Trauma survivors often report suffering from dreams that reference traumatic incidents. In addition, the re-occurrence of trauma memories during sleep has long-term, negative physical ramifications and emotional impacts on interpersonal relationships and occupational functioning. Clients who experience dissociative episodes and traumatic stress symptoms can learn about issues underlying their nightmares and be empowered to better understand their symptoms, resulting in increased resilience. This presentation discusses Nightmare therapy/Dreamwork techniques designed to reduce the frequency and intensity of trauma-based nightmares. A major emphasis will be the description and case examples of two methods of working with traumatic nightmares: sand-play processing and a writing technique. Both techniques allow for a nightmare to be discussed in a counseling milieu using a structured format that allows for titrated exposure to traumatic material and stimuli. A major goal of each nightmare therapy technique is to use a client’s nightmare “story” to facilitate the healing process, thereby minimizing the negative influence of nightmares on survivors. This workshop is designed for advanced clinical practitioners who wish to enhance their skills addressing specific traumatic memories that impact on their clients’ lives.
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