How to Complete a Nightmare

Responding Creatively to Disturbing Dreams

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Trailer for the book, How to Complete a Nightmare

How to Complete a Nightmare asserts that there are no bad dreams. There are only difficult ones, and these are intended to help us. Psychologist-trained author Len Worley poses that disturbing dreams are part of Nature’s evolutionary push to help us face anything within ourselves which leaves us disempowered, afraid, or weak.

Even so-called trauma dreams which remind the dreamer of past hurt, are, Worley proposes, orchestrated by our deeper intelligence to give rehearsal time, much like flight simulations that would-be-pilots are exposed to, so that we can find a creative, skillful response that matures us beyond the highly reactive emergency strategies of fight, flight, or freeze. In other words, nightmares come not only as a result of adverse events, but they also come to help us heal from them.

How to Complete a Nightmare builds on studies which demonstrate that most repetitive nightmares can be stopped simply by recording the nightmare in detail and then writing a revised version that leaves the dreamer empowered and no longer a victim. While describing this method in detail (Image Rehearsal Therapy), Dr. Worley goes beyond the attempt to simply stop disturbing dreams and shows how some of our most difficult dreams are actually attempts by Nature to bring us into contact with disowned potentials within ourselves that can enrich and empower us. Equally, nightmares can also serve a function similar to medical x-rays, revealing negative, life-limiting influences in the personality that are working against us.

After some thirty years of working intimately with his own dreams and those of his clients, Dr. Worley provides poignant stories of individuals, including himself, who have discovered uncanny wisdom and guidance as a result of understanding and making creative responses to their nightmares. In spite the seriousness of the subject, he maintains a surprisingly hopeful and optimistic attitude about one of the most frightening aspects of human experience. This book provides a much-needed update to our understanding of disturbing dreams and provides a practical guide for making use of an often-overlooked source of intelligence and guidance.

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