Dream Therapy for PTSD

July 7, 2015

dr_bruce_dowThis website and blog were created three years ago, in 2012, to promote a book manuscript that I was trying to get published as a book.  The idea was to attract people via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin,YouTube) who could serve as an audience for my ideas about treating PTSD.  In particular, I was promoting a technique that involved changing recurrent PTSD nightmares, through rehearsal, into dreams with happier endings.  I had seen the technique work in many of my patients, initially in group therapy with veterans, later in individual therapy with both veterans and nonveterans.

At this point, I’m not sure how large a following I attracted, but the website and blog achieved two important objectives for me.  First, the website (initially) and the blog (over time) allowed me to share my thoughts in a public way.  During the past three years I have submitted 36 blog entries, or about one per month.  For a brief period of time (in early 2013) I managed to submit one entry per week.  The act of writing the blogs helped me sharpen the book manuscript as it went through a number of revisions, with help from friends and colleagues who read parts of the manuscript.  Second, the blog and website may have helped convince a publisher, namely, Praeger Press, to take me on as an author.  In any case, I was happy to have the website as a public presence and the blog as a ready-made outlet for my evolving thoughts.

Now there is an actual book that can be purchased on Amazon.com or directly from Praeger Press.  The book appeared in the Spring of 2015.  As we enter the Summer of 2015, it seems appropriate to formally announce the book’s publication, for blog readers who haven’t yet heard the news.  The title and subtitle of the book are DREAM THERAPY FOR PTSD: The Proven System for Ending Your Nightmares and Recovering from Trauma.  The book is 145 pages long, including notes and index.  There are eleven chapters in all, most of which present individual case studies of my patients for review and discussion.

Chapter 1 is an introduction, including two brief case studies.  Chapters 2-6 deal with military combat; group therapy for veterans with PTSD is presented in Chapter 2.  Chapters 7-9 deal with work-related PTSD in civilians; Chapter 10, for purposes of comparison, deals with work-related stress (not PTSD) in a civilian.  Brain mechanisms of PTSD are discussed in Chapter 11.  Each case study chapter concludes with some “tips for dream revision” that arise from the chapter.

My hope is that the cases and treatment principles presented in the book may help PTSD sufferers recover more efficiently from their illness, either on their own or with the help of a therapist.  Family members of PTSD sufferers may, by reading the book and recognizing that PTSD is treatable, be encouraged to have their affected family member read the book, see a therapist, or both.

Though the book deals with Vietnam veterans, my hope is that veterans of the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars may also benefit from it.  Though the book deals with work-related PTSD in civilians, my hope is that PTSD related to domestic violence, vehicular accidents, or natural disasters may be effectively treated using the same dream revision method.