Lecture I

7 November 1928

Dr. Jung:

Ladies and Gentlemen: Dream analysis is the central problem of the analytical treatment, because it is the most important technical means of opening up an avenue to the unconscious. The main object in this tr eatment, as you know, is to get at the message of the unconscious.

In analysis we must be very careful not to assume that we know all about the patient or that e know the way out of his difficulties. If the doctor tells him what he thinks the trouble may be, he follows the doctor’s suggestions and does not experience himself. It is important that the doctor admits he does not know; then both are ready to accept the impartial facts of nature, scientifi realities. Personal opinions are more or less arbitrary judgments and may be all wrong; we are never sure of being right. Therefore we should seek the facts provided by dreams. Dreams are objective facts. They do not answer our expectations, and we have not invented them; if one intends to dream of certain things, one finds it impossible.

We dream of our questions, our difficulties. Our dreams are most peculiarly independent of our consciousness and exceedingly valuable because they cannot cheat. They are as difficult to read as the facts of physiology have always been difficult to read. Just as a serious technique is required to work out a diagnosis of heart, liver, kidneys, etc., so we have had to work out a serious technique in order to read the impartial facts of dreams.

I cannot discuss the different methods here, but submit the material. The dreams chosen for discussion are the ordinary dreams of a patient of mine, because one learns more from ordinary dreams. The more interesting dreams are very thrilling, but they are easier to understand than the minor ones.

The dreamer is a business man of forty-five, a good intellect, cultivated, prosperous, very polite and social, married, with three or four children; not very neurotic but “touchy”; his main trouble is thta he is irritable and particularly anxious to avoid situations where some one might reproach him or hurt him. He had a pain in his stomach and felt nauseated once when the police held him up for speeding.

This shows that something is not quite right. He tries to be terribly righteous, and only those who have the ability or tendency to be very wrong try to be so very right, to attain perfection; when people try to be abnormally good, something is trying to go absolutely wrong.

He has a very correct surface–manners, speech, clothing, he is very careful in every possible; doesn’t smoke much or drink, and has reasonable views about how one should live. But behind that virtuous surface there is some trouble in his sexuality; he has grown more or less apart from his wife, who is no longer particularly interested in him and is therefore frigid. So he began to be attracted by new things, chiefly by what we call women; he occasionally goes to high-class prostitutes, and then, to compensate, he tries to be more and more correct. He won’t face his trouble, he explains it as an “occasional mistake,” repents, and says each time it “will not happen again,” like masturbation–until the day after tomorrow.

This is an immoral way of behaving towards the problem, for so it is never solved but keeps the person feeling chronically morally inferior. A state of morbid inferiority which has to be compensate by an excess of correctness is not nice for himself or his family or for others. It has a very bad influence on his wife; she is chilled by his awful correctness, for then she must not be improper in any way, so she cannot become conscious of herself and punishes him with frigidity. Such correctness has a terribly chilling effect, it makes one feel awfully inferior. If I meet any one so very virtuous, I feel meant for hell, I don’t feel well with very virtuous people!

That problem swamps him. He has read a good deal of psychology and books about sex, but still has this unsolved problem which should be dealt with; therefore he came to me. Although he was not particularly neurotic, things would slowly grow worse and worse, and he thought I could tell him what to do about it. I said I had no idea. He was upset: “I thought you would know.” Then I said: “I don’t know the solution of your problem, but there are dreams, impartial facts, which might give information; let us see what they say.”

So we began his dream analysis.