DREAM STUDIES

Dream interpretation - foreign places as dream symbols

Most dreams represent recent thoughts especially from the day before as we think over feelings and events which have just occurred. Your dreams that night will represent how our minds have made sense of what has just happened. So your dreams represent your thoughts. Nowadays it is widely accepted that dreams link to conscious feelings rather than unconscious feelings. So we will be much more aware of what our dreams mean. They will represent the conclusions that are forming in our minds. They will be written in the language of dream symbolism. Take for instance the following dream.

THE DREAM I am in some hospital receiving treatment. There is a nurse introducing me to the various procedures that need to be carried out. I am chatting with her about precisely what has to be done. At one stage I wash my hair. The nurse also mentions something about foreign and home doctors. I say that you cannot have too many foreign doctors because you will not be able to communicate properly. There had to be the right balance of English speaking and foreign speaking doctors.

We know from experience that dreams link to recent feelings. If we could truly translate them they would be the types of phrases that we would write down in a diary. They would be the key thoughts which pinpoint our thoughts and emotions. So why not work this in reverse. In this case we know that the dreamer was feeling the following - "I seem lacking in enthusiasm for life right now. I need to inject some new and fresh experiences to brighten myself up. But I want to keep my routine. I don't want to change too drastically." How could this thought be represented by the dream which followed?

Foreign places in dreams can represent things which are new and different. The very reason we visit foreign places is to freshen ourselves up. We enjoy new experiences and new places. So a dream about foreign places and familiar places maybe using that kind of metaphor. Notice the similarity in the dream and in reality. In the dream the dreamer wanted to get the right balance of foreign and home doctors. In real life the dreamer wanted to get the right balance between new experiences and things which were part of his routine. So the dream seems to mimic reality. Its done in a way which seems bizarre but once you understand how dreams work you start to see how the symbolism works. We know the dream will pick up on this key thought of the dreamer and we look for ways in which the dream might express that key thought.

So if we reduce the symbolism down to key phrases we see that the dream uses foreign as a way of expressing "new people" and "new places" and links this to a need to "freshen up his life".

Now lets use the same methods - reverse analysis of dreams - to see how the next dream works. Bear in mind that the dreamers was sick of restrictions being placed on him by his parents and others.

THE DREAM In my dreams my parents are being killed, either by me or some random group of people. After they die, I run off to another country being happy.

Actually this dream just depicts this type of feeling - "I sometimes hate my parents. I just want to be free of responsibility and restrictions". So foreign places in this dream have a similar meaning to the previous dream. Foreignplaces represent the wish to escape routine and restrictions.

Now try the next dream.

THE DREAM I am in a place that seems rather distant and unfamiliar. I am walking through the house and seem to be doing something that I do not like. My sister is here and I talk with her briefly.

The dreamer had for a long time had problems with her foot. But now she was starting to realise that she maybe affected permanently. That this indeed was the start of her old age. How could this dream depict this thought? Dreams do not use words they use symbols. By using foreign and unfamiliar places its a way of saying "this is a new and quite unpleasant feeling". The dream uses the metaphor in a negative sense - expressing the dreamers unhappiness at a new type of feeling which the dreamers has never had before. She is in a new place (old age with severe health problems which never seem to go away).

Sometimes the symbols maybe used in odd ways but we look for ways in which the dream symbols seem to mirror reality.

Now try the next dream. The dreamer had been thinking about how he had been bending the rules for a friend at a local community centre. He realised that others may dislike this favourable treatment.

THE DREAM I was being told off by some judges. I was allowing two blond guys to cheat. I saw a foreigner who was frowning.

So how could the dream depict his thoughts about treating people fairly at a community centre? For a start the judges are symbols of fair treatment so that is a theme which was central to his thoughts the previous night. He knew he had to treat people fairly and the job of a judge is to treat people equally. In the dream it uses local people and foreign people. In real life the dreamer was thinking about friends being treated well as opposed to everyone else. Foreign people frowning was the dreams way of saying "everyone else will frown at me giving my friend special treatment".

On the face of it the dream seems totally unrelated. But it deals with exactly the same themes - fair treatment and cheating (in real life the issue was of treating people who were not friends unfairly).

Now read the next dream.

DREAM - Foreigners think I am a criminal I was living in a house with Chinese neighbours. I did not know them at all. They had some distrust of me because they thought I was a criminal or they were criminals(something like that).

The night of the dream the dreamers sleep was disrupted by a neighbour who was very ill. She was screaming in pain. The dreamer did not do anything because he knew by experience that she had an emergency button she could press in case of emergencies like this and very soon social services would be here to deal with her. He also knew that she would reject his help as she was very cranky and disliked the dreamer. Nevertheless he felt guilty at hearing her screams and doing nothing.

If we assume that this dream was about this big thought and feelings of guilt the night before then how does the symbolism work? Well its rather like a metaphor saying that the dreamers neighbour would not want his help even in her dire situation because she didn't trust him and never had anything to do with him. He might have well have been Chinese!

Both the previous two dreams use foreigners as symbols of closeness. In the first local people are symbols of people you like (friends). In the second dream the neighbours were foreigners (Chinese) expressing the dreamers relationship with his neighbour (which was almost non existent).

DREAM STUDIES