict worked over in the dream is unconscious, the solution, the wish arising from it, is also unconscious. In the chosen example, the dreamer wished to have the mother out of the way; in the language of the subconscious it says: I wish that mother would die. We are aware that a certain part of the subconscious possesses everything which we can no longer remember consciously, and especially an entirely thoughtless, childish wish. One can confidently say that most of what arises from the subconscious has an infantile character, as does this so simple sounding wish: “Tell me, father, if mother died would you marry me?” The infantile expression of a wish is the predecessor of a recent wish for marriage, which in this case we discover is painful to the dreamer. This thought, the seriousness of the included meaning is, as we say, “repressed into the subconscious” and can there necessarily express itself only awkwardly and childishly, because the subconscious limits the material at its disposal, preferably, to memories of childhood and, as recent researches of the Zurich school have shown, to “Memories of the race,” stretching far beyond the limits of the individual.

It is not the place here to explain by examples the territory of dream-analysis so extraordinary composed; we must be satisfied with the results of the study; dreams are a symbolical compensation for a personally important wish of the daytime, one which had had too little attention (or which had been repressed).

As a result of the dominant morals, wishes which are not sufficiently noticed by our waking consciousness and which attempt to realize themselves symbolically in the dream are as a rule of an erotic nature. Therefore it is advisable not to tell individual dreams in the presence of the initiated, because dream symbolism is transparent to one acquainted with its fundamental rules. Therefore we have always to conquer in ourselves a certain resistance before we seriously can be fitted for the task of unraveling the symbolical composition by patient work. When we finally comprehend the true meaning of a dream then we at once find ourselves transposed into the very midst of the secrets of the dreamer and to our amazement we see that even an apparently meaningless dream is full of sense and really bears witness of extremely important and serious things concerning the soul-life. This knowledge obliges us to have more respect for the old superstition concerning the meaning of dreams, a respect which is far to seek in our present-day rationalistic era.

Freud correctly terms dream-analysis the royal road which leads to the subconscious; it leads us into the most deeply hidden personal mysteries and, therefore, in the hand of the physician and the educator is an instrument not to be too highly valued.

The opposition to this method makes use of arguments which chiefly (as we will observe, from personal motives) originate in the still strongly scholastic bent, which the learned thought of the present-day exhibits. And dream-analysis is precisely what inexorably lays bare the lying morals and the hypocritical pose of men, and now for once makes them see the reverse side of their character. Is it to be wondered at that many therefore feel as if some one were stepping on their toes?

Dream-analysis always makes me think of the striking statue of worldly pleasure which stands before the cathedral at Basel. The front presents an archaic sweet smile, but the back is covered with toads and snakes. Dream-analysis reverses things and allows the back side to be seen. That this correct picture of reality possesses an ethical value is what no one can contradict. It is a painful but very useful operation, which demands a great deal from the physician as well as from the patient. Psychoanalysis seen from the standpoint of therapeutic technic consists chiefly of numerous analyses of dreams; these in the course of treatment, little by little, bring what is evil out of the subconsciousness to the light and submit it to the disinfecting light of day, and thereby find again many valuable and pretendedly lost portions of the past. It represents a cathartic of especial worth, which has a similarity to the Socratic “maieutike,” the “obstetric.” From this state of affairs one can only expect that psychoanalysis for many people who have taken a certain pose, in which they firmly believe, is a real torture, because according to the ancient mystic saying: “Give what you have, then shall you receive!” They must of their own free will offer as a price their beloved illusions if they wish to allow something deeper, more beautiful and more vast to enrich them. Only through the mystery of self-sacrifice does the self succeed in finding itself again renewed.

There are proverbs of very old origin which through the psychoanalytical treatment again come to light. It is surely very remarkable that at the height to which our present-day culture has attained this particular kind of psychic education seems necessary, an education which may be compared in more than one respect with the technic of Socrates, although psychoanalysis goes much deeper.

We always discover in the patient a conflict which at a certain point is connected with the great social problems, and when the analysis has penetrated to that point, the seemingly individual conflict of the patient is disclosed as the conflict, common to his environment and his time.

Thus the neurosis is really nothing but an individual (unsuccessful to be sure) attempt to solve a common problem It must be so, because a common problem, a “Question” which plunges the sick man into misery is–I can’t help it–“the sexual question,” more properly termed the question of the present-day sexual moral.

His increased claim upon life and the joy of life, upon colored, brilliant reality, must endure the inevitable limitations, placed by reality, but not the arbitrary, wrong, indefensable limitations which put too many chains upon the creative spirit mounting from out the depths of animal darkness. The nervous sufferer possesses the soul of a child, that arbitrary limitation which represses and the reason for which is not understood. To be sure it attempts to identify itself with the morals, but by this it is brought into great conflict and disharmony with itself. On one side it wishes to submit, on the other to free itself–and this conflict we speak of as the neurosis.

If this conflict in all its parts were clearly a conscious one, then naturally no nervous phenomena would arise from it. These phenomena arise only when man cannot see the reverse side of his being and the urgency of his problem. Only under these circumstances does the phenomena occur which allows expression to the non-conscious side of the soul.

The symptom is thus an indirect expression of the nonconscious wishes, which, were they conscious to us, would come into a violent conflict with our conceptions of morals. This shadowy side of the soul withdraws itself, as has once been said, from the control of the consciousness; by so doing the patient can exert no influence upon it, cannot correct it and can neither come to an understanding with it nor get rid of it, because in reality the patient absolutely does not possess the subconscious passions. Rather they are repressed from out the hierarchy of the conscious soul, they have become autonomous complexes, which can be brought again into consciousness only with great resistance through analysis. Many patients think that the erotic conflict does not exist for them; in their opinion the sexual question is nonsense; they have no sexual feeling. These people forget that in place of that they are crippled by other things of unknown origin. They are subject to hysterical moods, bad temper, crossness, from which they, no less than their associates, suffer. They are tortured by indigestion, by pains of every sort, and are visited by the whole category of other nervous phenomena. They have this in place of what they lack in the sexual territory, because only a few are privileged to escape the great conflict of civilized man of the present day. The great majority inevitably takes part in this common discord.

As specimens of dream-analysis I will give resumes of two histories of illness told me by Dr. Jung.


A twenty-year-old banker’s son, from a large city in Hungary, suddenly grew sick two years ago, shortly after his father had suffered an attack of apoplexy and paralysis of the right side. He is spiritless, restless, not able to work, cannot use his right arm to write, is powerless to put his attention on anything, sleeps badly, etc. No treatment has any helpful effect. He is advised to seek distraction in Paris, but this, too, is of no avail. Then, after months of torture, he came to Zurich to Dr. Jung, who subjected him to analysis. At the second visit the patient behaved extremely mysteriously; he was much disturbed and appeared to be under the influence of an anxious dream, which he had dreamt that night. It required some effort to induce him to tell this dream, and it was only after he had convinced himself that no one could listen in the hall, that this story, not without emotion, came out.

“I see in a vault a coffin in which my father lies, and I beside him; in vain I attempt to remove the lid, and in my horrible fear I awake.”

Some days were employed with the analysis of this dream. The explanation of it is: he has a very strong father-complex. From childhood up he has always been with his father, he has assumed the role of his father’s wife, has cared for him, lived for him. He often reproached his mother for not making enough of the father, for not always cooking his favorite dish, for sometimes contradicting him, etc. He was always around with his father, worked at his office, served him in all sorts of ways, and anticipated all his wishes. Now, when the father suddenly became an invalid, the conflict arose. He identifies himself with the father. His father’s invalidism