Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation

The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation (TSM) has been found useful in that participants find discovery at least 80% of the time (DeCicco, 2007). The method has been used in clinical practice and in research (For example: DeCicco, 2009; DeCicco, Donati & Pini, 2012; Decicco & Higgins, 2010). It has been found to be useful with recovering alcoholics, pain patients, cancer patients, the general public, and clinical poplulations. A recent study used TSM with soldiers as a form of self-guided therapy (Dale & DeCicco, 2012). This is particularly important since soldiers returning from war often suffer nightmares and negative imagery. How might this method aid soldiers and how might it prove useful for long-term purposes?

60 comments:

  1. I think this method may aid soldiers by helping recall the good memories and good reasons behind dreams which they might be having due to their circumstances. It could help out a positive spin on their dreams and nightmares an give them an increase in good dreams compared to the nightmares. The more good dreams they have the better the soldier is mentally and physically. In the long run soldiers will be able to interpret their dreams in a more positive additude than in a negative one.

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  2. Jennifer Cheznowski 0376917May 16, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    Dreams seem to be the brains subconscious way of dealing or coping with existing issues in ones life. When it comes to the nightmares of soldiers, their dreams might help to pin point the exact areas of trauma. If soldiers keep a dream journal to help them keep track of their nightmares from war experiences, it might help to pin point the substancial areas of trauma that exist subconsciously. This method might be more effective than simply asking a soldier to discuss areas of trauma from memory alone.

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  3. Some soldiers returning from active duty experience PTSD or suffer from nightmares. One of the symptoms of PTSD is dreams or nightmares related to the trauma. TSM is thus a form of therapy that directly targets one of the symptoms of PTSD. It could help soldiers identify and work through emotions related to the trauma. If the soldiers are then able to work through these emotions, it might result in overall better mental health and more restful sleep. This is useful long-term because the therapy is something they could do on their own. It could thus be used as a tool throughout soldiers' careers to help deal with the traumatic experiences they suffer as a result of their jobs, that are reflected in their dreams.

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    1. I agree, Megan. And because soldiers could use the TSM method independently, it is highly cost effective. Additionally, the trauma can be worked out in a gentler, less invasive way than traditional therapy. Soldiers who are shy, private, or simply not interested in talk therapy may benefit from being their own therapist. I think this could be incredibly empowering.
      Lindsay Dixon

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  4. The story telling method of dream interpretation may help with soldiers returning home from war by narrowing down exactly what is bothering them. For instance, many soldiers come home from the war and suffer from PTSD, by participating in TSM they may be able to focus in on the part of war that they are still having trouble coping with and therefore be able to find the best route possible in order to begin working on the issue. There are many aspects of being at war that I'm sure are horrible, however everyone is different and one area that is troubling for one soldier may not be of issue to another. Therefore by narrowing down the problem the soldier is faced with by using TSM, the process that will be used to help that soldier will be unique to him/herself.
    -Megan MacDougall

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  5. Soldiers are likely to have experienced many traumatic events during their service in the war; some may even develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. As we know, traumatic events often lead to unhealthy suppression of thoughts, feelings, and experiences, which the individual may be unaware of. Soldiers’ underlying thoughts and feelings about their experiences are then likely to appear in their dreams as their inner-selves’ way of saying, “I’m here! Deal with me”. The Storytelling Method of dream interpretation may thus be an effective therapeutic technique that will allow soldiers to gain insight and become aware of their thoughts and feelings associated with the traumatic experiences of war. This method will then allow them to cope in a healthy manner with the traumatic events they have experienced and may later prevent further or continuous psychological and emotional distress in the long-term.
    - Lindsey Martin

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  6. TSM may help soldiers bring to the conscious level feelings or thoughts they have been suppressing unknowingly. It may also help soldiers to deal with PTSD and the negative imagery they may be experiencing in their dreams from what they participated in/witnessed while serving.

    It is useful for soldiers on an individual level because although many experience PTSD or negative events, how they cope or their interpretation will differ from another individual. TSM will help them to gain insight to their feelings and what they are experiencing in waking day and help to create a plan to now deal with what they've uncovered through TSM.

    As for helping a solider in a long-term situation, once they've learned and used TSM they will have that tool to use when they experience dreams at a later date and can see how they have progressed during waking day or where they need to focus their attention to currently.

    Samantha Lewer

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  7. The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation can be quite helpful for soldiers who are looking for more understanding and discovery about the connections between their dreams and waking life. As Jennifer Perrin pointed out above, dream discovery can put a ‘positive spin’ on dream imagery which may be negative. Through this course, I have started to use the dream interpretation methods from DeCicco’s The Giant Compass, and I have found that some of my dreams which seemed quite negative actually had positive messages for discovery. For example, I had an odd dream about a doctor appointment, which led me to discovery about the positive aspects of one of my waking day relationships. This was reassuring, and allowed me to move beyond the negative dream imagery and to appreciate my waking life relationship. I think the same process could be helpful for soldiers, especially if they are having negative dream imagery related to their traumatic experiences with war.

    Also, like many of the posts above have addressed, keeping a dream journal and using TSM to interpret dreams can lead to discovery about trends or patterns in dream imagery, a long term result of using TSM. This can add to the soldiers’ discovery and understanding, and can help them to work through emotional issues related to their dream imagery. Since TSM is so effective in leading to discovery (80% ‘success rate’ for discovery is quite substantial, as reported by DeCicco, 2007), it is a great opportunity for people who are interested in trying dream interpretation for the first time. As I said in my post earlier this week, I am a bit skeptical about dream interpretation, and this method still resulted in discovery for me. Lastly, as Samantha Lewer stated above, dream discovery can help dream interpreters decide where to ‘focus their attention’ in waking day. Discoveries about dream imagery could help soldiers focus on emotions or other issues that are bothering them which they weren’t aware of without the use of TSM.

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  8. Soldiers who are suffering from PTSD, or even those who are not but are dealing with negative imagery in dreaming life, could be struggling with unhealthy sleeping habits due to nightmares. TSM would help them find meaning through the negative imagery and connect it to what they are still trying to get over from when they were serving. The soldiers would be less anxious about sleeping if they were trying to interpret their dreams to aid in overcoming traumatic events. The student above me indicated that TSM could be helpful for the soldier to create a plan to deal with what they have discovered through TSM. However, I would say that TSM is the tool which can help them overcome the negative imagery. The soldiers can learn a lot from dream interpretation regarding their physical and psychological well-being. They can gain further insight and get a better grasp on their feelings about their time served.
    -Margaret-Anne Warr

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  9. This method may prove useful in long-term work with soldiers suffering from nightmares and negative imagery in that it could provide both the soldier and those attempting to help with a clearer view of the issues and the self-image that the soldier is currently dealing with. These insights can then aid in the dealing with, and healing that is to come.

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  10. The storytelling method (TSM) of dream interpretation connects dream imagery directly to waking life circumstances/situations of the dreamer.

    TSM may aid soldiers in dealing with their waking day issues of war flashbacks, negative emotions and other post-traumatic stress symptoms. As Jennifer Cheznowski mentioned above, dreams are the brain's way of bringing subconscious thoughts and emotions into consciousness. The soldier's may not be consciously aware of the exact event/emotion/situation that is causing them to experience PTSD symptoms. Bringing these events/emotions/situations into consciousness can help them deal with the problems they are facing in their waking life (eg. PTSD). As professor DeCicco mentions in The Giant Compass, living your life consciously is much better than living your life unconsciously. Keeping a dream journal would be beneficial for soldiers so they can perform TSM on their own dreams in the form of self-guided dream therapy. Again, this would allow them to bring any issues they have into consciousness so they can be dealt with.

    Using TSM to find the problem is a great start for soldiers because it allows them to find the PERSONAL meaning of the dream. Therefore TSM is a better option than a standard "dream dictionary" since the same dream may have very different meanings for different people. Also, TSM leads to discovery 80% of the time, and it is an easy method to use and is therefore a good starting point for soldiers dealing with issues such as PTSD symptoms.

    In terms of the long term usefulness of TSM, pin pointing the event/emotion/situation that has caused them to experience problems in waking life will ultimately lead to their ability to cope with such issues. So not only will they possibly deal with their current symptoms after discovery, but they will also be able to prevent PTSD-like symptoms in the future since they have already learned how to deal with these symptoms. Therefore, TSM may lead to extinction of PTSD symptoms, and may prevent their recurrence.

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  11. The Storytelling Method of dream interpretation allows the client to have control over their dreams and how they are connected to their waking life emotions and experiences. The goal of TSM is that the client will write out their dream and then pick out important words that make up various emotions or other factors that are important to the client. This method may be particularly helpful for soldiers that have suffered traumatizing incidents because it allows them to really dissect their emotions and bring meaning to them. Through actively acknowledging their issues and concerns with dream interpretation, they can then address them with a subsequent counselor, which could lead to long term healing for the soldier.

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    1. I agree that TSM can lead to long term healing for the soldier. Soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder could benefit from TSM because it could serve as a way for them to sort through and go into more depth about the nightmares they have. This could act as a healing process for them and could help them connect their dreams with the issues they have in waking life.

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  12. Many soldiers experience post traumatic stress disorder upon their return from war. This often leads to reoccurring nightmares. If a solider was to use the story telling method they could try and overcome a possible feeling of guilt or other emotions they may feel towards aspects in war they needed to engage in such as violence. With the story telling method they could begin to look at any positive aspects of their dreams and not focus solely on the negative. The nightmares are most likely recalling emotions the soldier is feeling about war and this could help in the long run by leading the soldier into finding help in the waking life to help cope with these difficult emotions.
    -Amanda Edwards

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  13. Uncovering underlying issues through the imagery of dreams may help soldiers to cope with the trauma they endured in times of war. Using STM may help to unravel dreams that are clouded by waking life events to better understand the root of a soldiers issues.

    During the story writing step of STM, a solider writing using key words from a dream may uncover feelings or events that he/she were unable to speak about, or were unaware of. Once these thoughts and feelings have been brought to the surface, the emotions can then be treated.

    Owing to the fact that the Storytelling Method uses an indirect method to interpret dreams, the soldiers may unknowingly uncover troubled feelings that have plagued them, resulting in mental health issues such as PTSD (as mentioned in a previous post). This is why the method may be useful, because soldiers may not feel comfortable dealing with these emotions face on and the storytelling method does not force them to do so.

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    1. I completely agree with your statement of hopeful uncovering of what may be an unconscious issue for the soldier that they are unaware of. I was wondering though, what would happen if the solider was not able to find a discovery through the TSM method? This seems unfortunate to me because they would already have so many other negative issues to deal with, let alone not being able to interpret a dream. Just a thought : )

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  14. I think that TSM would be useful for soldiers to help them find the root emotions that trigger the nightmares that they face. Soldiers are very likely to engage in violent actions that they are not comfortable with, and as a result can be traumatized by it because they were not mentally prepared for it. They may resort to engaging in violent actions more than once even though they are not comfortable with it, and that can lead to trauma that lasts for a while and triggers nightmares. With TSM, the soliders have a chance to discover the reasons for carrying out violent actions that they are not used to carrying out. TSM can help them come to terms with the fact that even though the actions were so violent, they possibly had no other options. Once they can come to terms with the reasons they carried out some violent actions that they were not completely okay with doing, it will decrease the chances of getting more nightmares in the future that those violent actions triggered. TSM is a very effective method because it is not time consuming and has a high rate of discovery. If soldiers can overcome the nightmares brought on by their time in the war, they can get closer to living the life that they were used to living before they went to war. Not only would overcoming the nightmares be relieving for the soldier, but it would be relieving for their families as well. The nightmares may cause the soldiers anxiety to rise and that can negatively affect the way they interact with their families. By overcoming the nightmares with TSM, soldiers can go back to living the normal life that they once knew with their families.
    -Sarah Aseerwatham

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  15. Using TSM (the storytelling method) could prove very useful to some soldiers, however it could deem to be completely useless to others just like with any other group of individuals. However, positive outcomes could occur with the correct use of this method for most people. The self-discovery and interpretation that needs to occur for the method to be successful could be very helpful for some people.
    In regards to the soldiers, most of what I have read leads me and others to believe (like in above posts) that some dreams can be negative, however through interpretation and discovery, a positive story emerges from the dream. This could be very helpful in terms of treating or helping with the symptoms of PTSD.
    The long-term solution for PTSD like nightmares and negative imagery could potentially stem from the positive benefits of dream interpretation. Especially, through the correct use of TSM.
    -Sarah Arthur

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    1. Hi Sarah,

      I like that you pointed out that the benefits of dream interpretation are "through the correct use of TSM." It reminds me of the lecture video for module two and chapter five of DiCicco's The Giant Compass, where Professor DiCicco stresses the importance of using the worksheets provided to complete TSM, especially considering that researchers who have shown benefits of using TSM have had their participants use these worksheets. This has standardized these worksheets as the 'proper' way of completing TSM as a method of dream interpretation.

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  16. Stephanie WottonMay 16, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Throughout our lives every moment of the human experience is stored in our minds, everything we see, hear, touch, taste, smell every emotion and every thought. This is a key piece to consider when dealing with a soldier who is suffering from PTSD, nightmares or anxiety after returning from war. Every traumatic image experienced by that soldier during the war and the emotions associated with them are stored in his or her memory, even though they may not be aware of or assign any significance to a particular memory. For this reason TSM can be helpful because it allows the soldier to assign meaning to the dream, the images involved and the emotions associated with them. Once these emotions have been identified the soldier and his or her therapist can target interventions to ensure they are having a therapeutic and lasting effect. TSM will be beneficial to the soldier in the long term because it is a method that is easy to use, not time consuming and can be completed right after the individual has woken from a dream. This will allow the soldiers to identify and target the emotions associated with these traumatic events and images. This control of their emotions will, if effective, will result in a decrease in nightmares and negative imagery and allow the individual to lead a normal life.
    - Stephanie Wotton

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  17. The method of story telling to interpret dreams would be an effective tool for soldiers to gain meaning and insight from their dreams. Traumatic events and high stress environment soldiers endure have significant deleterious effects on mental health. Waking life experiences of stress and trauma can be re-experienced in the dream state. Use of the TSM, a practical and effective method, can provide a tool for soldiers to use on a regular basis to give meaning to nightmares and negative imagery in dreams that may otherwise continue to disturb sleep and waking life. In gaining an understanding of negative dream imagery they are more able to understand the cause, and process their experiences so as to positively effect dream imagery, sleep quality and mental health.
    -Charlotte Marcotte

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  18. The previous post highlights the understanding I initially considered when thinking about how soldiers returning from war may benefit from using the Story Telling Method (TSM), even in the long term. Soldiers, regularly, can learn to be able to come to the realization of pressing issues that are showing up in their dream imagery. That is, consistently giving meaning to images they see in their dreams, then considering and addressing how these issues come about and affect their waking life.

    Something I also think is important to consider when it comes to individuals with PTSD, specifically, is to not forget that some issues do not cease to exist even after a lot of time has passed. That is, those issues still may be relevant years later. I feel that dreams can be an interesting way to become aware of baring problems that an individual has not overcome, even if it is sometime later and they feel like they have overcome it. For instance, they could go through initial therapy and then a couple years later recognize particular dream imagery and use the TSM to address the issue and problems they are facing, immediately which may help their well-being in the long run.

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  19. The Storytelling Method might aid returning soldiers because it helps the dreamer become aware of their own waking life issues that they otherwise might not be conscious of. Soldiers have to endure the many negative aspects that are involved in war, which can be harmful to one’s mind, even long after the war is over. The harmful effects of war may then be expressed in the form of nightmares or PTSD. The Storytelling Method of dream interpretation can help guide the dreamer towards discovery, thus helping them to pinpoint the exact cause for their issues. Even if there are no obvious negative side effects caused from being involved in war, the soldier may still be unconsciously harboring negative emotions that can affect the choices that he or she makes during waking life. TSM can aid in bringing those unconscious emotions into consciousness, allowing for better choices to be made and a better life to be lived.

    This method of dream interpretation may also prove useful for long-term purposes because it can allow the dreamer to become aware of their own unconscious needs and wants. The dream imagery being created will often relate to the dreamer’s waking life, thus bring to light how the dreamer truly feels about the events occurring in their life. TSM can be used on a regular basis to help guide the dreamer toward appropriate life decisions that correspond to what the mind and body unconsciously need and want, allowing for an overall enhanced well-being.

    - Chealsie Pierson

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  20. Coming back from a period of life-changing events as a soldier can have a serious impact in the way they dream. Using the storytelling method of dream interpretation, soldiers might find a good way to understand what their mind is going through. As soldiers suffer through nightmares and negative imagery, they may not want to talk about the same horrifying events in their waking day lives. The events that they dream also might not be things that they would like to share with others. TSM provides the safety that dreamers deserve when they would like to interpret their dreams. Thus, talking to people about their dreams is not what they would want to do. This form of self-guided therapy allows soldiers to understand their dreams more quickly and effectively.

    TSM might also prove to be useful as long-term purpose as soldiers might not have to use them for nightmares or horrifying imagery they see at night. They can use this method on other purposes that need insight.

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    1. I would definitely agree with your comment on how TSM provides safety for the soldiers' dreams. There is a lot that they would see or do that would be confidential to them or their fellow soldiers. Allowing them the ability to self-guide is one step closer to aiding their pain.

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  21. Men and women in the armed forces deal with many stressors in their waking life because of their profession. Many encounter physical pain, long distance relationship stress, and more sever items such as PTSD. These stressful situations could be influencing negative images in their dreams.
    The Storytelling method (TSM) would help them develop a story that relates to their waking day experiences. DeCicco’s textbook discusses how the TSM could help with relationships. When applying this to soldiers (who tend to be far away from loved ones), using TSM may help them discover underlying emotions and solutions to their relationship problems.
    The textbook also discusses helping people with physical pain, which definitely applies to members of the armed forces. Finding substance in their dreams could help them cope with the pain and discover treatment methods that would aid their pain.

    Kristin Vieira

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  22. I feel that the most useful part of TSM for soldiers, would be the physical written portion of the activity. It has been shown through research that writing out your thoughts or feelings helps in the healing process of an event.
    I could see a connection for this to also help with the healing of nightmares for soldiers. Also, by enabling the soldiers to interpret the meaning of their dreams, may allow them to find discovery and then see where changes could be made in their lives or thought processes of war.

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  23. PTSD as we all know is a neurosis and is often treated using the same methods as other neuroses such as CBT and Drug Therapy. It seems reasonable to me that the story telling method could be considered to be very similar to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the treatment of PTSD (especially PTSD related to returning veterans). Cognitive behavioural therapy asserts that we have thoughts, emotions and behaviours and that we can alter or modify our thoughts and behaviours (and our emotions but usually more as a result of the alteration of our thoughts and behaviours) which will in turn help alleviate our anxieties or depression. One way we alter our thoughts is by breaking down the sources of our thoughts and realizing that they are non sense (in the case of anxiety) and then learning to reassure ourselves without using external sources (which may be considered a compulsion). In the case of nightmares and the associated imagery the only way we could actually consciously breakdown our thoughts is through a method such as the story telling method outlined by our professor. Using this method a soldier could more clearly identify a specific thought that is related to the imagery they encounter which would then allow them to help break the thought down and realize that it is non sense (and by non sense all I mean is that the thought is counter productive to healthy living, of course the thought isn't non sense but it is a thought that needs to be dealt with). In other words the story telling method is a way that a soldier could bring the subconscious to the level of the conscious where it could then be dealt with. It is noteworthy to mention that all of the aforementioned information related to neurosis I have learned through my own experience with anxiety and therefore it may be slightly inaccurate in certain spots, although I think as a whole its pretty accurate.

    As far as long term benefits of the story telling method are concerned, I should be inclined to assert that they are similar to the long term benefits of CBT if I follow my earlier logic. When one is able to deal with negative imagery and thoughts using the story telling method I think that person would eventually become less depressed and anxious and more able to deal with depression and anxiety if it were to resurface in the future.

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    1. Evan, I think the comparison between CBT and TSM/ dream interpretation is a very insightful one to make. The similarities you point out are accurate. One idea that came to mind as I was reading your post was the idea of perhaps combining CBT and TSM; especially in long term therapy for soldiers suffering from conditions such as PTSD. For example, a soldier may begin TSM for dreams, and, if required, may also begin to participate in CBT to see if this made any difference to the dreams he/she is experiencing. I think it would be interesting to see the results of this "combination therapy", and to measure, if any, difference in dream experience.

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    2. Great point Ann-Marie, it reminds me of parts of DeCicco's book where she states that not every dream interpretation technique will work for every person, and that each technique gives a different 'level' of meaning. I think the same is true for other therapeutic techniques, and by combining them they can be 'tailored' to the client's needs until a technique is found which is useful and meaningful for the client.

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  24. As mentioned in the question, soliders returning from war often suffer from nightmares. Professor DeCicco talks briefly about nightmares in chapter two of The Giant Compass stating that nightmares are a special kind of anxiety dream. For occassional nightmares, dream interpretation can be very useful, especially if the nightmare is a reoccuring dream. In these cases with all reocurring dreams, there is a waking day circumstance that the dreamer is not attending to, and therefore, the consciousness of the dreamer is manifesting the information in the form of a nightmare.

    The story telling method has been found to significantly lead to discovery, which would seemingly make it very useful for soldiers to practice. We know that many soldiers are found to suffer from nightmares, and dream interpretation has been helpful and often the treatment of choice for some disorders such as PTSD which is also prevalent in soldiers and related to nightmares. The purpose of the story telling method is to bridge dream imagery to waking day circumstances for the dreamer. For a soldier, this would be beneficial as it would provide guidance on how to deal with the trauma they face in their every day life.

    For long term purposes, I think it is something that is easy and practical and can continue to be used. However, for the degree of nightmares that a soldier may have, aware that most are sufferers of PTSD, I don't think that the story telling method alone is effective as a long term treatment. Coupled with other dream interpretation methods and clinical therapies would be more effective in my opinion. Chapter five touches on this, saying that one technique will not work for every dream, and therefore, several techniques are useful in any dream interpretation program.

    -Nicole Hinan

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  25. By using the Storytelling Method of dream interpretation, soldiers can be aided in the present and in long term.
    Soldiers go through a horrific experience, and this experience can be seen over and over again through dreams. These dreams can be just as terrifying and feel just as real as the actual experience. By writing down their dreams, they can work through some of the trauma they had to endure. For example, a soldier may have seen a fellow soldier die who was close to him/her, and this experience would be very traumatic, especially if that person has to keep reliving it through dreams. By learning to interpret dreams, the soldier can come to learn that this is the unconscious mind letting him/her know to let go of the fellow soldier because that soldier is not living the nightmare anymore. Dreams have a purpose, and it would be very beneficial to the soldier to find that purpose so the dreams will stop.
    Another example would be if the soldier felt responsible for the death of that soldier. The dream could be trying to allow this soldier to release the guilt and pain he/she feels because of the death of the soldier. In general, by interpreting their dreams, they could come to terms with the fact that they are no longer there, and move past the horrific experiences and live a better life.
    This particular type of dream interpretation would be beneficial to soldiers because they can express their pain and anger through their dreams and work through their trauma by working through them. Writing down their dreams will allow them to have a solid physical thing that they can tackle rather than just images that can be easily jumbled. Having a written copy will also give them time to breathe after they endure the dream before they have to dive into the meaning of the dream.
    Dreams are known to help people undergoing a trauma. DeCicco states the following regarding cancer patients: "It was found that discoveries from TSM helped them cope with waking day life" (DeCicco, 65). Like soldiers, cancer patients are undergoing a trauma and continue to live it, but dream therapy proves to be beneficial in the long run. This statement is a perfect example for why the Storytelling Method of dream interpretation is beneficial for present trauma and carries over into long term benefits.

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  26. I think The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation is a great idea to help soldiers returning from war to make sense of the negative imagery they may be experiencing in their dreams or nightmares. Working through the negative imagery can help them to make sense of their dreams and help them to be able to cope with their waking life. Through TSM they may be able to recall their stories and work through the meaning of them to discovery of a new way of looking at these experiences. It may help them to find some positive aspects and discover how to cope with the negative aspects.
    TSM, in the long term, may alleviate some of the traumatic memories that plague soldiers returning from war, and allow them to work these negative images into something positive. TSM can be valuable method of self-discovery and insight that could help many individuals. Soldiers may find it easier to work through their own dreams rather than sharing their experience with others. Through TSM they may get over the trauma and be able to live a more peaceful existence in the future.

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  27. Soldiers tend to suffer from PTSD, so their dreams are usually bad ones. Dream Therapy with TSM can help narrow down the issues the dreamer is having in waking day life related to their anxieties and negative feelings towards the war they were in. TSM would be a beneficial tool for these people to use because it is so practical and easy to use in everyday life for a long period of time. Sufferers of PTSD usually struggle with emotions for a long period of time because the root of these emotions are so deep (and scary/ repressed), so TSM would be able to help these patients for a long period of time with minimal effort. Also, TSM allows the patient to be a part of their recovery and gives them control. Soldiers who used to fight in war and see emotional things may feel like they had little control, so gaining control over their lives again and reaching discovery is most likely to help their recovery!

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  28. The TSM has people look at the things happening in their dreams in such a way as to look at what is troubling them the most. This seems like something that most people should be able to do on their own without help but often times in situations such as a soldiers, where they have been trained to suppress things and have witnesses many things that could potentially be a cause of psychological trauma it can be hard to pinpoint what exactly is the cause of the trauma. With using the TSM method it's almost like a Rorschach inkblot test where the patient says the first word that feels comes to their head. But instead of just looking at random ink, we're looking at what some people believe are random images in out head. And by having them chose the parts that they feel are the most powerful it brings things to ahead much faster. It also lets the patient who knows everything that's happening in their life be the one that tries to find meaning. This is important for things like soldiers of war times because they may not feel safe or comfortable talking about things that have happened to them or in front of them, or they may down play things to others to not seem as bad. Because of this the therapists may not have a full image and may misdiagnose what the dream is about.
    Because of this the TSM is a great method to use because people are less likely to lie to themselves on purpose.

    Patrick Edgar

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  29. Ashley HutchingsMay 17, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation allows an individual to link their dreams to waking life emotions and events. I think TSM would be a great option for soldiers returning from war who are suffering from nightmares and negative imagery. Through the use of TSM, soldiers may be able to work through their nightmares and negative imagery and be able to make more sense of them as well as find ways to be able to cope with them in waking life. TSM as a long-term method may be useful for the soldiers because they may be able to take the negative imagery that they are experiencing and interpret them as something positive. Soldiers experience many devastating life events while at war and they may have a hard time speaking to someone about them. TSM will allow them to be able to try and interpret their owns dreams at their discretion.

    Ashley Hutchings

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  30. Through using the TSM method to aid soldiers who are coming back from war it will give them an invitation to play with their narrative. This will help give them a better understanding of why this narrative is being played out in their dreams. The soldier’s dreams give them an occasion to observe their impasses and contain the potential to repair them through the dream interpretation techniques. Using the TSM dream interpretation technique it will help the soldiers focus on major images and words in their dreams to guide them to create a story with their associations. Through creating a story with associations it will help the soldier better understand the meaning behind the dream and the meaning will be useful for their discovery and insight into their waking day life.

    As Aristrotle has stated “the key to dream interpretations is resemblances”. Through the soldiers finding similarities to their waking day life when comparing their dream interpretation and waking day life they will begin to be able to repair the causes of the nightmares and negative dream imagery due to finding the cause for them (awareness is key). The TSM method will help to aid the soldiers in revisiting and discharging the traumatic memories to help repair the negative dreams. Through using the TSM dream interpretation method it will help (TSM method works with 80% of individuals) the soldiers resolve emotional wounds and injuries through bringing it to their conscious awareness. The soldiers perhaps were unaware that these emotional wounds still existed due to being tucked away in their unconscious awareness. The dream therapy can provide the soldiers with full conscious awareness of emotions and traumas they had not dealt with, tucked away or were unconscious of.

    Through the soldier recognizing the route of the negative dream imagery it can help provide relief that would otherwise possibly not be obtained through medications that may have been diagnosed to the soldier. The dream interpretation and “discovery” will help the soldier address their past, present and future developmental tasks. The “discovery” in the soldiers dream interpretation images generated will also help the soldier with their overall health, hope, future and possibly a deeper meaning in life.


    ~Abby Ross

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  31. Hopefully my post brings a new perspective to the table, I do try to always contribute something unique.

    To get right to the point, The Story Telling Method of dream interpretation benefits soldiers primarily by allowing them to more safely express underlying thoughts and emotions. The method allows a kind of expression that bypasses the dreamer's typical inhibitions by creating a meaningful story from seemingly random words.

    Most importantly, the dreamer believes that the story in which they put meaning and emotions into comes from within, this allows the dreamer to reflect deeper than typical daily reflections allow.

    One more unique reflection on the professor's question: is it plausible that soldiers are more repressed (for lack of a better word) than the average population? I might guess that from strict physical and mental training as well as a tough-minded peer group and environment, today's soldiers might perhaps be less emotionally expressive. This means that the uninhibited expression allowed by The Story Telling Method may providing an extra level of therapy to soldiers specifically.

    Long term benefits may include a more reflective and uninhibited mind for soldiers who benefited from successful dream interpretation. By expressing and facing inner desires and turmoils, individuals who served as soldiers may emotionally flourish in the long term.

    If anyone has any thoughts or constructive criticism on these specific points, I'll be happy to respond!

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    Replies
    1. I like your comment about soldiers being less emotionally expressive and repressing more. I agree that the environment they are in and their training may lead them to repress their thoughts and feelings more than the average person. I think this is very different from all the other posts and very insightful :)

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  32. The story telling method of dream interpretation may help with soldiers returning home from war by allowing them to sift through their memories and dreams to discover the reasons behind them. It could allow soldiers to visit memories that they have unconsciously suppressed, or memories that are so painful they cannot be forgotten, so they can break them down and try to resolve their feelings or work through them. For long-term purposes, this method would be helpful because it teaches them to work through their dreams/memories so they aren't fighting a dark memory that will continue to affect their lives.

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  33. Steffanie PorterMay 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    The Storytelling Method of dream interpretation may help soldiers because they most likely are suffering from PTSD. If this is the case, writing a story is a passive way to talk about subconscious bothersome experiences; they may be able to avoid reliving the trauma in the waking day. Often, those suffering from PTSD do not know the exact trigger of their anxiety. Sometimes it is loud noises, but its not always the case with soldiers. TSM might be able to help soldiers put distance between them and the triggering situation which will allow them to analyze it clearly, emotionally, and thoroughly. Once the soldier can identify the trigger, then they can focus on changing the effects of the trigger through behavioural modification and reassociative techniques.

    Overall, TSM might allow soldiers a safe way to relay the traumatic experiences, and is easier to analyze which will hopefully lead to an understood trigger of the anxiety attached to soldiers. Then recovery can begin.

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  34. The story telling method could help soldiers sort through their fears and triggers that cause them to have nightmares. By being able to determine situations in waking life that make them relive the horrors of war, they could work towards minimizing their exposure to things that could bring up bad memories and also work through them. Working through the dreams and determining their waking day meanings could help to reduce stress, anxiety and tensions. It may also be beneficial for other family members and friends to understand what type of things elicit nightmares in their loved ones and support them in working through their problems in a safe and loving environment.

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  35. I think the storytelling method would aid soldiers in the sense of understanding what their dreams are trying to tell them about their waking life situations. This can come in many forms such as soldiers having nightmares, night terrors and negative or frightening images after returning from the war. The storytelling method would help the soldiers go step by step about their dreams and unravel their unconscious issues that they have experienced or feel about war. The storytelling method helps connect their frightening dreams to their waking life situations, which can lead to a better understanding and helping soldiers cope and manage their emotions in a healthy manner. The storytelling method could help them work through their issues relating to the war. TSM would help soldiers function normally in waking life. By working through these emotions in their dreams can help soldiers emotionally by releasing potential depression, anxiety, stress or negative thought process soldiers may have.

    I think the storytelling method helps soldiers in the long term by gradually working through these emotions to better cope and overcome these negative nightmares and emotions. Hopefully by going through each step in the TSM, the soldier would be have less nightmares or not suffer from negative imagery. The previous poster brought up an interesting point that in the long run, family members and friends would be better equipped to understand and help the individual if they go through the TSM steps. Having this support system can be beneficial along with the TSM being used for soldiers returning from the war. Using the TSM soldiers can become more expressive and relieve stress. By understanding their underlying emotions and fears that come from their dreams the TSM can help relate it to their waking life, making soldiers to be able to function better in waking life and overall be happier and live happier lives through dream interpretation therapy.

    _Erin Hillier

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  36. One of the more obvious conclusions for the usefulness of TSM for returning soldiers is the perspective that may be gained. These people do often have nightmares and other such negative dream imagery as their waking brain has cataloged so many frightening and upsetting memories and occurrences from their time at war. As illustrated in The Giant Compass, our waking minds take in so much information we are scarcely aware of even half of it. TSM then would help these soldiers attain greater awareness of the effect war has had on them.

    Perhaps they, via interpretation, discover that they now struggle to connect with their spouse. This realization (which may have otherwise gone unnoticed) could help to prompt the former soldier to seek help in adjusting back to civilian life. Moreover, in the long run TSM would be useful to soldiers both in monitoring recovery, and illness.

    Tracking, recording and interpreting one's dreams over time, particularly those of a soldier who six months ago had vivid nightmares each night, can help to monitor one's improvement. Perhaps their dreams have less anxiety over time, or less violence. The client or patient will likely benefit from the knowledge (or belief) that they are healing and that important issues in waking life are being dealt with (such as no longer being at war but instead at home with one's family).

    Potentially more important long term, is the ability through TSM so see when things remain stagnant or get worse. It is certainly not unusual for ex soldiers to suffer from PTSD or develop some form of psychoses spurred by their traumatic experiences. TSM then facilitate over time the realization that one's condition is worsening and that something more is going on than just disturbing memories. The dreamer may have dreams that become more and more vivid and upsetting, which not only disrupt their and their families' lives, but also may indicate the development of a deeper problem that has as of yet not been resolved.

    Alya Al-Joundi

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  37. TSM can aid soldiers in recovery by allowing them to determine how war is effecting their present life. Soldiers can use TSM to determine what and who in their present life is effecting them, and how it can help them move past negitive thoughts. By using TSM over time soldiers can better understand and interpret their dreams allowing long-term treatment.

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  38. Soldiers returning from war often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, which can take many forms. In particular, PTSD may involve negative imagery and dreams. TSM may provide an outlet for soldiers to understand and interpret their dreams. By working through the imagery in their dreams, soldiers may come to an understanding of what their dreams mean.
    This may be particularly useful if soldiers would like to identify any triggers for these dreams in their waking day life. They may be able to make a discovery between certain events in their waking life, and if this is causing them to experience negative imagery in their dreams. Therefore, they may be able to modify certain situations, or triggers, that may occur during waking life to decrease the incidence of negative dreams.
    I also put forth the idea in one of my replies to another post that TSM may be used jointly with a therapy such as Cognitive-Based Therapy. If a soldier is undergoing any type of therapy for PTSD, TSM may provide insight into whether or not the therapy is truly helping (ex: an increase or decrease in the incidence of negative dream imagery). Although some therapies such as CBT are more short-term oriented; TSM may prove useful when used in combination with many other therapies.
    Ann-Marie Harris

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  39. The story telling method might help soldiers cope with their trauma just by talking about it and putting it out in the open and telling their stories. I find when I am upset about something talking about it with a friend or family member can usually help. So if soldiers are able to write and talk about it, it may help them to heal by writing and talking about their nightmare apposed to keeping them to themselves.
    Melissa Beers

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  40. My personal experience with the story telling method of dream interpretation helped me to recognize that there are valuable learning opportunities presented to us in our dreams. Often it seems as though our dreams are strange and that they are not connected in any way to our waking life. The story telling method helps to bring meaning to our dreams and to appreciate them as our subconscious voice. We can use this unique procedure to gain enlightenment about our waking life and to recognize feelings that we may be repressing.
    This may be extremely beneficial for soldiers that have been struggling with nightmares. By practicing the story telling method of dream interpretation, soldiers could help themselves to understand the areas of their waking lives that are causing them to experience unpleasant feelings that they may not be aware of on a conscious level. By recognizing the healing effects of the story telling method, soldiers may perceive their nightmares in a more positive light. If the nightmares are helping them to overcome the struggles that they face in waking life, they may cease in being a source of fear and frustration. This may prove in being effective because soldiers can preform the methods themselves. A soldiers' lifestyle often involves a lot of travel. The story telling method accomodates soldiers as they do not have make an appointment or dedicate a tremendous amount of time to interpreting their dreams. This could be helpful in ensuring that the benefits of story telling method are long-term.
    Alicia Holding

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  41. I think that this method will help the soldiers to understand their dreams better. the nightmares that they endure when they come home from being in the war and from the constant exposure they witness while taking on certain tasks in the army. By using the TSM method they are able to look deeper into the meanings behind the dreams and nightmares they are experiencing and allow them to come to terms with the events the experience. This method will allow them to see the positive sides to their dreams not just the negative and scarring sides.

    Sarah Craig

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  42. Jazmine EtchellsMay 20, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    The storytelling method of dream interpretation is one of many that can help people realize the meaning of they’re dreams. Soldiers returning home from war tend to suffer from very dark imagery and nightmares as a result of their life experiences. This method will help them grasp a better understanding of what is the root problem causing these dark images and possibly some solutions in how to deal with the event or situation. Since dreams are connected to our waking life events, this method is great for identifying the underlying issues and finding the solutions that our subconscious minds are offering us. This method is particularly easy and quick to use, hence why long term application of this method is not only useful but more practical than some other dream interpretation methods. Since this method takes very little time and provides great insight into the meaning of dreams many people use it on a daily basis to help them get a better understanding of how they’re sleeping mind is connected to their waking mind.

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  43. I purposefully delayed this blog post because I was conflicted as to how I felt about this type of therapy in this particular circumstance.
    On one side, I thought that TSM couldn't really provide any long term benefits for soldiers returning from war. Being able to link nightmares and negative images to waking life events may not provide any peace of mind when those waking life events may have been just as negative as the dream images. Discovery doesn't make bad memories disappear.
    On the other hand, an intriguing debate with my boyfriend lead me to see the other side of this type of therapy. Discovery may not make the memories or bad dreams disappear, but it may help the soldier find some closure about the events he/she encountered and put those events into perspective. Instead of focusing on all the negative aspects of war, TSM may allow him/her to find the positive reasons why he/she was there in the first place. And that may allow them to sleep a little better at night.

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  44. I think that TSM as a method of discovery could help some soldiers who are facing issues such as nightmares. TSM like all therapies does not have a 100% guarantee of helping all people overcome their difficulties. For those people who respond to TSM it could be beneficial....some soldiers who return home have huge issues with adjusting back into normal life and part of the problem is lack of sleep and night terrors. TSM could help some soldiers discover specific events, emotions and feelings that trigger negativity and that trigger the nightmares. It could be a great coping mechanism to go over the dreams and figure out how it is making you feel and discover more about it. Some people can't even relive or have conversations with others about the horrific things they have done and seen. TSM could be a tool that could help those types of people because it discovery that you can do on your own and not have to share it with others. I also believe that once you find a specific coping mechanism or tool to help you in the present, it can always help you in the future if you encounter the same type of trauma or stressors.

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  45. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)May 20, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    The Storytelling Method (TSM) may aid soldiers, specifically those returning from war who may suffer from nightmares and negative imagery. TSM is a self-guiding therapy which "leads to discovery, insight, and provides valuable information to the dreamer about life circumstances," furthermore, it "is [a] bridge... to waking day circumstances" (DeCicco, 2008). I believe that TSM would be useful for a number of reasons. First, it may allow soldiers to discover an interpretation of their dreams. Discovery may lead the soldier to overcome his fears, find new ways of coping with his circumstances, or encourage him to keep a dream journal so that future discoveries can be found helping to make coherence out of his life. This method may be better than others because the soldier does not need to feel obliged to share his nightmare or negative imagery with others (such as a therapist); instead, he can independently work through his issues.
    In the long-term, the soldier may be empowered with the new-found ability of interpreting his own dreams. This empowerment may also benefit the soldier by increasing his independence, since nightmares may lead a soldier to feel vulnerable and without control. Additionally, the soldier may be able to re-use the TSM for future dreams to come.

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  46. Christine McAteerMay 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    The Storytelling Method(TSM)I feel would be a great way to help soldiers that are suffering from nightmares and negative thoughts after returning from war or a battle, or even just a stressful time in the military causing PTSD. TSM will allow the soldiers a way to get insight on what in truly causing this nightmares, instead of just a general assumption that it is cause from being a soldiers. Each soldier carries guilt differently and is effected differently by events that have occurred. The use of TSM will allow soldiers to work through the stress and grief and seeing what the source of the problem is. Most soldiers are reluctant to talk about the experiences that had in a war situation and this may allow them to understand the situation better and help them carry these feelings they hold better. TSM will need to be used over time in order to fully help the soldiers understand the exact situations. This method has proven to be helpful when used for mentally ill patients, and I think the use of it to help soldiers suffering from PTSD is a great idea

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  47. I think TSM would be very useful with interpreting the dreams of soldiers. TSM has been proven useful in many situations and is very useful in discovering facts that people cannot do in their waking lifes. I agree with comments above that Post traumatic Stress Disorder is seen in many soldiers and TSM would be very useful in aiding this. Soldiers would be able to discover a deeper meaning and a new perspective that can help diminish their nightmares. I think that if they discover these meanings through TSM they would be able to make connections to their waking life and be able to see treatment or to take action to improve their lives.
    Kristen Thumm

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  48. To me, dream interpretation is not merely about “good” dreams or “bad” dreams. As students above have pointed out, positive messages can result from negative dreams. A soldier living with PTSD may not experience only bad dreams. A soldier could have a pleasant dream, and then by using the STM could uncover intense feelings of grief, shame, rage, fear, etc. that he/she was previously unaware of. Similarly, “bad” dreams are not necessarily a bad thing. I wonder if what makes a dream “bad” is when it causes us to confront a fear, an uncomfortable emotion, or an upsetting memory. Each of these cognitive and emotional experiences can promote self-awareness and personal growth if we take the time to sit with it.

    Drawing from my own experience completing Lab 1, I suggest that the STM can be considered analogous to peeling an onion. Once you have peeled away a layer, you have done so permanently. Once you know something profound about yourself, can you ever really un-know it? For soldiers the TSM could prove effective as a gentle and confidential way to peel away the layers of their deepest emotions about war. At the least, the STM provides a tried and true way to get to know oneself better. This method of therapy could also compliment other methods, and therefore could promote quicker emotional healing.
    Lindsay Dixon

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  49. The Storytelling Method (TSM) may help soldiers that are coming back and help them reintegrate back into society. When soldiers come back they tend to suffer from mental illnesses or disorders, the dream interpretation could change their perspectives or use their dreams to help confront and concur the underlying meaning of the dreams. Also, some of the dreams may have to do with coming back and trying to re-enter society. The Storytelling Method could help them discover different ways of how to get use to being back in society. Since there is a high success rate in discovery this would be an easy and good way to start. Discovering why you are having the dreams can help you be able to start healing and dealing with the issues.
    - Sarah McFadden

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  50. The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation may aid soldiers in the sense that the stories they construct may help them to cope with the negative emotions that they will likely experience. As TSM has been shown to be useful in terms of providing insight, I can imagine that those soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder would benefit from the cathartic nature of the method; that is, discovering the origins of their feelings, and learning how to incorporate their memories into their daily lives while at the same time not letting them consume them.

    ~ Ellen Coombs

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  51. The story telling method can be very helpful to everyone, specially to soldiers since they experience raw, real, cold scene right in front of their eyes. I can imagine that the TSM will be a great tool for them cause it will help them discover things and give them a chance to explore other options in life to ease their pain and misery. if for normal person with normal or extra stressfull of confusing life can benefit a great deal then the soldiers will greatly appreciate and benefit the TSM. For my own experience I am becoming more dependent on the story telling method since it is working in a great deal for me in a daily life. I am sure TSM will be greatly usefull and will benefit everyone in their lifestyle. No matter who and how their life style is, I can only the positive benefit with this story telling method.

    Pavel Nazmus

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  52. Janine LownsbroughMay 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    This may help soldiers by informing them why they are still having these dream; it may tell them what they may still be afraid of that is causing them to still be dreaming about certain things. Perhaps once they acknowledge or realize what is causing these disturbances, they will be able to alter their daily routines and activities to be able to live a happier life, and hopefully this will cause the dreams to stop.

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