chapter  8
Troubled sleep and dreams
ByFrederick L. Coolidge, Ernest Hartmann
Pages 13

This chapter reviews the prominent types of sleep disturbance, including insomnia, disturbing dreams, and nightmares. It reviews various treatment approaches to these problems. Narcolepsy involves sudden attacks of sleepiness while awake, and it comes from the Greek word narco- meaning numbness or stiffness and -lepsy meaning to seize. Narcoleptic people very often feel sleepy during the day, in part, it is suspected, as a consequence of not getting rapid eye movement sleep during their normal sleep period. Nightmares posed a problem for Freud and his postulate that all dreams were wish-fulfilling. Nightmares and recurring trauma dreams are also thought to be among the common symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Like Gestalt therapist Fritz Perls, the author believes that regular dreams, nightmares, night terrors, and even the experience of insomnia can be successfully used in dream interpretation as a psychotherapeutic technique. Often just the mere act of sharing these experiences and feelings in therapy can be reassuring, comforting, and hope-giving.