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Unread January 10th, 2005, 10:45 PM
James Pretzer James Pretzer is offline
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Default Dealing with dreams in CT

This is a topic with a fairly long history, Dr. Beck wrote about dreams back in 1971. Beck suggests that the schemas, core beliefs, etc. that shape our waking cognitions also shape dreams (as well as spontaneous daydreams and drug-induced hallucinations). He suggests that this view provides a useful alternative to Freud's assertion that dreams embody wish-fulfilment. If it is true that dreams are shaped by the schemas and core beliefs that play an important role in psychopathology, then dreams may turn out to be a useful source of data when we are trying to identify dysfunctional beliefs.

This topic of dealing with dreams in CT has received more attention than many cognitive therapists realize including a Special Issue on CT and Dreams in the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy (Spring, 2002) and several outcome studies of CBT with nightmares. There are at least three studies of CBT (Imagery Rehersal Therapy) for nightmares and insomnia in trauma survivors with PTSD. The results are quite encouraging. In one study (Krakow, et al, 2001) three sessions of IRT decreased chronic nightmares, improved sleep quality, and decreased PTSD severity.
Krakow, et al., (2001). Imagery rehearsal therapy for chronic nightmares in sexual assault survivors with posttraumatic stress disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 286, 537-545.
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