Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) is universally considered the ‘‘father’’ of psychoanalysis, a term that he first used in 1896. Upon his father’s death, Freud began a process of intensive self-analysis, which resulted in the writing of The Interpretation of Dreams (1899). This ‘‘magnum opus’’ (as many have called it) puts forth Freud’s early theories of the unconscious, which he was to develop throughout the remaining forty years of his life. The Interpretation of Dreams includes extensive, detailed analysis of many of Freud’s own dreams, as well as those of his friends, family, and clinical patients. He asserts that, contrary to the current scientific opinion, dreams are meaningful and that though they often seem nonsensical and absurd, dreams actually function according to a logic and language different from that of waking life. It is the task of the analyst to ‘‘translate’’ the language of dreams, which resembles a form of ‘‘hieroglyphics,’’ or word-pictures, into everyday speech. Through this process, analysis of dream-content can reveal valuable insight into the workings of the unconscious mind.
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