Change It Any Way You Want: Rescripting trauma nightmares with imagery rehearsal
Anne Germain, PhD
Format: MP3 Audio file download
Prevalence estimates of nightmares in the general population approximate 8%, and are significantly higher in trauma-exposed individuals, including combat-exposed service members and victims of interpersonal violence. Nightmares are a risk factor for the development or recurrence of anxiety and mood disorders, and are associated with increased alcohol/substance use and suicidality in adolescents and adults. Imagery rehearsal therapy is a brief cognitive-behavioral technique grounded in the learning theory that specifically targets nightmares. It has been shown to effectively reduce or eliminate idiopathic and trauma-related nightmares in civilian and military samples. Improvements in dreaming are typically accompanied by improvements in sleep quality and reductions in daytime symptoms of posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depression. This presentation aims to review the evidence that highlights the clinical relevance of nightmares and empirical findings regarding the efficacy and limitations of imagery rehearsal therapy. The practical application of imagery rehearsal therapy will also be demonstrated.
During and at the conclusion of this session, the attendee will be able to:
Recognize the clinical relevance of nightmares and other dreaming disturbances as primary treatment targets in military and civilian patients
Describe evidence for the efficacy of imagery rehearsal for the treatment of nightmares and other dreaming disturbances in military and civilian patients.
Acquire basic principles needed to effectively apply imagery rehearsal therapy in a variety of clinical settings.
Anne Germain, PhD is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She obtained her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Université de Montréal in 2001, and completed her post-graduate training at the University of Pittsburgh in 2005. Her areas of expertise are in clinical sleep research, with a special emphasis on the neurobiology and treatment of trauma-related sleep disturbances, with a special emphasis on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military populations. Her federally-funded research program aims to identify strategies to enhance sleep resilience to trauma by studying the neurobiology of sleep disturbances and sleep treatment responses in post-911 Service Member and Veterans with PTSD. Ongoing studies also evaluate the effects of sleep disruption or sleep consolidation on brain circuits involved in threat and reward responses. Finally, and through close multidisciplinary collaborations, her research program also includes murine studies to examine and probe the role of sleep in fear learning and the moderating roles of genetic and environmental factors on threat responses. Dr. Germain has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers, invited articles, and book chapters. She has and continues to serve on different committees of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society, and has recently been appointed Associate Editor for Behavioral Sleep Medicine.