1st Edition

The Dreams of a Child A Case Study in Early Forms of Dreaming

By Claudio Colace Copyright 2022
    250 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    250 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This fascinating and highly original book presents a longitudinal systematic study of the earliest form of human dreaming in a child, from ages 4 through 10.

    Claudio Colace draws upon his extensive research on children’s dreams, his expertise in brain science and an intimate knowledge of a single subject, his son Marco, to demonstrate the validity of an ontogenetic approach to the understanding of dream processes. The availability of ‘first-hand’ information about the daytime experiences of the author’s son in relation to dream contents, as well as the longitudinal approach of the study, prove to be useful for a qualitative in-depth analysis of the nature and function of infantile dreams and of the changes that occur in the dreaming process as the child grows, from the early forms to more complex ones. Affirming the significance of Freud’s explorations of infantile dreaming, this book attests to the nature of dreaming as a meaningful psychic act rather than the result of random processes.

    Expanding beyond a purely psychotherapeutic context, the book analyzes the development of dreams systematically and in relation to Freud’s theories on the human mind, making it an important read for clinicians, scholars and researchers interested in dream functions, child development and psychodynamic theory.

    Introduction Part 1: Methodological aspects of the study  1. The credibility of children's dream reports  2. The methodology of this study  Part 2: The debut of dreaming activity: infantile dreams (ages four to five)  3. The predominance of clear wish-fulfilment dreams  4. Nature of the wishes appearing in dream reports  5. Daytime sources and triggering conditions of clear wish-fulfilment dreams  6. How do dreams act? The modus operandi of clear wish-fulfilment dreams  7. Less common forms of dreaming in infancy  Part 3: The decline of infantile forms of dreaming (ages six to seven)  8. Changes in dream repertoire and developments in wish-fulfilment dreaming  9. Development of dream bizarreness and dream-work operations  10. Bad dreams  11. Ego and super-ego development and changes in dreaming  Part 4: Dreaming in middle childhood (ages eight to ten)  12. Changes in dream repertoire and developments in wish-fulfilment dreams at ages 8-10  13. Dream distortion and new dream-works operations  14. Changes in bad dreams  Part 5: The meaning and function of infantile dreams  15. The function of dreams: the affective-reestablishment (AR) hypothesis  16. Infantile forms of dreaming in adults  17. A new ontogenetic psychological-psychoanalytic model of dream  Conclusions


    Claudio Colace, M.D., Ph.D., is a psychologist and psychotherapist at the Operational Unit of Psychology of the ASL Viterbo (National Health Service Office, Italy), where he works at the Outpatient Psychology Department and at the Center for Drug Addictions of Civita Castellana (Viterbo). He obtained an M.D. in Psychology at the University of Rome "La Sapienza", a post-graduate Master in Neurophysiology of Consciousness State, Psychopathology and Psychotherapy at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and a Ph.D. in Psychology at the Department of Psychology of the University of Bologna, Italy. He is the author of scientific contributions published in The American Journal on Addictions, Neuropsychoanalysis, Alcohol and Drug Review, Sleep and Hypnosis, Sleep and Sleep Research. He is the author of Children’s Dreams: From Freud’s Observations to Modern Dream Research (London, 2010, Karnac Books); Drug Dreams: Clinical and Research Implications of Dreams about Drugs in Drug-addicted Patients (London, 2014, Karnac Books); and of some Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences entries: "Dream", "Latent Dream Content" and "Manifest Dream Contents" (eds. V. Zeigler-Hill and T. Shackelford, Springer International Publisher, 2018).

    In his new book, The Dreams of a Child, Claudio Colace details a seven-year longitudinal study of his son’s dreams. This book takes readers on a journey into the developmental course of dreaming and vividly shows how dreams reach a crescendo of dynamic complexity in childhood. The Dreams of a Child is a must-read for anyone interested in the contemporary Freudian view of children’s dreams.
    Calvin Kai-Ching Yu, Professor at Hong Kong Shue Yan University