Dreamwork Exercise


This assignment invites you to deepen your understanding of Freud’s approach to dreams by examining a dream of your own.  In the process you will engage in both the unstructured process of free association (primary process) and the structured process of analysis (secondary process). 


Please write under the following headings: I. The Dream, II. Free Associations, III. The Dream Work. 

1.    The Dream: Describe the dream (the manifest content).

2.    Free Associations: Allow yourself some space and time to free associate to several of the elements of your dream.  Give an account of what emerges in the process.  Don’t try to tie them together or make sense of them yet.

Suggestion:  The only rule here, of course, is that you acknowledge and write down virtually anything that comes to mind in associating to the dream elements.  As in Freud’s own illustration, these will not simply be one-word associations, but ideas, images, memories, emotions – whatever comes to mind.


3.    The Dream Work: Write on the following question:  What are the underlying thoughts and emotions expressed by the dream and how is this accomplished?


·      Be aware of common themes and/or elements that emerge from the dram and the associations

·      Identify the “dream work” explicitly -- i.e., the process(es) by which the latent content was transformed into the manifest content.  Use the notions of dream displacement, condensation, and overdetermination.

·      Locate the latent content within your life more broadly -- i.e., with respect to themes, relationships, events

You need not go beyond your comfort zone in this section; but in any case, you can be sure that I will treat your essays as entirely confidential.  I will be the only one to read your exercise.


Minimum length = three pages

Section III should be at least a page.


Please submit your dream paper to me via google docs