Thursday, October 9, 2014
How Lucid Dreaming Could Help PTSD and Give Psychological Insights?
The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In "Beyond Science" Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.
A lucid dream is a dream in which a person realizes he or she is dreaming and is able to consciously interact with the dream. People can learn to dream lucidly through various techniques (discussed later). Some psychologists use lucid dreaming to treat trauma victims, including veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Psychophysiologist Stephen LaBerge, who received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, has also said that studying lucid dreams may greatly help us better understand the phenomenon of dreaming; unclear dreamer-recall has always been a great hindrance to studying dreams, but lucid dreamers are able to remember their dreams with greater clarity. They are also able to perform actions in dreams following the instructions of researchers.
Psychiatrist J. Timothy Green treated a Vietnam War veteran who had recurrent nightmares about the time he saw his best friend killed in battle.
It was the same every time. His friend would fall, and blood would flow from his neck until he finally died.
“Because his dream was always the same, I suggested he pick one particular moment in the dream and each night as he fell asleep to mentally and emotionally visualize himself back in that particular moment and remind himself that he was dreaming. He decided to use the moment when he found that his buddy had died as the signal he was dreaming,” Green wrote in an article on Therapist-Psychologist.com.
The veteran followed Green’s advice and was able to realize he was dreaming when he saw his friend. He was then able to redirect the dream, telling his friend the war was over and they were going home. The friend didn’t die this time, but instead got up smiling and walked away.
The nightmare that had haunted this man for three decades did not return.
Green hypothesizes that nightmares are either subconscious attempts to make the individual aware of something, or they are “a psychological attempt to end a difficult, even terrifying event, in a less traumatic manner.”
“During lucid dreams, the individual is able to face the frightening images in his or her dreams and have the dream end in a more favorable and less traumatic manner,” Green wrote.
Neuroscientist and science writer Bill Skaggs noted that people who dream more often are also likely to be depressed.
“People who are very severely depressed often show an excess of REM sleep—the type of sleep in which dreams occur,” he wrote in a post on Quora.com. “Reducing the amount of REM sleep is an effective way of reducing the level of depression, at least temporarily.” Whereas eliminating REM sleep—eliminating dreams—is a temporary solution, Green helps patients change the dreams for more lasting results.