Building Into the Dark: Psychoanalytic Explorations Into Psychosis, Dream and Cinema

Ladd, Emma
Appel, Stephen
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

This dissertation is an investigation into the relationship between the experiences of psychosis, dreaming, and watching a film. Freud’s original idea that we might be able to subject both dream and delusion to analysis and interpretation in the clinical situation has also been extensively applied in the field of psychoanalytic film criticism. It has been argued, though, that this approach is influenced by our fear of the darkness and uncertainty associated with these regressive areas, and may thus be seen as somewhat limiting. This dissertation takes the form of a modified systematic review - with clinical illustrations - of the three areas: psychosis, dreaming and film spectatorship. The literature suggests that through an understanding and exploration of their own regressive shifts in consciousness, both psychotherapist and film spectator may become able to ‘stay with the dream a little longer’. Through accessing a state of reverie, the psychotherapist is able to dream with, and dream for, the psychotic client, and to attempt to create a space in which a client may begin to dream for herself. Conclusions are drawn that inform clinical practice, and implications for further research are considered.

Psychoanalysis , Dreams , Psychoses , Motion pictures
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