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The dreamwork is Sigmund Freud‘s expression for the psychological processes that disguise the real meaning of dreams to the dreamer so that sleep is not interrupted by disturbing dream images. The overt, surface content of dreams Freud called the manifest dream. The hidden meaning of dreams, which he believed could be uncovered by psychoanalysis, Freud called the latent dream.

In Freud’s view, the purpose of dreams is to allow us to satisfy in fantasies the instinctual urges that society judges to be unacceptable in some way, such as engaging in sex with a parent (a major theme in Freudian psychology). So that we do not awaken as a result of the strong emotions that would be evoked if we were to dream about the literal fulfillment of such desires, the part of the mind that Freud called the censor transforms the dream content so as to disguise its true meaning. The dreamwork is the censoring process. Freud explicitly identified five processes brought into play during dreamwork: displacement, condensation, symbolization, projection, and secondary revision.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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Invoking the (from a conventional rationalist viewpoint, outrageous) conceit of telepathy, The Dream Seminar and Dream Mapping probed the idea that "dreamworking" and fantasying--and by extension artistic imagining--could best be understood and pursued as intersubjective rather than individualistic activities, a proposition with clear implications for the standard art-historical idea of "influence": It replaces the notion of the conscious, sequential transmission of known "facts" with a much more nebulous, constellatory model.