"You do have control of what's going on in your dreams," says Joanne Davis, a psychologist from the University of Tulsa, in Oklahoma. She has come up with a method of treatment that may be especially useful for those exposed to a major trauma.
Davis has a two-fold approach to curing nightmares. Before directly contending with the bad dream, she offers tips for a better night's sleep such as avoiding the after-dinner cup of coffee and trying relaxation techniques focusing on breathing and stretching.
Directly confronting the nightmare is the crux of treatment. Sufferers write down their dreams and, in a group setting, analyze what makes the dreams terrifying. The dreams typically deal with a lack of power, trust, intimacy, safety or esteem. Subjects rewrite their nightmares, diffusing the worst segments. Before going to bed, they visualize the sanitized version.