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the SelfThe Cambridge Companion to LacanThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Clinical LacanThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Condition of MadnessThe Couch and the TreeThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Dissociative Mind in PsychoanalysisThe Dreams of InterpretationThe Examined LifeThe Fall Of An IconThe Freud EncyclopediaThe Freud FilesThe Freud WarsThe Fright of Real TearsThe Future of PsychoanalysisThe Gift of TherapyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Knotted SubjectThe Last Good FreudianThe Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto RankThe Mind According to ShakespeareThe Mystery of PersonalityThe Mythological UnconsciousThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe New PsychoanalysisThe Power of FeelingsThe Psychoanalytic MovementThe Psychoanalytic MysticThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Puppet and the DwarfThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Revolt of the PrimitiveThe Seminar of 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NocturnesReview - Nocturnes
On Listening to Dreams
by Paul Lippmann
Analytic Press, 2000
Review by Susan Hericks, Ph.D
Jun 30th 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 26)

Paul Lippman, psychoanalyst, is also an outstanding writer. It is almost too bad that in this book speaks primarily to his peers, for his lyrical and jargon-free writing is flowing and meditative, insightful and knowledgeable, sensitive and persuasive. Such writing makes me wish that I took more away from this argument to revalue dreams both in our own lives and in therapeutic practice. Perhaps it was somewhat lost on me, the already converted.

To Lippman's credit, he maintains an artful tension as he unhurriedly ponders his subject. The private and social aspects of the dream, for example, are both carefully valued and balanced. On one hand, Lippman suggests with Freud, perhaps remembered dreams are "failed" dreams and we ought to trust more in the unseen processes of the unconscious; on the other hand, Lippman arrives at the end of his exploration confident that dreams and therapy go hand in hand.

While Nocturnes does not pretend to give an in-depth history of the role of dreaming and dream listening (another tension well thought out), Lipmann grounds his reflections in pre-twentieth century traditions as well as in the twentieth century, keeping a light-handed grip on the development of psychoanalysis for better and for worse. Lippman's own criticism of his field, enriched with his personal dreams and reflections, leaves one feeling confident that he must be a wonderful analyst himself. As for his colleagues, his concern for their narcissism and lack of care with dreams makes one doubt if therapy is a very good place to tell dreams at all, as well it should. I hope that this audience of Lippman's peers will read Nocturnes, especially if they aren't sympathetic with his plea for psychoanalysis to return to its dream-conscious roots with a gentle respect for the dream itself, the inner wisdom of the dreamer, and with the humility of knowing that we have lost as much as we have gained in distancing ourselves from ancient dreaming and dream-sharing practices. They could learn a thing or two. I would also recommend this book highly to those folks who are in therapy, working with dreams (perhaps for the first time), and who may be wondering what it's all about, and moreover, how his or her therapist is responding to dream telling. Lippman's attention to the ancient role of the dream listener is instructive here, offering insight into both the analyst's own pitfalls and into ways those listening to dreams may do so profitably.
 

© Susan Hericks, 2001
 

Susan Hericks earned her Ph.D. in Theology and Religion from Drew University in 2000. She is a writer with many interests, including depth psychology and Jungian dream work, feminist ethics, peace studies, and feminist science fiction. She firmly believes you can never have too many books or too many varieties of tea in the house.


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