Psychoanalysis > Papers

An Autonomous Mechanism
for Maintaining the Investment?

By Jean Chiriac

I will tell here about a dream received from a psychoanalysis disciple who wrote it down himself providing also some details about the circumstances in which the dream took place. The dream and the author's comments are marked in italics.

    I dreamt last night about a girl I felt very attracted to and whom I was kissing a lot. She was telling me she would come back later on and that I should wait for her. She was a little bit taller than me and she had a short hair cut. I was extremely excited and I was feeling her as if she was "my soul mate". I remembered I had a lot of dreams of this type in the past.

    It's been a long time since I did not have any libido for something and I have recently felt it accumulating in a very unpleasant manner and I was feeling full, swollen etc. Impossible to get rid of this state, I realized it was very dangerous. That dream let the accumulation go and now I feel much lighter, more alive.

I remind you that for Freud the main mission of the dream is to protect sleeping. However, the dream satisfies in a disguised form some needs which are repressed. Can we talk about repression in this case? More precisely, about a repression of sexuality?

Yes, we can, if the sexual need the dream tells us about is connected to a person the dreamer is not allowed to touch in the day to day life. (1) We cannot imagine sexual relationships with the mother, sister or other relatives. The same goes for our friends' wives, etc.

So we would have to search for free associations (2) such as:

    - She was telling me she would come later on - what does this paragraph reminds of? It has to be connected with a real life event when the dreamer heard or read something alike.

    - She was a little bit taller than me... Again an indication that might take us to a particular person. However, we do not have to think literally to a taller person, we might quite look at it the other way around and think about somebody shorter... It often happens in our dreams that tall means short and vice versa.

    - She had a short hair cut - here's an interesting detail the dreamer does not insist on. He thinks it's enough to mention he often had this type of dreams.

It is interesting to think of Jung's approach too. For Jung, sexuality in a dream is not always sexuality as penis does not equal phallus. The penis is a genital male organ while phallus takes us to the idea of creative force, and generally speaking has an apotropaic function.

In Jung's opinion we have to broaden the dream material in the moment when, pay attention! there are no associations. We have an element in this dream that might take us to this idea - that is, the fact that the dreamed woman was acknowledged as "my soul mate". Anima is the other half of the man, meaning his emotional/affective sphere. An anima who is also modern (she has a short hair cut). Integrating the anima is one of the important steps Jung's patient is supposed to take after confronting the shadow in the individuation process. (3) But anima is also the personification of the unconscious and we are expecting soon the wise and center archetypes etc.

Perhaps it is premature to refer to Jung in this case. We still do not have the dreamer's associations and we cannot skip this aspect, as it is so easily done by Jung's followers!

I have started this material with the title An Autonomous Mechanism for Maintaining the Investment (cathexis). I took into account another idea which explains this dream - not necessary the representation of a repressed drive. The libido accumulation - the stasis - the dream's author was talking about in his presentation can be the reason behind this dream. We focus mainly on the dream effect and not on its significance. When I say "effect" I refer to abreaction or catharsis, to what the author of the dream called releasing the accumulation. So, an abreaction dream - let's call it like this - which maintains the internal excitement at a constant level in the psychic apparatus, evacuating all the extras.

There are many such dream examples I will not talk about here. I've just wanted to show that a dream can be the solution not only for sexual needs. Still, the sexual function remains the first reason for the abreaction dreams. It is known that sexuality does not have only a reproduction role but also a role of relaxing, of internal re-balancing of the organism at the psychosomatic level.

1. It is highly unlikely to deal with the repression of the sexual drive as such. The modern man has a different view on his/her sexual life, view which is characterized by permissiveness.

2. The association method according to Freud requires the gathering of free associations. See our section on free association method. Also you may take our initiation into psychoanalysis course for further information on association method and other psychoanalytic basics.

3. Learn more about Carl Jung and his main concepts by visiting our site at


<= Back to Papers Section

Copyright 2002-2024, AROPA. All rights reserved.