Overcoming Nightmares

Troy Todd, Ph.D., BCN

These two steps-control of the dream and providing for your needs- can be done in any order to be successful… start with the one that is easiest to accomplish:

Control of the Dream:

1. remind yourself just before you go to bed, that you are going to take some control over the nightmare

2. tell yourself exactly what you will do in the nightmare. Make sure this is something small and insignificant, or you will not be able to do it.

3. during the nightmare, try to make the change you pre-decided (remember, it must be small and insignificant)

4. each night, seek to gain increasingly greater control over the nightmare. eventually, you will be able to control the dream entirely, and wake yourself up if it is not going the way you want

Providing for Your Needs:

A. you must determine what is not being provided for you in the day (this is based on the theory that dreams are the result of unmet “needs” during the day)

B. once you know these needs (which are usually things like companionship/socializing and accomplishment), work diligently to meet them every day

(the idea here is, if the need is met, the brain will have no reason to produce a nightmare, so you have less to control in the night)