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Trauma and Dreams Paperback – October 30, 2001
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Trauma and Dreams is...an 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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Top Customer Reviews
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. Among the book's many highlights are Kathleen Nador's comprehensive survey of children's traumatic dreams, Belicki and Cuddy's well-balanced evaluation of how sleep and dream patterns can help identify histories of sexual trauma, Wilmer's poignant Jungian analysis of the war dreams of Vietnam veterans, Aron's disturbing portrait fo the "collective nightmare" of Central
American refugees, Zadra's careful review of the literature on recurrent dreams, and Barrett's own fascinating chapter on the dreams of people with multiple personality syndromes. Anyone who has an interest in the relations between dreams and severe psychological disturbance will find much to learn from this book.
As with most edited anthologies, the wonderful diversity of voices in Trauma and Dreams also creates some difficulties. Many readers, while deeply appreciating the individual articles, may find it hard to integrate all the different perspectives presented here into some kind of overall understanding of the exact relationship of trauma and dreams. Most strikingly, what are we to make of the claim of Lavie and Kaminer, presented in their article on "Sleep, Dreaming, and Coping Style in Holocaust Survcivors," that for some trauma victims it is better to repress their dreams rather than remember and interpret them? On the surface at least, the Lavie and Kaminer theory about the value of dream repression seems to contradict the views of many of the book's other contributers, who argue that it's most therapeutically helpful for trauma victims to share and express their dreams and nightmares. I'm sure there are many good ways to resolve this contradiction; it just would have been interesting to hear the authors themselves, or the editor, address this and other broader questions raised by their various approaches to trauma and dreams.
Trauma and Dreams is sure to become a standard reference book in the clinical use of dreams. As the book's contributors sadly demonstrate, we're living in a world where countless numbers of people are suffereing terribly from many, many different kinds of trauma. Barrett's collection gives us some excellent practical tools for the care and treatment of those people, and deepens our appreciation for the powerful role of dreams in healing and growth.
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.