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Title: The therapeutic value of dreams and nightmares
Author: Johnson, Charlotte
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 5992
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2010
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Although dreams have fascinated humans for millennia, the function of dreams and nightmares is a matter of ongoing debate in the fields of neurophysiology, evolutionary psychology and cognitive psychology. Some authors argue that nightmares are purely a by-product of neurophysiological processes that occur during sleep, whilst others suggest that they serve some kind of adaptive function. What is widely recognised, however, is the link between nightmares and psychological well-being. Research indicates that clients frequently bring dreams to therapy and that dream work can improve the psychological wellbeing of individuals who are experiencing distressing dreams. Clinicians do not have a great deal of training in dream work, however, and do not always know how to approach working with dreams. Chapter 1. The first chapter offers an overview of the theories proposing that dreams and nightmares play a role in affect regulation. Subsequently the empirical evidence for these theories is critically appraised and synthesised. Some support is offered for the overnight mood regulation theory of dreaming, and there is contrary evidence to suggest that nightmares negatively impact on mood and behaviour. Chapter 2. The second chapter reports on the findings from a mixed methodology design. Initially the prevalence of dream work across three NHS Trusts in the UK was investigated through a questionnaire-based survey. Secondly, the experiences of clinicians who use dream work in therapy in the NHS were explored through indepth semi-structured interviews. Five main themes emerged from the qualitative analysis of the data: benefits of using dream work, barriers to using dream work, dream work in practice, personal experience of dreaming and dream work and dream work in the wider context. Chapter 3. The third chapter explores the lead author’s own dreams over the duration of the research process, specifically examining these in light of dream and dream work theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; RC Internal medicine