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Trauma and Dreams Paperback – October 30, 2001

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Editorial Reviews


Trauma and Dreams honest and compassionate book, based usually on direct clinical experience and mercifully free of second-hand-trauma-posturing by cultural studies professors. (Ben Shephard Times Literary Supplement)

Trauma and Dreams provides evidence that important information can be gleaned through examination of [PTSD] dreams...Barrett's coverage of the subject is far-reaching, with dream research on war veterans, rape survivors, kidnapping victims, multiple personality patients, and traumatized children. Barrett also considers the connection between dreams and relatively commonplace traumas such as divorce and bereavement...Trauma and Dreams is well researched and includes contributions by several experts in the fields of trauma and dream analysis. (Choice)

About the Author

Deirdre Barrett is Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a member of the faculty at Suffolk University. She is past President of the Association for the Study of Dreams, and Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Dreaming. She has a private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (October 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674006909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674006904
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D. is a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School's Behavioral Medicine Program. She Past President of both the International Association for the Study of Dreams and the American Psychological Association's Div. 30, The Society for Psychological Hypnosis. Dr. Barrett has written four books: The Committee of Sleep (Random House, 2001) and The Pregnant Man and Other Cases from a Hypnotherapist's Couch (Random House, 1998), Waistland (Norton, 2007) and Supernormal Stimuli (Norton, 2010). She is the editor of four additional books: Trauma and Dreams (Harvard University Press, 1996), The New Science of Dreaming (Praeger/Greenwood, 2007), Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy (Praeger/Greenwood, 2010), and The Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreams (Greenwood, 2012). Dr. Barrett has published dozens of academic articles and chapters on health, hypnosis, and dreams. She is Editor-in-Chief of DREAMING: The Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams.
Dr. Barrett's commentary on psychological issues has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Fox, and The Discovery Channel. She has been interviewed for dream articles in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Life, Time, and Newsweek. Her own articles have appeared in Psychology Today and Invention and Technology. Dr. Barrett has lectured at Esalen, the Smithsonian, and at universities around the world.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Deirdre Barrett has done a valuable service for all psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and mental health professionals who work to help the victims of trauma. Her book demonstrates vividly, and often movingly, how dreams and nightmares can play a key role in the treatment of people suffering the effects of various kinds of catastrophic experiences such as sexual abuse, natural disaster, wartime combat, and political torture. Moreover, the book suggests that studying the common themes and patterns in the nightmares of trauma victims can teach us new things about the general nature and functioning of dreams. As Barrett says in her introduction, "Even though much clinical data relating dreams and trauma have been gathered in recent years, this information has for the most part been reported only in presentations at professional meetings while little has been written on this topic. A tendency toward segregation is also evident, with half of the data presented to trauma societies and the other half to those for dreams. This book's purpose is to disseminate to dream analysts, trauma therapists, and other readers the work that exists at this interface." (p. 4)
Trauma and Dreams makes good on its promise by collecting seventeen different articles written from widely divergent theoretical and clinical perspectives. Every one of the articles offers compelling case study material, thought provoking theoretical arguments, and practical suggestions about using drems to improve therapy and counseling for people who have suffered some kind of trauma.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on October 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'd already ordered this book before the Sept 11th disasters, but it's uncanny how much is relevant to what we're experiencing right now, and what we may have to come if there's a longterm war. It covers all kind of traumas: child abuse, rape, war, kipnapping, political torture, terrorism and natural disasters. It's got great insights into the similarities and the differences between these groups, their nightmares and other effects of the different traumas. It tells a lot about how traumas cause nightmares, but also about how you can use your dreams to conquer both nightmares and also waking symptoms of the trauma. Many of the stories are terribly sad, but there's a lot that's inspirational about people overcoming traumas.
Some of the chapters are written beautifully, they have lots of dream examples and good advice. Anyone who's suffered a trauma or who has nightmares would get a lot from reading the book. A few chapters do come across like a textbook full of facts and figures. Even in these, the information is important and they have a biography of anything else you'd want to read about psychological issues of more specific traumas--child abuse, rape, war, terrorism, etc. It's worth getting even if you skip the most reference-like chapters because it's mostly very, very good.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard Aru on July 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
When this book came out more than 10 years ago, nothing else existed on the effects of psychological trauma on dreams. Now there are many books and magazine articles dealing with the topic, but they're mostly recycling material from Trauma and Dreams. When looking up something in it recently, I was reminded how thorough and well-written it is. T & D has the clearest description of how one can transform recurring nightmares into positive, mastery dreams with imagery rehearsal. The examples in this book--both of the original nightmares and the later healing dreams--are richer and better described than I've seen anywhere. As another reviewer mentioned, there are several chapters which are so dense with research findings and details of theraputic techniques that probably only psychologists want to read them, but most chapters are highly readable and it's still the best book for PTSD nighmare suffers themselves as well as clinicians treating them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Curt Howard on August 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book has a fair bit even about general nightmares and will be of interest to anyone who suffers from them or has a child or friend who does. However, the majority of it is about how trauma affects dreaming and how you can intervene--on your own or with a therapist to change post-traumatic nightmares and recover good sleep and a happy dream life. Some chapters are about domestic violence, some about accidents, others about war veterans, so it's applicable to all sorts of trauma. Some is most relevant if you are a therapist working with other people's dreams, but most of it is highly readable to the general public. Recommend Highly!
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2 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Although there is legitimate work on dreams and the dreaming process, this tired old spin on dream interpretation is the worst kind of pseudoscience.
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