Translating Freud’s ‘Dreamwork’ into Conversational/ Discursive Analyses for Contextual Analyses of Thinking

Freud’s Editing and Dream-Work Strategies

Equivalent Conversational/ Discursive Strategies for Contextual Analyses

Projection: Change in thought to take responsibility off the thinker and onto someone or something else Responsibility attribution used as strategy to take responsibility off the speaker (or thinker in our present case) and onto someone or something else
Rationalization: Reasons given in dreams to characters or to listener about the dream Giving reasons and explanations to convince listeners
Censorship: Secret or repressed content not mentioned or shown Lying or disguising to prevent listeners from finding out
Intellectualization: Abstract reasoning used to make dream content seem reasonable within dreams Giving abstract reasons to make monitorability more difficult
Lack of reality testing: Thoughts within dreams seem real but no testing present Words are detached from things and events so  monitorability depends on social events not the portrayed ‘reality’; I can get away with saying “I am the King of Bimbue and my family has ruled there for decades” and it can seem convincing
Displacement: Dream mentions or shows repressed content in some form but the dream focuses upon everything else except that Talking about something other than what is supposed to be the focus; politician answering a question by answering a different (and easier) question not the one asked
Symbolism: Something stands for or symbolizes repressed content in dream Using stories or metaphors to say something instead of saying it directly
Isolation: Can report the repressed content but without the connections to the context Hedging by using quotes and citation; indirect speech patterns; reported speech
Denial: The opposite of the repressed thoughts is stated or done Opposing what is said; being critical or challenging
Representation: The ways in which the dream thoughts are framed and portrayed are strategic with respect to repressed material The framing or portrayal or people and events when speaking; making concrete or abstract; using imagery to portray
Negation: The opposite is stated in the dream or is done The opposite is said from what should be said to the audience to keep it secret or unmonitorable; negatives are removed; “I’m not stealing anything!
Condensation: All the elements above for the repressed content can be condensed into a few fragments of dreams that appear quickly Many things are said combined into one; something is said but the listener is not the only audience for what is said; something ‘deep and meaningful’ is said which can bamboozle the listener and stop challenges

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