Guided Imagery Innovator
One of the most dramatic, butt-kicking examples of an effective new treatment tool for posttraumatic stress is a simple protocol called Nightmare Reprocessing, devised by two V.A. psychologists, Edgardo Padin-Rivera and Beverly Donovan at the Louis Stokes Cleveland V.A. Medical Center.
From all indications, when this method is followed, trauma survivors can rid themselves of a repeating nightmare in three weeks or less.
Experienced therapists will find this hard to swallow. I know I did. This is because traditional, deep dish, insight-based therapy doesn't get a whole lot of traction with repetitive nightmares.
And, to add insult to injury, Nightmare Reprocessing is a simple procedure that any idiot can follow. (Sorry, colleagues! I didn't like it either!) It doesn't require savvy training, deft insight or masterful technique. You just follow the steps... which I'll describe in a minute.
Drs. Padin-Rivera and Donovan developed their iteration by tweaking Barry Krakow's Imagery Rehearsal Therapy, which you may have read about last fall in the New Yorker. They added some clever elements from Francine Shapiro's EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), streamlined the process, and came up with a fast, potent method.
I watched Beverly Donovan apply the technique with her vets and interviewed her extensively about it, so I could describe it in my last book. I should also mention that Krakow's methods, in turn, are an outgrowth of Stephen LaBerge's groundbreaking work with Lucid Dreaming.
Used at the Brecksville V.A. with several hundred veterans suffering from the twin challenges of chemical dependency and posttraumatic stress, Nightmare Reprocessing was involved in outcome research and described in the Journal of Traumatic Stress,
And, according to Donovan, the success with the nightmares produces a kind of halo effect, creating such a sense of efficacy and well-being, that other PTS symptoms subside as well…