Imagery Rehearsal Therapy

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Approximately 72% of persons with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) report experiencing traumatic nightmares (Casement & Swanson, 2012). Traumatic nightmares are an intrusive symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which can negatively impact persons experiencing symptoms after experiencing, either directly or indirectly, a traumatic experience (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Given the large proportion of persons with PTSD who experience traumatic nightmares, it behooves social workers to be aware of interventions which can benefit persons experiencing traumatic nightmares. Imagery Rehearsal Therapy is one intervention which could help practitioners who are working with persons who have PTSD. Overview of Imagery Rehearsal …show more content…

Confrontation of the dream begins with psychoeducation about Imagery Rehearsal as well as the role of nightmares in PTSD and how nightmares can create and exacerbate insomnia and other sleep disorders which may be co-morbid with PTSD (Krakow & Zadra, 2006). Avoidance of trauma-related nightmares is another aspect of PTSD nightmares which can be addressed through confrontation of nightmares through psychoeducation in treatment. In addition to psychoeducation, confrontation of trauma-related nightmares occurs through either verbal retelling of the dream or writing the dream down (Pagel et al., …show more content…

Similar to confrontation, Step 2 of IRT involves psychoeducation about the nature of nightmares and how imagery and practicing pleasant imagery can positively benefit nightmares. Krakow and Zadra (2006) explain that understanding imagery and its impact on nightmares can help to change the relationship which exists between the person and the trauma-related nightmare. In addition to psychoeducation, the client works to change the end of the nightmare which will be used in imagery rehearsal; the ending does not have to be realistic and should not include an increase in violence (Pagel et al., 2014). Through psychoeducation and writing down a new ending for their trauma-related nightmare, Step 2 of IRT helps the client begin to distance themselves from their nightmares, thus beginning the process of lessening distress from

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