Case series utilizing exposure, relaxation, and rescripting therapy: impact on nightmares, sleep quality, and psychological distress

Joanne L Davis, David C Wright
Behavioral Sleep Medicine 2005, 3 (3): 151-7
Experiencing a traumatic event may initiate or exacerbate the occurrence of nightmares. Nightmares may impact sleep quality and quantity, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and depression. Recently, imagery rehearsal has gained attention in the treatment of trauma-related nightmares and is reported to be promising in the reduction of nightmares. On the basis of the vast literature describing the therapeutic benefits of exposure techniques for anxiety-related problems, the treatment was modified to enhance the exposure component. This article presents a case series using this modified version of imagery rehearsal, Exposure, Relaxation, and Rescripting Therapy, with 1 male and 3 female participants. Overall, the participants treated reported a reduction in nightmare frequency and severity; 3 out of 4 participants also reported a reduction in posttraumatic stress and depression symptomotology and an increase in sleep quality and quantity. Clinical implications and future research directions are discussed.

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