Jack Schwartz, LCSW, PsyD, NCPsyA graduated from the New Jersey Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis, where he is a faculty member, lecturer and control analyst. He is a NAAP Nationally Certified Psychoanalyst, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor. He holds degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University Yeshiva University (where he received the Distinguished Graduate Student Award) and International University. He served as the Senior Forensic Psychologist in Passaic County New Jersey for over 15 years, specializing in criminal investigations, probation, child custody issues, and has regularly served the court as an expert witness. Dr. Schwartz maintains a full private practice in Northern New Jersey, working with children, adolescents, couples and adults. He frequently lectures on dream analysis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Resilience and other matters related to the practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. He is a regular contributor to the New Jersey Institute Viewpoints newsletter, and is the editor for the NJ Clinical Social Worker highly regarded newsletter, the Forum. Dr. Schwartz has written both short fiction, and technical articles on Dream Analysis and Holocaust Survivors, and has published a psychoanalytic novel, Our Time is Up, available on Amazon, soon to be an e‑book.
Presentation at 2012 ORI Annual Conference, “Voyages Into the Internal World: Archetypes, Internal Objects, and Internal Saboteurs. Three Ways of Looking at Self-sabotage (with Jungian, Kleinian, and Fairbairnian Perspectives)”:
DYING TO BE SEEN: FAIRBAIRN’S ENDOSCOPIC SYSTEM AND THE SELF-SABOTEUR — Dr. .Jack Schwartz
Late Jeff Seinfeld once said to me that Fairbairn taught us that we as individuals have a need to be “seen” for who we are. Unlike Klein, Fairbairn made the radical departure from Freud’s drive theory and placed the need to search and relate to others as the fundamental motivational drive. And in only the context of that interpersonal field do we establish internal object relational paradigms that organize our sense of self and capacity to engage the world, in both healthy and non-healthy ways. The case that will be mentioned involves a young man, tormented by inner saboteurs, internalized at a young age and later reinforced throughout his life, and through his search to be “seen” and related to at his most vulnerable level, enabled him to move his life forward beyond all expectation.
“Fairbairn developed a theory of endopsychic structure that completely reformulated psychoanalytic theory. In other words the outside experienced is internalized and structured into psychological affective constructs or components which in turn are then expressed within the context of a relational experience, and between the aspects of the components themselves. Thus, instead of seeing relationships as the result of drive discharge, tension reduction, his theory saw self-expression in the context of relational paradigms, specifically he postulated the inherent human drive is to form relationships, make connections, as the foundation of all psychic functioning…”
Schwartz, J. (2014). Freud’s Irma Dream, the Origin of Psychoanalysis, and a Bloody Nose. MindCosiliums, 14(9), 1–49.
Freud (1900) conceived the entirety of The Interpretation of Dreams “on the model of an imaginary walk” (p.122). Chapter Two begins with the analysis of the “dream specimen” (Erikson, 1954), otherwise known as the “dream of Irma’s injection” or the “Irma dream.” While the Irma dream has sparked a cottage industry in psychotherapeutic approaches to dream analysis, Freud’s original intention of using dreams as a heuristic device has instead become ironically an object of study about Freud himself. If one is to return to Freud’s original premise and method of dream interpretation, after adapting some valuable insights of later psychotherapists, then a different and historically accurate interpretation of the Irma dream emerges, and the intended focus upon the therapeutic value of the process of discussing dreams is restored. I invite the reader to use the same “imaginary walk” as an approach to this paper and to my review of the major life circumstances from which the dream arises. I then move to a review of a number of important papers which re-interpret the Irma dream. Each writer’s approach to the Irma dream offers new insights into Freud’s deeper motivations and professional struggles, and helps us see the many changes in how clinicians listen and work with dreams. Following this, I move on to my contribution of reviewing the Irma dream as a window into Freud’s consulting room, interpreting the key transferences (most importantly identifying Irma’s transference to Freud), in addition to the countertransferences and resistances embedded in the structure if the specimen dream.
Approaching the 120-year mark, the dream of Irma’s injection has also become the medium through which clinicians have supported, expanded, and even attacked Freud’s theories, methods, and personal integrity (Masson, 1984). It has captured the imagination and interest of generations of analysts and psychohistorians, and provided a psychobiographical window into the Father of Psychoanalysis at the moment of his greatest and most enduring discovery. In truth, the controversy surrounding this dream stems not only from its controversial nature or historical interest, but also from Freud’s incomplete handling of it. Hence, when I am referring to the Irma dream here, unless otherwise specified I am referring to both the dream text and its accompanying associations.