International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 4 Num. 1 - April 2004


Tratamientos Psicol?gicos de las Pesadillas: Una Revisi?n [Psychological Treatments of Nightmares: a Review]

Volume 4 Num. 1 - April 2004 - Pages 11-36


Elena Mir? Morales and Pilar Mart?nez Narv?ez


The nightmares could be a psychopathological phenomenon whose scientific study starts to have a great importance, not only by its significance as an independent clinical entity but also by its narrow relation with the posttraumatic stress disorder. As a result of that, in the last few years there has been a notable increasing interest in the therapeutic approach of the nightmares. The present work sets out some of the main questions relating to current conceptualisation of nightmares and make a comprehensive review of the empirical studies about psychological treatment of nightmares contain in PsyINFO and Medline data bases (1966-february 2003). The different types of treatment techniques proposed for this disorder are grouped in behavioural techniques (systematic desensibilization and exposition), cognitive techniques (strategies of dream content modification and coping of nightmare while it is going) and deactivation techniques. Each one of these procedures and the main findings concern its therapeutical efficacy are described. Finally, some critical suggestions that can affect the assessment of therapies efficacy and that must be considered by future research are discussed.

Key words:

Nightmares, psychological treatment, behavioural techniques, cognitive techniques, deactivation techniques, therapeutical efficacy

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