Nightmares? Get some sleep – here’s an exciting technique!

First of all, may I say that painting by 18th Century British painter, Henry Fuseli, scares the stuffing out of me. I’d actually chosen another painting, but it was so spooky I really thought it would cost me readership – so I flipped to this one. Oh, Fuseli’s painting is entitled, Nightmare (really?!).

Are nightmares significantly interrupting your life? It wouldn’t be at all uncommon for someone enduring depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Perhaps someone you know is having a tough time with nightmares.

Don’t know if you were aware of the numbers, but it’s believed some 8% of adults wrestle with troubling nightmares. And the percentage jumps to an astounding 90 for victims of severe trauma, such as rape and witnessing or participating in the atrocities of war.

I’d like to share some interesting and helpful information with you. And it just happens to work…

Enter Barry Krakow, M.D. and the Maimonides International Nightmare Treatment Center,  Albuquerque, NM.  I’ll hook you up with some web links at the end of the piece, okay?

Dr. Krakow uses a very creative technique in the treatment of nightmares. And it very refreshingly excludes asking a patient to attempt to figure-out the symbolism of the nightmare.

Dr. Krakow employs “scripting” or “dream mastery” – a component of imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT). IRT is a cognitive behavioral strategy used exclusively for the alleviation of nightmares.

How does it work? Very simply, Dr. Krakow and staff ask a patient to take the time, with their eyes closed, to come up with their version of their nightmare – in essence, changing the nightmare’s ending/outcome. This is referred to as the “new dream,” and it’s geographically located “here,” while the old dream is located “way over there.”

After the initial work, it’s a matter of practicing (rehearsing) the altered, non-threatening, “new dream.”

A course of IRT with Dr. Krakow and staff typically includes 1-10 individual sessions and four group. Between three and five individual sessions generally does the trick. And, yes, insurance is accepted.

By the way, also employed in treatment are techniques to manage insomnia, as well as other sleep issues. These may include cutting down on caffeine and proper preparation for sleep time (i.e. no watching TV while in bed – yikes!).

Oh, almost forgot – no meds involved!

Well, that’s rather a thumbnail on the treatment of nightmares with IRT. Here are two links I’d like you to use…

Dr. Krakow’s PTSD Sleep Clinic website –

Access to the clinic’s nightmare quiz

How ’bout it chipur readers? Nightmares been an issue for you or someone close to you? Care to share? And how do you feel about this IRT business? Why not research it and report back. As always, we’d all like to read your comments.