Patients 'rehearse' Changing Their Dreams

NEW YORK, July 26 (UPI) — A growing number of nightmare sufferers are turning to a controversial treatment called scripting or dream mastery, scientists say.

Part of a technique called imagery rehearsal therapy, the procedure has patients “rehearse” the act of changing a disturbing dream into a non-threatening one while awake, The New York Times reported Monday.

Researchers say a growing body of evidence suggests this kind of cognitive therapy can help reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares, or even eliminate them, the newspaper said.

Some therapists worry that the technique, developed by Dr. Barry Krakow of the Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences center in Albuquerque, interferes with a vital process in which dreams are sending crucial messages to the waking mind.

Nightmares are necessary because they “bring up issues in bold print,” Jane White-Lewis, a psychologist in Guilford, Conn., said.

Between 4 percent and 8 percent of adults report experiencing nightmares as often as once per week or more, sleep researchers have found. The rate is as high as 90 percent among groups like combat veterans and rape victims, Krakow said.

Treatment of conditions like post-traumatic stress needed to deal much more actively with nightmares, he said.

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