Nevin Manimala Statistics

A Retrospective Pilot Study of Imagery Rehearsal Therapy Enhanced with Narrative Therapy Principles for the Treatment of Nightmares in US Military Veterans

Sleep Sci. 2023 Nov 22;16(4):e439-e445. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-1776796. eCollection 2023 Dec.


Introduction Chronic nightmares are a common and disabling feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for which broadly effective treatments are still lacking. While imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) demonstrates benefits for patients with idiopathic nightmares and some patients with PTSD-related nightmares, research indicates it may be less beneficial for veterans. Narrative therapy (NT) is a form of psychotherapy which is client-centered and value-focused and has demonstrated benefits for PTSD patients. The application of NT principles to IRT may provide a valuable therapeutic approach for treatment in veterans. Objective To perform a retrospective chart review of veteran clients participating in a novel, brief intervention developed by the first author consisting of IRT enhanced with NT principles (N-IRT) for the treatment of nightmares. The primary outcomes were nightmare frequency and intensity, and the secondary outcome was the impact of the intervention on nightmare distress and coping, subjective sleep quality, and overall PTSD symptoms. Materials and Methods We conducted retrospective chart reviews for eight veterans referred to the first author for the treatment of nightmares, who completed N-IRT, including baseline and end-of-treatment measures. The protocol involved a single 60-minute NT-enhanced rescripting session and assigned homework to rehearse the revised dream script, and a follow-up evaluation 4 weeks later. The subjects completed a sleep and nightmare interview developed by the first author and the PTSD Checklist at baseline and after the intervention at the follow-up evaluation. Paired t -tests were conducted to test for pre-to-post differences. Results In the statistical analysis, we observed a statistically significant and clinically meaningful reduction in the frequency ( p = 0.04) and intensity of nightmares ( p = 0.001) from pretreatment to the 1-month follow-up. Measures of nightmare-associated emotional distress, the ability to cope with nightmares, sleep duration and sleep efficiency, as well as overall PTSD symptoms also demonstrated significant improvements. Conclusion These pilot data provide compelling preliminary evidence that a single-session IRT intervention modified with NT (N-IRT) is effective in reducing nightmare frequency and intensity, reducing nightmare distress, improving the act of coping with nightmares, and improving sleep quality and overall PTSD symptoms in veterans. Further investigation of this method with gold-standard clinical trial designs and larger sample sizes is indicated to confirm effectiveness and to better understand the possible mechanisms of treatment effect.

PMID:38197021 | PMC:PMC10773522 | DOI:10.1055/s-0043-1776796

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