This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
Dream analysis promises to be of some value as a psychoanalytic method of dealing directly with the subconscious processes, as the investigations of Prince, Sidis, Freud, and others have conclusively demonstrated. The study of the various theories presented by these men teaches us that dreams are not something that happen in a haphazard, meaningless manner, but that they appear as the logical sequence of impressions, ideas, and experiences conserved by the neurons as the result of ordinary every-day conduct.
The bungling, apparently meaningless acts of neurotics, and normal men and women as well, deserve the rank of symptoms, and their observations, like those of dreams, can lead to the discovery of hidden complexes of the psychic life. Thus the psychoanalyst is distinguished by an especially strong belief in the determination of the psychic life. "For him," says Freud, "there is in the expressions of the psyche nothing trifling, nothing arbitrary and lawless. He expects everywhere a widespread motivation, where customarily such claims are not made; more than that, he is even prepared to find a manifold motivation of these psychic expressions, while our supposedly inborn causal need is satisfied with a single psychic cause." The idea embraced in this quotation is in perfect accord with the entire presentation of my work in the present and previous editions of this book, as the reading of the following chapters will conclusively demonstrate.
How to introduce the pathogenic psychic material into consciousness, and so do away with the suffering brought on by the creation of licensed symptoms - by the study of the eruptive ideas called up by free association, by Jung's association diagnostic experiments, the patient's dreams, and his bungled and symptomatic acts, and adding to these the value of other phenomena which emerge in the study of the individual patient - is the object, aim, and purpose of psychoanalysis.
That there is much in Freud's contributions to the psychology of dreams which is of great value, I am more than glad to acknowledge. But in so far as he attributes every dream to being the "disguised fulfillment of a repressed wish," and attempts to trace that "wish," in its ultimate analysis, to signify an ungratified sexual desire, I prefer not to dignify such theories by further quotations. Those who are suggestible enough to be hypnotized into believing such rot are welcome to their delusion, so far as I am concerned. The pity is that the unfortunate, suggestible, hysterical patient must be brought under the dominating power of such suggestions as a pretense to cure her unpleasant psychoneurotic manifestations.
I have employed "dream analysis" as a form of suggestive treatment with highly satisfactory results. In all such cases I could trace the dreams to be the natural sequence of the previous processes of experience, which had been conserved by the nervous system and which were reproduced in the sleep consciousness. They were caused by suggestion, and were relieved by suggestion, in conformity with the laws governing normal and abnormal psychic processes.
An hysterical patient, who had a strong revulsion for her husband, which I discovered by Jung's association method, night after night awoke frightened and nervous because of a dream that a snake was in her room. I could get no clue to the meaning of this dream, in which the snake constantly figured, until she dreamed that the* snake was at her dining table and she awoke in the act of snatching her child away from the reptile, lest the child should be harmed. The meaning was then clear to me. Her husband slept in a separate bed in the same room, and she had as much revulsion for the demonstration of his affections as if he were a snake. In her conscious thoughts she expressed her revulsion, probably, in this formula: "I would as lief have a snake touch me as to have my husband touch me." In her dream consciousness she was sleeping in the room with a snake, and became afraid that it would harm her, and, again, she was eating at a table where a snake was beside her child, and she feared that the snake would bite it. My explanation of the meaning of her dream removed the vision of the snake from her home ever afterward, and she was no more troubled by snake dreams.
But the procedure did not get rid of her husband, who needed psychic treatment as well as his wife, which he refused to have administered. So, nothing was left but for the patient to transfer the feeling of unhappiness resulting from this inharmonious; domestic situation into some other psychic or physical manifestation as a means of expressing her lack of adaptation to her environment.
Another patient, a cultured and refined young woman of twenty-two years of age, dreamed frequently that she was in the act of parturition, suffering all the pain of a woman in the child-bearing act. By the aid of light hypnosis, a condition identical with "hyp-noidization" a la Sidis, I assisted her in recalling to memory an incident in which she, when a small child, overheard a conversation relating to the pain and suffering of a woman who had given birth to a baby. The older persons engaged in the conversation thought she was asleep, but she heard their conversation, received the impressions, or suggestions, and these expressed themselves in the dream consciousness many years later, though she had apparently forgotten everything about the original experience, which was responsible for this psychic manifestation many years later in the dream consciousness. Of course the Freudians will see in this the fulfillment of a repressed wish. This patient shortly afterward found a normal outlet for her emotional energy in a useful, helpful occupation; she became enthusiastic in her work and has made of it a great success.
Every psychoneurosis will be banished if the early home training of the patient has been such as to equip him for a place of real service in the world, and the individual can be induced to find that place and fill it to the best of his ability. But he must have a congenial occupation. It must be a work in keeping with the mental and physical capacities of the individual, and one in which his mental and physical powers can find their highest expression. Such is the only safe goal to health and happiness. In another patient a severe migraine of over ten years' standing was traced by the aid of hypnosis to a severe fright by the effort of her husband to kill a cat which had been confined in a cellar. The crying of the cat suddenly aroused the patient from her sleep at a time when she was ill, producing a severe fright, with nervousness, headache, tremors, and other manifestations. Since the original experience she occasionally dreamed of cats, always waking with a severe headache and all the other feeling tones accompanying the original experience.