Imagery Rehearsal Therapy How It Helps

Imagery Rehearsal Therapy  How It Helps


A cognitive-behavioural therapy called imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) can help persons with post-traumatic stress disorder's nightmares by lowering their frequency and intensity (PTSD). PTSD symptoms that are most common include nightmares or horrifying dreams. For PTSD sufferers, IRT focuses specifically on assisting in lessening the severity of their nightmares.

If you've ever experienced a nightmare, you probably woke up at the most scary moment. That's because, as you know very well, a nightmare usually gets worse until the person experiencing it becomes too terrified to sleep any longer and wakes up. During IRT therapy, you receive assistance in reimagining your nightmares with less horrific outcomes. If and when your nightmares return, they are meant to be "reprogrammed" to be less horrific.

By treating nightmares, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques like imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) can improve your quality of sleep. In fact, it is the treatment method for severe nightmares that is most usually advocated. There are two primary types of nightmares: idiopathic nightmares and post-traumatic nightmares. Post-traumatic nightmare disorder may be brought on by trauma or a harrowing event. The etiology of idiopathic nightmares is unknown. Nightmares can be very distressing, regardless of the underlying cause. Additionally, they may disrupt your sleep, causing you to wake up exhausted.

The Operational Framework of Imagery Rehearsal Therapy

Your IRT therapist or Counseling psychologist will educate you on sleep and nightmares in order to "create the stage" for you to learn how to manage your nightmares and sleep issues. Working with the Best psychologist in India you will then: Create elaborate, non-scary endings for dreams that you have experienced frequently.

Dreams with the new resolutions should be recorded and practised.

Get adept at keeping track of your nightmares to gauge the effectiveness of your IRT therapy.

It is common for someone with PTSD to have considered whether it could be beneficial to "defuse" or reinterpret their nightmares in order to make them less terrifying. Although it isn't necessary for the technique to be effective, it can make beginning IRT feel more at ease and optimistic.

What is the process?

IRT sessions usually last 60 to 90 minutes each. During your session, you and your therapist will talk about your worst nightmare. You and your therapist will first discuss any stressors or traumas that might be influencing the dream in order to come up with an alternate conclusion. Naturally, you will practice this conclusion while awake for ten to twenty minutes each day at home. Your therapist may recommend a more exact rehearsal schedule. After two weeks, if your nightmare hasn't entirely disappeared, it will most likely get less horrific. While not everyone needs multiple sessions, they might assist you in resolving concerns or coping with new nightmares.

What varieties of nightmares does IRT handle?

Treatment options for IRT include:

  • Dreams that don't appear to have a cause

  • Nightmares caused by PTSD

  • Dreams brought on by depression

IRT can lessen the frequency of nightmares and the anxiety that occurs during any sort of nightmare. It is still quite beneficial for depression- and PTSD-related dreams, but appears to work best for idiopathic nightmares. This is important because nightmares affect 30% of people with mental problems. Because dreams disrupt sleep and increase stress, they frequently exacerbate other symptoms. If IRT reduces nightmares and improves sleep, other mental health issues may also get better.

Why does it assist?

IRT uses a technique called desensitization to lessen the terror in your nightmares. It's possible to wake up from a nightmare by oneself, or at the very least, alone. Still, during an IRT session, a therapist is there to offer assistance. When you repeatedly expose yourself to the nightmare while practicing relaxation techniques, your brain eventually learns to respond to its contents with a more composed attitude.

Here's another way to consider it: It might start to seem less like an enigmatic terror and more like a big reptile you've talked about endlessly as you discuss the dragon you keep dreaming about. There another process in action? The feeling of mastery you get. The fact that nightmares appear more like an event you must suffer than one you can control may contribute to why they are so terrifying.

Rewriting the conclusion might therefore give you a feeling of control and agency. Your brain is given another choice to consider when you ask your awake self to see your sleeping self addressing the issue in your dream. The more happy endings you picture, the simpler it is for your mind to switch to that happier course mid-dream. Take help from the Best psychologist delhi or search for the Therapists in delhi’.

For good reason, IRT is frequently recommended by sleep experts as the best treatment for nightmares. It is flexible, efficient in mitigating symptoms, and unlikely to cause side effects. You can use IRT on your own as well. If the process sounds daunting, you may want to begin working with a therapist. You don't have to take nightmares for granted. IRT can assist you in rewriting the narrative in your dreams and restoring your sense of security while you sleep.

For mental health therapy, you may also schedule an appointment with renowned, licenced psychologists at the Psychowellness Centre. The center is dispersed around NOIDA, Dwarka, Janakpuri, Faridabad, and Delhi NCR.

Contribution: Dr (Prof) R K Suri, Clinical Psychologist, life coach & mentor TalktoAngel & MS. Dr. Sakshi Kochhar, Psychologist.