Psychotherapy > Case Study

Billy's Dream

Billy is a 25 years old young man, a skilled worker in an economic unit. He has had a girlfriend for about 5 years and wants to marry her. He is a straight, modest man, gifted with a native intelligence.

He approached me about a dream he wanted me to interpret. He knew I was dealing with psychoanalysis, that I interpreted dreams and wanted my help from the bottom of his soul. He was observing for a while some alarming changes in his life, in his way of being. From a courageous guy, proud of his physical power, he became a coward, a depressed and very confused person. The dream, he thought, must have something to do with this behavioral change.

The dream, actually a short visual impression, was the following: Billy was helplessly watching a torrent of blood flooding the room through the window. It made him all wet, while he was just standing still, not knowing what to do!


We have already observed that the blocking feelings encountered at the end of the dream are also found in the awareness state. Billy became an undecided, confused man in the most common life situations. We conclude that the dream refers to his behavioral change.

I ask him about the wave of blood, about its meaning. (1) He does not know what to say. He has no suggestion about this scene. It seems that our interpretation does not stand a chance. We have no association from the real life to Billy's dream. After some free discussions I find out that Billy has wanted, for a long while, to have a child with his girlfriend. For him the child is a symbol of his virile force. I also find out he could not have had this child up to now. As I insist on the subject, he tells me that he recently had again the confirmation he was not to be a father: her girlfriend had her period.

So here is the interpretation of the dream: the wave of blood is an allusion to his girlfriend's period, and, implicitly, to the fact that Billy did not make her pregnant.

I find out more details about his intimate problems. The fact that the blood spreads over him emphasizes the idea that he would be to blame for the negative result. (I was to find out later on, that Billy's girlfriend was to blame.) This imaginary guilt is at the bottom of his behavioral change. Billy, as many other men, associated virility with fertility. This is the reason why he lost all his self confidence and self esteem from the moment he had again the proof that he would not have a child. It was as he had to admit he was not a man!


I published this dream with the purpose of illustrating the use of the dream analysis in the psychoanalytical work. We thus observe that Billy's dream is determined by the feelings of fear concerning his virility. But the object of this fear - the idea of virility - was repressed and the anxiety related to it remained suspended and lived as a feeling without any meaning. Unrelated to anything in particular, it is difficult, if not impossible, to remove it. But the dream and the analysis brought us up front its cause and thus we could work on it.


Conclusion: psychoanalysis approaches its cases starting from the principal of the analysis of the unconscious. The feelings, the experiences, the ideas as well as other repressed psychical contents can come back in the shape of neurotic symptoms and disorders. Also, many behavioral disorders, as it is the case here, find their roots in repression.

Psychoanalysis approaches the repressed and asks the patient to integrate consciously what it is rejected from his conscious mind. The analysis of dreams is a big step in the work of integration of the unconscious, repressed, material.

1. When we work with dream in the analytical procedure, we usually collect the associations of the dreamer. See also the article on how we deal with dream in psychoanalysis here.

Paper by J Jones.


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