You know how in a dream you’re in your old house, or the school you went to, and it doesn’t really look much like your old house or your old school, but you somehow know that’s where you are?
Well I get that feeling when I listen to this song. For me, There’s No Such Place, from Augie March’s 2001 debut album (Sunset Studies), is about a dream. I don’t know if that’s what songwriter, Glenn Richards, had in mind, but that’s how it lands on me.
So, is it a Dream?
Firstly, there’s the title, repeated throughout the song, “there’s no such place”. That’s true of most dream locations. It’s rarely anywhere you’ve actually been. As I say, the locations sometimes feel like places you’ve been or know, but they’re usually quite unfamiliar in detail, which begs the question, where do these details come from? On the other hand, sometimes the locations in dreams are quite fantastical, which is why the fanciful landscapes of artists like Dali are sometimes described as “dreamscapes”.
Then there’s the music. Well, it’s positively “dreamy”…sometimes lilting, then almost coming to a stop, with it’s tinkling piano, plucked guitar, and drums that brush in half-heartedly in the chorus. Richards' distinctive, strained vocal delivers the lyrics in an almost lullaby-like croon.
The film clip adds to the impression. It’s over-exposed and under-exposed, grainy, soft-focus, snatched images, like impressions in a dream. Take a look at it now:
There’s other clues to dreaminess in the lyrics:
There is no such place - Blasted in appearance and a composite of fearful minutes Frozen in the waking instant
Longing, things I long for, Peaceful nights, strangers at the door, O come in, come in,
Those first three lines are a quite poetic description of the moment of waking from a dream - that disorientating funk between sleep and wakefulness. The next three almost refer to the early Freudian notion that dreams were unconscious “wish fulfillment”.
Is there any point engaging in dream interpretation in therapy?
This mention of Freud brings me to a final note about dream interpretation. Suffice to say that views about the meaning of dreams have changed throughout history. In modern psychology, it all began with Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams (1900). Freud referred to dreams as “the royal road to the unconscious.” Later, Jung, Freud’s student turned rival, stated, “the dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche.” The details of their interpretive techniques differed considerably. Suffice to say, any attempt to interpret dreams is highly subjective and cannot be put to any form of strict scientific scrutiny.
This need not mean that any discussion of dreams in therapy is pointless or a waste of time. Discussion of what the various elements of dreams mean for the client may well have therapeutic value, especially in the context of a psychodynamic approach. Discussion around symbolic meaning of elements in a dreamscape and the feelings surrounding these elements can be quite rewarding for the dreamer. Such discussion is quite creative for both client and therapist, and can prove very clarifying and cathartic for the client.
It’s often said that to remember the maximum detail from a dream, one must attempt to write them down them as close to waking as possible. If you haven’t before, try to do so, and take them to your next counselling session. You might be surprised by the results!
If you'd like to make an appointment to see me to discuss a dream or two, go to my CONTACT PAGE and email your details or give me a call.