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Forgotten Dreams: Recalling the Patient in British Psychotherapy, 1945–60

Abstract
Abstract

The forgotten dream proved central to the early development of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic technique in The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). However, little attention has been paid to the shifting uses of forgotten dreams within psychotherapeutic practice over the course of the twentieth century. This paper argues that post-war psychotherapists in London, both Jungian and Freudian, developed a range of subtly different approaches to dealing with their patients’ forgotten dreams. Theoretical commitments and institutional cultures shaped the work of practitioners including Donald Winnicott, Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, and Edward Griffith. By drawing on diaries and case notes, this paper also identifies the active role played by patients in negotiating the mechanics of therapy, and the appropriate response to a forgotten dream. This suggests a broader need for a detailed social history of post-Freudian psychotherapeutic technique, one that recognises the demands of both patients and practitioners.

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The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution licence .
Corresponding author
*Email address for correspondence: jdgp2@cam.ac.uk
References
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1. Freud Sigmund, The Interpretation of Dreams: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 4 (London: Hogarth Press, 1953), 43.

2. Winnicott Donald, ‘Primitive emotional development’, in Winnicott Donald (ed.), Collected Papers: Through Paediatrics to Psycho-Analysis (London: Tavistock, 1958), 145156: 151.

3. Griffith Edward, Marriage and the Unconscious (London: Secker & Warburg, 1957), 40.

4. PP/EFG/B.15: Paintings of a Woman Undergoing Analysis c.1958, Griffith Papers, Wellcome Library, London (henceforth Griffith Papers).

5. Freud, op. cit. (note 1), 45, and Henri Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious (London: Penguin Press, 1970), 309.

6. Hayward Rhodri, ‘Policing Dreams: History and the Moral Uses of the Unconscious’, History Workshop Journal, 49 (2000), 142160: 147.

7. Freud, op. cit. (note 1), 520.

8. Kruger Steven, Dreaming in the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 1.

9. Burke Peter, ‘L’histoire sociale des rêves’, Annales Économies, Sociétés, Civilisations, 28, 2 (1973), 329342.

10. Burke, op. cit. (note 9), 334.

11. Burke, op. cit. (note 9), 333 (translation by the author).

12. Miller Tyrus, ‘In the Blitz of Dreams: Mass-Observation and the Historical Uses of Dream Reports’, New Formations, 44 (2001), 3451: 38–9.

13. Histories of both the pre- and post-Freudian period tend to focus on dreams as scientific objects, see Doris Kaufmann, ‘Dreams and selfconsciousness: mapping the mind in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries’, in Lorraine Daston (ed.), Biographies of Scientific Objects (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 67–85 and Kenton Kroker, The Sleep of Others and the Transformations of Sleep Research (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007).

14. Kroker, op. cit. (note 13), 341.

15. Lewis Jane, Clark David and Morgan David, ‘Whom God Hath Joined Together’: The Work of Marriage Guidance (London: Routledge, 1992), 60.

16. Griffith Edward, The Pioneer Spirit (Upton Grey: Green Leaves Press, 1981), 102105.

17. Griffith, op. cit. (note 3), 109.

18. King Pearl and Steiner Riccardo, The Freud–Klein Controversies 1941–45 (London: Routledge, 1991).

19. Rose Nikolas, Governing the Soul (London: Routledge, 1991), 151.

20. EFG/B.13: Case of Hypoglycaemic Episodes with Possible Psychological Causes c.1951, Griffith Papers.

21. Osborne Thomas, ‘Mobilizing Psychoanalysis: Michael Balint and the General Practitioners’, Social Studies of Science, 23, 1 (1993), 175200.

22. PP/DWW/K.7, Winnicott Appointment Diary 1955, Winnicott Papers, Wellcome Library, London (henceforth, Winnicott Papers).

23. Balint Michael, The Doctor, His Patient, and the Illness (London: Pitman Medical Publishing Company, 1957), 7.

24. Armstrong David, ‘The Patient’s View’, Social Science and Medicine, 18, 9 (1984), 737744: 738.

25. Forrester John, Dispatches from the Freud Wars: Psychoanalysis and its Passions (London: Harvard University Press, 1997), 203.

26. The idea of the patient as a ‘consumer’ emerges in the 1960s and 1970s, building on these earlier themes, Alex Mold, ‘Repositioning the Patient: Patient Organizations, Consumerism, and Autonomy in Britain during the 1960s and 1970s’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 87, (2013): 225-49.

27. Armstrong, op. cit. (note 24), 737–39.

28. Kirsch Thomas, The Jungians: A Comparative and Historical Perspective (London: Routledge, 2000), 4044.

29. The role of dreams as ‘communicative acts’ is noted in David Shulman and Guy Stroumsa, ‘Introduction’, in David Shulman and Guy Stroumsa (eds), Dream Cultures: Explorations in the Comparative History of Dreaming (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 3–16: 7.

30. Griffith, op. cit. (note 3).

31. Fisher Kate and Szreter Simon, Sex Before the Sexual Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 363.

32. Fisher Kate, Birth Control, Sex and Marriage in Britain, 1918–1960 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 72.

33. Winnicott Donald, ‘Withdrawal and regression’, in Winnicott Donald (ed.), Collected Papers, Through Paediatrics to Psycho-Analysis (London: Tavistock, 1958), 255261: 256.

34. PP/KLE/B.74: Case Material: Patient Ju. 1948, Klein Papers, Wellcome Library, London (henceforth Klein Papers).

35. Ibid.

36. Budd Susan, ‘The shark behind the sofa: recent developments in the theory of dreams’, in Pick Daniel and Roper Lyndal (eds), Dreams and History: the Interpretation of Dreams from Ancient Greece to Modern Psychoanalysis (London: Routledge, 2004), 253270: 261.

37. Klein’s Narrative of a Child Analysis is consulted despite being published in 1961. The case work took part during the early 1940s but the text itself was composed throughout the 1950s. It is therefore read as a product of the period considered.

38. Klein Melanie, Narrative of a Child Analysis (London: Karnac Books, 1996), 155.

39. Ibid., 448.

40. Berrios German, ‘Mood disorders’, in Berrios German and Porter Roy (eds), History of Clinical Psychiatry: Origin and History of Psychiatric Diseases (London: Athlone, 1993), 384405: 386.

41. Jackson Stanley, Melancholia and Depression (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986), 198.

42. Freud Sigmund, Mourning and Melancholia: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 14 (London: Hogarth Press, 1957), 243.

43. Klein Melanie, ‘The psycho-analytic play technique: its history and significance’, in Money-Kyrle Roger (ed.), The Writings of Melanie Klein, Vol. 3 (London: Karnac Books, 1993), 122140: 124.

44. Klein Melanie, The Psychoanalysis of Children (London: Karnac Books, 1998), 3; Klein, op. cit. (note 43), 124.

45. Klein Melanie, ‘Mourning and its Relation to Manic-Depressive States’, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21 (1940), 125153: 136.

46. Jackson, op. cit. (note 41), 213.

47. Adam Phillips writes ‘Klein … makes little reference in her work to social or economic conditions’: Adam Phillips, Winnicott (London: Fontana, 1988), 44.

48. Klein, op. cit. (38), 214–5.

49. Ibid., 215.

50. PP/KLE/B.74: Case Material: Patient Ju 1948. Klein Papers.

51. Winnicott, op. cit. (note 2), 257.

52. Ibid., 257.

53. Richards Graham, ‘Britain on the Couch: The Popularization of Psychoanalysis in Britain 1918–1940’, Science in Context, 13, 2 (2000), 183230: 184–201.

54. Rapp Dean, ‘The Early Discovery of Freud by the British General Educated Public, 1912–1919’, Social History of Medicine, 3, 2 (1990), 217243: 218.

55. Winnicott Donald, ‘Varieties of psychotherapy’, in Winnicott Clare, Shepherd Ray and Davis Madeleine (eds), Deprivation and Delinquency (London: Tavistock, 1984), 232240: 232.

56. The Ordinary Devoted Mother and her Babycost 1s. 2d. in 1949. For comparison, a typical psychoanalytic title from the Hogarth Press, such as Anna Freud’s The Psycho-Analytic Treatment of Children, cost 10s. 6d. in 1947.

57. PP/DWW/F.2: Adult Clinical Material 1950s–1960s, Winnicott Papers.

58. P32: Anonymous Account of Treatment with D. W. Winnicott, British Psychoanalytic Society, London.

59. Ibid.

60. Richards, op. cit. (note 53), 193.

61. PP/DWW/F.2: Adult Clinical Material 1950s–1960s, Winnicott Papers.

62. Ibid.

63. Ibid.

64. Ibid.

65. PP/EFG/B88/2: Griffith: For Studies in the Symbolism of Dreams. Case material IV, Griffith Papers and PP/EFG/B20/2: Griffith Case Material: Dream Material – Misc. Patients, Griffith Papers.

66. PP/EFG/B17: Case Material: Account and Case of Man with Drawings, Griffith Papers.

67. PP/EFG/B126: Notes for Lecture on the Use of Art and Painting in Psychotherapy, Griffith Papers.

68. Jung Carl, ‘The practical use of dream-analysis’, in Raine Kathleen (ed.), Dreams (London: Routledge, 2002), 87108: 98.

69. Lewis, Clark and Morgan, op. cit. (note 15), 91–2.

70. Rose Nikolas, Governing the Soul (London: Routledge, 1991), 224.

71. Lewis, Clark and Morgan, op. cit. (note 15), 105.

72. PP/EFG/B.126: Notes for Lecture on Use of Art and Painting in Psychotherapy, Griffith Papers.

73. Ibid.

74. PP/EFG/B.88/2: Griffith: For Studies in the Symbolism of Dreams. Case material IV, Griffith Papers.

75. PP/EFG/B.20/2: Griffith case material ‘dream material’, Griffith Papers.

76. Hacking Ian, Historical Ontology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), 250.

77. Dunne John, An Experiment with Time (London: Faber & Faber, 1934), 80.

78. PP/EFG/B.85/2: Griffith: For Studies in the Symbolism of Dreams. Case Material I, Griffith Papers.

79. Winnicott, op. cit. (note 2), 152.

80. PP/KLE/B.88: Klein: Patients’ Material. Dreams, Klein Papers.

81. Freud Anna, Infants without Families and Reports on the Hampstead Nurseries, 1939–1945 (London: Hogarth Press, 1974), 64.

82. Freud Anna, ‘The contributions of direct child observation to psychoanalysis’, in Freud Anna (ed.), Research at the Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic and Other Papers 1956–1965 (New York: International Universities Press, 1969), 97104: 101.

83. For the broader social history of psychoanalysis, see Eli Zaretsky, Secrets of the Soul: A Social and Cultural History of Psychoanalysis (New York: Knopf, 2004).

84. PP/KLE/B.75: Case material: Patient BA 1949–1950, Klein Papers.

85. No doctor in this period was obliged to give contraceptive advice under the National Health Service unless it was necessary for medical treatment, Audrey Leathard, The Fight for Family Planning (London: Macmillan, 1980), 80.

86. PP/KLE/B.75: Case material: Patient BA 1949-1950, Klein Papers; EFG B85/2: Griffith ‘For studies in the symbolism of dreams’ case material I, Griffith Papers; EFG/B13: Case of hypoglycaemic episodes with possible psychological causes c.1951, Griffith Papers.

87. As John Forrester argues for the early twentieth century, ‘there was no surer way of becoming a Freudian than by repeating Freud’s methods on one’s own dream’: John Forrester, ‘Remembering and Forgetting Freud in Early Twentieth-Century Dreams’, Science in Context, 19, 1 (2006), 65–85: 70.

88. EFG B85/2: Griffith ‘For studies in the symbolism of dreams’ case material I, Griffith Papers.

John Forrester, Nick Hopwood and Alice Poskett provided invaluable comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Suggestions from two anonymous reviewers also encouraged me to refine my analysis. I’d additionally like to thank the staff at both the Wellcome Library and the British Psychoanalytic Society for their assistance. This paper is available open access thanks to the financial support of the Wellcome Trust.

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