Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Dr. E Kellogg


This paper reviews the therapeutic potential of combining expressive therapy approaches with dreamwork protocol in treating recurrent nightmares seen in populations with PTSD. The intersection between the dreaming state, nightmares, dreamwork, and trauma can provide important insights into the purpose of dreaming, subconscious processing of trauma, and effective treatments for individuals struggling with nightmares. Clinical implications of dreamwork are considered in working with posttraumatic stress disorder along with this condition’s connection to recurrent nightmares. In working with trauma and the arts at a sensory and affective level of experience, there is potential for individuals to explore and process their recurrent nightmares and traumatic experiences typically held at the subconscious level. Core principles of embodiment and the healing arts within trauma-informed care and nightmare work allow a broader range of options for individuals processing and working with traumatic nightmare material. Descriptions of both group and individual dreamwork in high-risk populations, including hospice/bereavement care, incarcerated individuals, formerly-imprisoned gang members, and war-affected children illustrate healing and working through trauma-related nightmares.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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