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Dreams and the Dream Image: Using Dreams in Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy and dreams.
  • Arthur Freeman
  • Beverly White, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
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The fact that dream work has not been a well-used or well-researched technique of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) up to the present point might be explained by a number of factors. Cognitive therapists generally come from a more behavioral tradition and orientation. Their clinical training might have had little or no reading, training, or supervision in the use of dreams in the therapeutic encounter. Since dreams may have no direct behavioral component, the therapist might have been taught that dreams ought to be avoided. Those CBT therapists who have had psychodynamic training may refrain from using dreams as a way of further distancing themselves from their early psychodynamic influences or may think that the use of dreams in therapy will be seen as "backsliding" by their CBT colleagues. Some cognitive therapists avoid using dreams in therapy because of their belief that dream work is of no value. There are few guidelines for using dreams. There has been no manual developed for CBT dream work. Since dream content is hard to study, research data have been sparse. With limited time allowed for therapy by many funding sources, dream work has been seen as a poor use of valuable time. Dreams are regarded as unconscious and therefore not appropriate for a CBT focus. Dreams may be seen as the result of a physiological rather than psychological process and therefore more akin to Scrooge's "undigested piece of beef." Dreams are seen as merely an interesting, though valueless, artifact. The issue for the present discussion is not who dreams, how often they dream, or where dreams come from, but whether and how dreams can be made useful parts of the CBT process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (chapter)


This chapter was published in Cognitive therapy and dreams, Pages 69-87.

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Citation Information
Arthur Freeman and Beverly White. "Dreams and the Dream Image: Using Dreams in Cognitive Therapy" Cognitive therapy and dreams. (2004) p. 69 - 87
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