Freud, Jung and Adler -or- A Dangerous Method

Shakespearean Dramaturgy -or- Interpretation of Dreams

If Shakespeare wrote "all the world's a stage", and the philosopher Arthur Schoepenhauer stated that "everyone while he dreams, is a Shakespeare", then Carl Gustav Jung would extend this Shakespearean dramaturgical metaphor by calling the dream; "a theatre, in which the dreamer is scene, player, prompter, director, author, audience, and critic." 

Ken Frieden's "Freud's Dream of Interpretation" sees; "The dream in itself is a fiction" and "Psychoanalysis is a drama in which the patient tries on masks, playing opposite the analyst's feigned neutrality." If the dream is a dramatic fiction, then is it a tragedy, or is it a comedy? The IIDR dream interpretation "The Cosmic Joke -or- Stranger than Fiction" provides one Freudian answer. 

As for the idea of mask wearing, many dream interpretations posted at the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) website speak about the archetypal dramatic "persona" both in its light and dark personifications. The dream interpretation "The Holy Prostitute" dramaturgically reworks a dream found in Maryse Choisy's "Psychoanalysis of the Prostitute". 

To continue from this dramatic perspective of mask wearing, Freud's magnum opus "Interpretation of Dreams" can be read like Friedrich Schiller's "The Theatre considered as a Moral Institution" and "Intrique and Love" which mirror virtue and vice. Schiller's theodicy of a moral theatre closely resembles Gottfried Leibniz own theatrical "Theodicy", discussed in the dream IIDR interpretation "The Scared Canopy of the Dream". Frieden tells the reader, that; "Behind his masks, Freud is always an interpreter." 

Frieden discusses Freud's dream of Irma's injection, which became the "specimen dream of psychoanalysis", Frieden believes that; "Freud's interpretation of his prototypical example is punctuated by refusals to tell the full story. In a cynical footnote, Freud observes that he ‘was probably right not to place so much trust in the reader's discretion'. Like the relationship between Freud and his patient, the relationship between Freud and his reader is characterized by combative tensions and suspicions." 

In the IIDR dream interpretation "Freud's Self Deception", we find that these "suspicions" contributed to the escalating disagreements between Freud and Carl Jung, which ultimately dramatically "foreshadowed" the end of their collaborative work. To quote Jung; 

"Freud had a dream-I would not think it right to air the problem it involved. I interpreted it as best as I could, but added that a great deal more could be said about it if he would supply me with some additional details from his private life. Freud's response to these words was a curious look--a look of utmost suspicion. Then he said, ‘But I cannot risk my authority!' At that moment he lost it all together. That sentence burned itself into my memory; and in it the end of our relationship was already foreshadowed. Freud was placing personal authority above truth." 

In Freud's clinical case study of "Dora", we find the same combative tensions and suspicions of both the patient (Dora) and of the reader (of Dora's case study) in abundance. These clearly outlined disagreements between Freud and Dora aka "Ida Bauer" led to Ida's leaving Freud's care. The IIDR dream interpretation "Requiem for Ida Bauer" provides an ideological critical voice of Freud's case study.  

As a University student, I had read a book on dreams that the dream researcher Milton Kramer had edited. In one article there was a case study of the dreams of patients in Freudian, Jungian and Adlerian therapy. The findings of the study cannot be surprising, the patients began dreaming in terms of the metaphors and symbolism of each therapeutic orientation. They were learning to think using the language their therapists were teaching. Since reading that article, I have been against interpretative "methodical monism", for they can become harmful political and ideological forms of indoctrination and brainwashing. Recall Freud's own words to Jung for not disclosing associations and the truth about his dream; "But I cannot risk my authority!" 

Frieden tells the reader; "Some authors assert that Freud manipulated his patients, but it is more accurate to say that the ‘talking cure' manipulates the patient's fictions." Most likely it is "more accurate" to say that Freud manipulated in three ways; his patients, his readers and his collaborators and wanted them all submit to his authority. This amounts to nothing less than the Freudian authoritarian rhetoric of the dream. The IIDR dream interpretation; "Interpretation of Dreams -or- In the Blink of an Eye: Part 3" discusses this male dominated psychoanalytic approach to therapy. 

Frieden is somewhat correct in saying that the "talking cure" is about the patient's "fictions", but it is not about manipulating these fictions, instead it's about making the patient aware of what Alfred Adler called the person's unconscious "guiding fictions" which influence a person's conscious "life style". By making the person more aware of the social unconscious dramatic process of fiction making, it gives them the freedom and ability to see, understand and change the fictive life goals they want to live by. 

From a popular culture perspective the film "A Dangerous Method" provides insight into the dramatic stage conflicts of Freud and Jung's and their theories about dreams and society. Cronenberg's "clinical realism" adds to Hollywood's realism of historical film pieces.


All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.