Not all veterans return from deployment with visible wounds. Many veterans suffer from what can be debilitating internal wounds, like brutal and haunting visions and nightmares. This is where “dreamwork” therapy is being applied.
The Portland VA Medical Center offers free treatment to all veterans suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lori Daniels is a PTSD therapist at the Portland VA Medical Center using dreams as therapy. Daniels’ “dreamwork” therapy is based on the idea that people plagued by nightmares have the ability to rewrite them and in turn make them less disturbing.
Daniels stresses one thing her therapy is not: dream interpretation. Rather, it is taking time to understand what is happening within your dreams and nightmares and finding something to work with in order to change the dream or nightmare itself.
According to Daniels, the story embedded in a person’s dream can be used to help the veteran get around the PTSD symptoms. By confronting their nightmares and facing the trauma that manifests itself in their dreams, the nightmare will eventually cease to be overpowering to the trauma survivor. The therapy then, serves to put the veteran in charge of their trauma, as opposed to the other way around.
Once the trauma is drawn out into the open and recognized for what it is, PTSD sufferers can form a plan of action of how to deal with the nightmares. While the therapy may not be conventional, it seems to be a much better avenue of approach to dealing with PTSD than self medicating, which is common in veterans suffering from PTSD.
Learn more about dreamworks therapy and how it is used to treat veterans with PTSD.
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