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the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

The process whereby the underlying wish is translated into the manifest content is called dreamwork. The purpose of dreamwork is to transform the forbidden wish into a non-threatening form, thus reducing anxiety and allowing us to continue sleeping. Dreamwork involves the process of condensation, displacement, and secondary elaboration.

The process of condensation is the joining of two or more ideas/images into one. For example, a dream about a man may be a dream about both one’s father and one’s lover. A dream about a house might be the condensation of worries about security as well as worries about one’s appearance to the rest of the world.

Displacement takes place when we transform the person or object we are really concerned about to someone else. For example, one of Freud’s patients was extremely resentful of his sister-in-law and used to refer to her as a dog, dreamed of strangling a small white dog.

Freud interpreted this as representing his wish to kill his sister-in-law.  If the patient would have really dreamed of killing his sister-in-law, he would have felt guilty. The unconscious mind transformed her into a dog to protect him.