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Volume 15


Volume XV: 
Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (Parts I and II) (1915-1916)

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Editor’s introduction (1963) & prefaces (1917,1930)
The Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis had a wider circulation than any of Freud’s works except The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Among Freud’s works, it is predominantly the expository works that appear as lectures. The Introductory Lectures may be regarded as stock taking of Freud’s views and the position of psychoanalysis at the time of the first World War. The secessions of Adler and Jung were already past history, the concept of narcissism was some years old, the epoch making case history of the Wolf Man had been written a year before the lectures began. In his preface to these lectures Freud speaks a little depreciatively of the lack of novelty in their contents. But no one, however well read in psychoanalytic literature, need feel afraid of being bored by them or could fail to find plenty in them that is not to be found elsewhere. The Introductory Lectures have thoroughly deserved their popularity. The Introduction to Psychoanalysis is not designed to compete in any way with such general accounts of this field of knowledge as are already in existence. The lectures were delivered in 1916 and 1917.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part I. Parapraxes (1916).
Lecture I: Introduction.
Psychoanalysis is a procedure for the medical treatment of neurotic patients. In psychoanalysis, nothing takes place in treatment but an interchange of words between the patient and the analyst. The patient talks, tells of his past experiences and present impressions, complains, confesses to his wishes and his emotional impulses. The doctor listens, tries to direct the patient’s processes of thought, exhorts, forces his attention in certain directions, gives him explanations and observes the reactions of understanding or rejection which he in this way provokes in him. It is true that psychoanalysis cannot easily be learned and there are not many people who have learned it properly. One learns psychoanalysis on oneself, by studying one’s own personality. Psychoanalysis tries to give psychiatry its missing psychological foundation. It hopes to discover the common ground on the basis of which the convergence of physical and mental disorder will become intelligible. One of the unpopular assertions made by psychoanalysis is that mental processes are in themselves unconscious and that of all mental life, it is only certain individual acts and portions that are conscious. The second thesis which psychoanalysis puts forward as one of its findings, is an assertion that instinctual impulses which can only be described as sexual, both in the narrower and wider sense of the word, play an extremely large and never hitherto appreciated part in the causation of nervous and mental diseases.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part I. Parapraxes (1916).
Lecture II: Parapraxes.
Everyone is liable to parapraxes. It may happen, for instance, that a person who intends to say something may use another word instead (a slip of the tongue), or he may do the same thing in writing, and may or may not notice what he has done. Another group of these phenomena has, as its basis, forgetting, not, however, a permanent forgetting but only a temporary one. In a third group the temporary character is absent, for instance in the case of mislaying. In addition to all this there are particular sorts of errors, in which the temporary character is present once more; for in their instance we believe for a time that something is the case which both before and afterwards we know is not so. A man who can usually speak correctly may make a slip of the tongue 1) if he is slightly indisposed and tired, 2) if he is excited, and 3) if he is too much occupied with other things. The most usual, and at the same time the most striking kinds of slips of the tongue, however, are those in which one says the precise opposite of what one intended to say. Included among the causes of parapraxes are relations between sounds, verbal similarity, and the influence of word associations. It has repeatedly happened that a creative writer has made use of a slip of the tongue or some other parapraxis as an instrument for producing an imaginative effect.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916.17).
Part I. Parapraxes (1916).
Lecture III. Parapraxes (continued).
There are categories of cases of slips of the tongue in which the intention, the sense, of the slip is plainly visible. There are those in which what was intended is replaced by its contrary. In other cases, where the slip does not express the precise contrary, an opposite sense can be brought out by it. In other cases, the slip of the tongue merely adds a second sense to the one intended. Parapraxes are not chance events but serious mental acts; they have a sense; they arise from the concurrent action, or perhaps the mutually opposing action of 2 different intentions. Freud is inclined to think that this is the explanation of all cases of slips of the tongue. The forgetting of intentions can in general be traced to an opposing current of thought, which is unwilling to carry out the intention. A particularly ambiguous and obscure kind of parapraxis is losing and mislaying. We ourselves play an intentional part in what is so often the painful accident of losing something. Accumulated and combined parapraxes are the finest flower of their kind. An accumulation of these phenomena betrays an obstinacy that is scarcely ever a characteristic of chance events but fits in well with something intentional. The mutual interchangeability between different species of parapraxes demonstrates the important and characteristic meaning in parapraxes: the purpose which they serve and which can be achieved in the most various ways.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part I. Parapraxes (1916).
Lecture IV: Parapraxes (concluded).
It is probably the case that every single parapraxis that occurs has a sense. Parapraxes are the product of mutual interference between 2 different intentions, of which one may be called the disturbing intention and the other the disturbing one. In a slip of the tongue the disturbing intention may be related in its content to the disturbed one, in which case it will contradict it or correct it or supplement it. Or, the content of the disturbing intention may have nothing to do with that of the disturbed one. Parapraxes are mental acts, in which we can detect sense and intention. They come about through mutual interference between 2 different intentions. One of these intentions must have been in some way forced back from being put into effect before it can manifest itself as a disturbance of the other intention. Slips of the pen are closely akin to slips of the tongue. Misreading is a psychical situation which differs from that in slips of the tongue or pen. The forgetting of intentions is unambiguous. Its interpretation is not disputed. The purpose which disturbs the intention is in every instance a counter intention, an unwillingness. The forgetting of proper names and foreign names, as well as of foreign words, can be traced back to a counter intention, which is aimed either directly or indirectly against the name concerned. The forgetting of impressions and experiences demonstrates the operation of the purpose of keeping disagreeable things out of memory. Losing and mislaying have in common the fact that there is a wish to lose something; they differ in the basis of that wish. Bungled actions, like other errors, are often committed to fulfill wishes which one ought to deny oneself.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture V: Difficulties and first approaches.
Dreams have become a subject of psychoanalytic research. One thing common to all dreams would seem to be that we are asleep during them. Dreaming is evidently mental life during sleep, something which has certain resemblances to waking mental life but which, on the other hand, is distinguished from it by large differences. A dream is the manner in which the mind reacts to stimuli that impinge upon it in the state of sleep. The stimuli can be either internal or external. Dreams do not simply reproduce the stimulus; they work it over, they make allusions to it, they include it in some context, they replace it by something else. Dreams are often senseless, confused, and absurd; but there are also sensible, matter of fact, and reasonable dreams. Daydreams are phantasies; they are very general phenomena, observable, in healthy as well as in sick people and are easily accessible to study in our own mind.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture VI: The premises and technique of interpretation.
Let us take as a premise that dreams are not somatic but psychical phenomena. It is quite possible, and highly probable indeed, that the dreamer does know what his dream means: only he does not know that he knows it and for that reason thinks he does not know it. A dream differs from a slip of the tongue, among other things in the multiplicity of its elements. The dream has to be divided into its elements and a separate enquiry has to be made into each element. The occurrence of ideas with links has been the subject of very instructive experimental researches, which have played a notable part in the history of psychoanalysis. The school of Wundt had introduced what are known as association experiments, in which a stimulus word is called out to the subject and he has the task of replying to it as quickly as possible with any reaction that occurs to him. It is then possible to study the interval that passes between the stimulus and the reaction, the nature of the answer given as a reaction, possible errors when the same experiment is repeated later, and so on. The associations to the dream element will be determined both by the dream element and also by the unconscious genuine thing behind it.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-therapy (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture VII The manifest content of dreams and the latent dream-thoughts.
The manifest content of dreams and the latent dream thoughts are discussed. A dream as a whole is a distorted substitute for something else, something unconscious, and the task of interpreting a dream is to discover the unconscious material. We must not concern ourselves with what the dream appears to tell us, whether it is intelligible or absurd, clear or confused, since it cannot possibly be the unconscious material we are in search of. The work of interpreting can be performed on one’s own dreams just as on other people’s. The work of interpretmg dreams is carried out in the face of a resistance, which opposes it and of which the critical objections are manifestations. This resistance is independent of the dreamer’s theoretical conviction. If the resistance is small, the substitute cannot be far distant from the unconscious material; but a greater resistance means that the unconscious material will be greatly distorted and that the path will be a long one from the substitute back to the unconscious material. What the dream actually tells us is the manifest dream content, and the concealed material, which we hope to reach by pursuing the ideas that occur to the dreamer as the latent dream thoughts.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture VIII: Children’s dreams.
Children’s dreams are discussed. They are short, clear, coherent, easy to understand and unambiguous. From the dreams of 4- and 5-year-old children, we can draw conclusions on the essential nature of dreams in general. Dreams are not senseless; they are intelligible, completely valid mental acts. The dreams of children are without any dream distortion, and therefore call for no interpretive activity. The manifest and the latent dream coincide. A child’s dream is a reaction to an experience of the previous day, which has left behind it a regret, a longing, a wish that has not been dealt with. The dream produces a direct, undisguised fulfillment of that wish. Dreams are not disturbers of sleep, but guardians of sleep which get rid of disturbances of sleep. What instigates a dream is a wish, and the fulfillment of that wish is the content of the dream. A dream does not simply give expression to a thought, but represents the wish fulfilled as a hallucinatory experience. There is another class of dreams which are undistorted and, like children’s dreams, can easily be recognized as wish fulfillments. These are the dreams which all through life are called up by imperative bodily needs, such as hunger, thirst, and sexual need. They are wish fulfillments as reactions to internal somatic stimuli. There are also dreams of impatience and dreams of convenience.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture IX: The censorship of dreams.
The censorship of dreams is discussed. Dreams are things which get rid of psychical stimuli disturbing to sleep, by the method of hallucinatory satisfaction. Dream distortion is what makes a dream seem strange and unintelligible to us. Dream distortion is carried out by dream work. Wherever there are gaps in the manifest dream, the dream censorship is responsible for them. Another manifestation of the censorship occurs whenever a dream element is remembered especially faintly, indefinitely, and doubtfully among other elements that are more clearly constructed. Censorship takes effect more frequently by producing softenings, approximations, and allusions instead of the genuine thing. The distortion of accent is one of the chief instruments of dream distortion. It gives the dream the strangeness which the dreamer himself does not recognize as his own production. Omission, modification, and fresh grouping of the material are the activities of the dream censorship and the instruments of dream distortion. The dream censorship itself is the originator, or one of the originators, of the dream distortion. The purposes which exercise the censorship are those which are acknowledged by the dreamer’s waking judgment. The wishes which are censored and given a distorted expression in dreams are first and foremost manifestations of an unbridled and ruthless egoism. The dreamer’s own ego appears in every dream and plays the chief part in it.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture X: Symbolism in dreams.
Symbolism in dreams is discussed. Symbols realize to some extent the ideal of the ancient as well as of the popular interpretation of dreams. The essence of the symbolic relation is that it is a comparison, though not a comparison of any sort. Special limitations seem to be attached to the comparison. Not everything with which we can compare an object or a process appears in dreams as a symbol for it. A dream does not symbolize every possible element of the latent dream thought but only certain definite ones. The range of things which are given symbolic representation in dreams is not wide: the human body as a whole, parents, children, brothers and sisters, birth, death, nakedness, and sexual life. The one typical representation of the human figure as a whole is a house. One’s parents appear as the Emperor and Empress, the King and Queen, etc. Children and brothers and sisters are symbolized as small animals or vermin. Birth is almost invariably represented by something which has a connection with water. Dying is replaced in dreams by departure, being dead by various obscure timid hints and nakedness by clothes and uniforms. Sexual life is represented by rich symbolism. The male organ finds symbolic substitutes in things that are long and upstanding. The female genitals are symbolically represented by objects that share their characteristic of enclosing a hollow space which can take something into itself.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture XI: The dream-work.
The work which transforms the latent dream into the manifest one is called the dream work. The work which proceeds in the contrary direction, is the work of interpretation. The first achievement of the dream work is condensation. The manifest dream has a smaller content than the latent one. Condensation is brought about by: 1) the total omission of certain latent elements, 2) only a fragment of some complexes in the latent dream passing over into the manifest one, and 3) latent elements which have something in common being combined and fused into a single unity in the manifest dream. The second achievement of the dream work is displacement. It manifests itself in 2 ways: in the first, a latent element is replaced not by a component part of itself but by something more remote, that is, by an allusion; and in the second, the psychical accent is shifted from an important element on to another which is unimportant. The third achievement of the dream work consists in the regressive transformation of thoughts into visual images. Nonsense and absurdity in dreams have their meaning. Conformities in the latent material are replaced by condensations in the manifest dream. Contraries are treated in the same way as conformities. Speeches in dreams are copies and combinations of speeches which one has heard or spoken oneself on the day before the dream. The dream work is equally unable to carry out calculations.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture XII: Some analyses of sample dreams.
Some analyses of sample dreams are presented. The first dream that is presented consists only of 2 short pictures: His uncle was smoking a cigarette although it was a Saturday. A woman was caressing and fondling him as though he were her child. This dream means that cuddling with his mother was something impermissible, like smoking on a Saturday to a pious Jew. When anyone has lost someone near and dear to him, he produces dreams of a special sort for some time afterwards, in which knowledge of the death arrives at the strangest compromises with the need to bring the dead person to life again. In some of these dreams the person who has died is dead and at the same time still alive, because he does not know he is dead; only if he did know would he die completely. In others, he is half dead and half alive, and each of these states is indicated in a particular way. The sexual life is represented by rich symbolism in the dreams: Pursuit and the breathless climbing upstairs represent the sexual act; drawers, chests, and cases, stand for the female genitals; a pit with a tree torn out refers to a piece of infantile sexual theory, to the belief that girls originally had the same genitals as boys and that their later shape was the result of castration; a triad of figures represent the male genitals; a landscape represents the female ones; and trunks are symbols of women.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture XIII: The archaic features and infantilism of dreams.
The archaic features and infantilism of dreams are discussed. The mode of the dream work is described as archaic or regressive. The death wish against someone they love, which is later so mysterious, originates from the earliest days of their relationship to that person. Whenever anyone in the course of one’s life gets in one’s way, a dream is promptly ready to kill that person, even if it be father or mother, brother or sister, husband or wife. It is an untenable error to deny that children have a sexual life and to suppose that sexuality only begins at puberty with the maturation of the genitals. From the very first, children have a copious sexual life, which differs at many points from what is later regarded as normal. Children may be described as polymorphously perverse, and if these impulses only show traces of activity, that is because they are of less intensity compared with those in later life and because all a child’s sexual manifestations are energetically suppressed by education. Among the forbidden wishes, special emphasis deserves to be laid on the incestuous ones, that is, on those aiming at sexual intercourse with parents and brothers and sisters. The material of the forgotten experiences of childhood is accessible to dreams, but the mental life of children, with all its characteristics, its egoism, its incestuous choice of love objects, still persist in dreams, that is, in the unconscious and dreams carry us back to this infantile level.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture XIV: Wish-fulfillment.
Wish fulfillment is discussed. The dream work consists essentially in the transformation of thoughts into a hallucinatory experience. It is the intention of the dream work to get rid of a mental stimulus, which is disturbing sleep, by means of the fulfillment of a wish. If dreams are the fulfillment of wishes, distressing feelings should be impossible in them. But 3 kinds of complications must be taken into account. First, it may be that the dream work has not completely succeeded in creating a wish fulfillment; so that a portion of the distressing effect in the dream thoughts has been left over in the manifest dream. Second, an anxiety dream is often the undisguised fulfillment of a wish, not, of course, of an accept-able wish, but of a repudiated one. The generation of anxiety has taken the place of the censorship. Third, there is a possibility that the fulfillment of a wish may bring about something very far from pleasant, namely, a punishment. The only essential thing about dreams is the dream work that has influenced the thought material. The latent dream thoughts are unconscious to the dreamer and consist partly in residues of the previous day’s mental impulses and intellectual operations and partly in powerful, repressed, wishful impulses, stemming from an earlier period of life, which provide the psychical energy for the construction of the dream.

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Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis (1916-17).
Part II. Dreams (1916).
Lecture XV: Uncertainties and criticisms.
Uncertainties and criticisms of the theory of dreams are presented. The dream work makes a translation of the dream thoughts into a primitive mode of expression similar to picture writing. All such primitive systems of expressions are characterized by indefiniteness and ambiguity. The coalescence of contraries in the dream work is analogous to the so-called antithetical meaning of primal words in the most ancient languages. The points of uncertainty which people have tried to use as objections to the soundness of Freud’s dream interpretations are regular characteristics of all primitive systems of expression. A second group of doubts is closely connected with the impression that a number of the solutions to which we find ourselves driven in interpreting dreams seem to be forced, artificial, arbitrary, or even comic, and facetious. With the help of displacement, the dream censorship creates substitutive structures which are described as allusions. But they are allusions which are not easily recognizable as such. Another objection, made by psychoanalysts, is that dreams are concerned with attempts at adaptation to present conditions and with attempts at solving future problems, that they have a prospective purpose. This assertion is based on a confusion between the dream and the latent dream thoughts and is based on disregarding the dream work. It is often possible to influence dreamers as to what they shall dream about, but never as to what they shall dream. The mechanism of the dream work and the unconscious dream wish are exempt from any outside influence.

Abstracts of the Standard Edition of 
the Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud

Carrie Lee Rothgeb, Editor

 

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