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Lucid dreaming techniques for nightmare mastery

answered 07:03 PM EST, Thu October 04, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
I have PTSD and bad chronic nightmares/insomnia fear of sleeping. I have heard that lucid dreaming can be helpful in overcoming chromic nightmares but I cannot get the hang of it. Is this a technique that someone can teach me? Do you know how I can learn to do this so I can change the course of my dreams when they get nasty?

Penny Bell Says...

Penny Bell P. Bell
Master of Counselling, Grad Dip Counselling, Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy, MACA
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I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you.  Sleeping well is important for all aspects of our lives - physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Recently there have been some studies where participants who were experiencing nightmares due to post traumatic stress disorder had improvement in the frequency of nightmares after Lucid Dreaming Therapy (LDT), which is training in becoming lucid (realising that one is dreaming while still in the experience of the dream) which allows the dreamer to alter the storyline of the dream and avoid the negative emotions associated with once again re-experiencing a traumatic event.  The therapy consists of exercises in which the participants rehearse the nightmare imagery during the day, changing the outcome of the nightmare to a positive one.  The training in the research projects took place in the context of cognitive behaviour therapy sessions which adhered to a series of steps in the form of a training program, which involved education about nightmares, explanation of the exposure therapy, writing down the nightmares, progressive muscle relaxation, rehearsing nightmare imagery in its original form for 15 minutes per day, and rehearsing nightmare imagery in its changed form for 15 minutes per day.  Participants kept a diary throughout.  Perhaps you can find a therapist who is familiar with the technique who will work with you, and if not, I believe there are several books, some self-help, that you could try.  I hope you can find relief from your nightmares and that the above information is helpful to you.

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Page last updated Oct 04, 2012

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Penny Bell - Master of Counselling, Grad Dip Counselling, Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy, MACA
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