Friday, September 28, 2012

The Dreams of Canadian Soldiers

My name is Allyson Dale and I studied the dreams of soldiers after war with Dr. DeCicco for my Masters. We found that TSM was very effective with soldiers in revealing to them what their dream means. Soldiers had much more aggression and perceived threat in their dreams when compared to a control group of age matched male university students. We also examined the discovery passages from TSM and found that soldiers learned about specific events relating to their tour from aggressive acts in their dreams. They also learned about specific relationships such as relationships with their comrades. Predictive value of dreams was also found where certain dream categories predicted categories of discovery, as was found with males (Dale & DeCicco, 2012). Both dream content and discovery from the dream were relevant and meaningful for both soldiers and male civilians which reflect their waking lives, further supporting the continuity hypothesis.

53 comments:

  1. How interesting! It makes perfect sense to me that soldiers would perceive more threat in dream situations (and probably waking life situations too). I find it especially interesting that relationships played a large part in the dreams for these soldiers; that’s not something I would have guessed.

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    1. I also found it quite intriguing that relationships would have a large role in the dreams of soldiers as well. Originally I perceieved that they'd only dream of violence so it's nice to be enlightened of the other possibilities. I think ti would be really interesting if soldiers were compared to other careers in which individuals risk their lives (though, not on the same level as soldiers). Such people could be policemen or firefighters; just possibilities to see if any of these groups would have similar dream content and concerns in their dreams.

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    2. I find this research interesting as well. But wonder if it differs with soldiers who are away on duty longer than others. I would think that aggression would be increased the longer they are away and that relationships would be more prominent when they are just recently sent overseas. Is that the case? Does dream interpretation among soldiers differ the longer they are away.

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  2. it is very interesting to have evidence on the continuity theory. I experience dreams that are directly related to my waking life some of the time and to see research on this relation is really intriguing. The fact that their relationships came up in their dreams was unexpected but at the same time makes a lot of sense because I'm sure their relationships while working were really important whether they realized that at the time or not. I can imagine this dream therapy being a good mechanism to cope for Soldiers returning from war.

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    1. Agreed. It's pretty cool to see a formally developed dream-analysis technique at work. Definitely better than unguided introspection, I think, especially when the things being dreamt about have immediate bearing on the dreamer's health.

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  3. I too also think it’s quite fascinating that more research is being done in regards to the continuity theory, because much like Michelle I see a reflection of my waking day life in some of my dreams. I also feel the same way as Spencer in that it makes sense that soldiers would have increased perceived levels of threat in both their waking day lives and in their dreams compared to the control group of similar aged males simply because of the severity of what they would have been exposed to during war. I also find it very interesting that soldiers’ relationships with comrades were reflected in their dreams although to me this was not very surprising since I’m sure that these relationships can be very significant to soldiers and therefore it would only make sense that they would dream about them. I also agree with Michelle in that TSM seems to be an effective therapeutic method of helping soldiers cope with life after war and with PTSD which has been shown to affect many returning soldiers.

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    1. This is very intriguing; the extent that the TSM can interpret in the soldiers dreams.
      I also find it very interesting that the relationships between the comrades and soldiers were so significant in the soldiers’ dreams; like Spencer, I never questioned or thought the findings would lead to this conclusion in my last post. However, it makes perfect sense that it was brought forward with the questions/insight in the TSM.
      As Paige has mentioned, my waking life events are shown very clearly throughout some my dreams. However, some of my dreams can make me very curious of where and why my subconscious has brought forward certain images/situations.

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  4. I found it very interesting to see this kind of evidence on the continuity theory. It is also very cool to so just how much TSM could help soldiers deal with their emotions in such a valid way. It did not really surprise me at all that soldiers have more perceived aggression in their dreams of their waking lives as everything that they see and experience must very much support this way of thinking. I never really thought about it but it makes sense that the soldiers relationships played such a large role in their dreams as when they are away on tour that is all they really have. As Paige said, TSM definitely seems like it would be a good way of helping soldiers with their PTSD that takes such a great toll on the lives of many returning soldiers.

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    1. I agree with what you said entirely and I think that if TSM is so beneficial, that it should be provided to all soldiers. Also it should be encouraged for soldiers to try it (though, they don't have to if they don't want to)

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    2. I agree that TSM therapy should be provided to all soldiers. Providing TSM To all soldiers post-war could be a great way to try and reduce all the PTSD-related incidents that occur (e.g. night terrors). I think some sort of therapeutic program should definitely be implemented to make use of the benefits of TSM.

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    3. I agree. I find it fascinating to see how dreams can be used for therapeutic use. If the TSM method is beneficial and helpful for soldiers, it can branch out and may be helpful to almost anyone who is willing to dig within themselves. I am very interested in where this research will lead and how it will positively influence the field of health. I wonder what kind of impact the dream therapies we are using in this class could have on all sorts of disorders/issues including PTSD, depression, OCD, anxiety or even something more extreme as schizophrenia. I think dreams could provide a new avenue, a new perspective, for working with people with these disorders--something more meaningful, more personal, and more spiritually healing.

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  5. I think it is great that research into dreams can be used on such a practical level. Obviously returning soldiers are going to be concerned about the content of their dreams, it must be relieving to know that there is a method like the TSM that can help them deal with their emotions and dreams. I, like many of the other people who have posted, find it fascinating that relationships with comrades were reflected in their dreams. Very interesting stuff!

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    1. I’d be interested in knowing if all soldiers are made aware of the TSM and its benefits. If studies have proven its effectiveness, one would think this method would be made easily accessible for them.

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  6. This is a very interesting study. As others have touched on, it seems logical that soldiers have more aggression in their dreams due to the nature of their experiences. Soldiers going to war have likely witnessed more violence than most of us have our entire lives. I find it fascinating that through understanding their dreams using TSM, soldiers are able to understand more of their past experiences. Through understanding, soldiers may begin their therapeutic journey to cope with the difficult experiences they have faced.

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  7. This is quite insightful and answers some of the predictions that the class made from the previous discussion. That being, that soldiers would have more dreams with threatening stimuli. However, I think it's interesting that both soldiers and male university students had insight. I figured soldiers would have more as a higher level of experience can be applied to them and scenarios that rely on more insight.
    It is ensuring though that this form of dream therapy can help soldiers deal with conflicts from their past and help them move on to a better life.

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    1. I agree with you Katie, I too find it nice to know that there was an actual study regarding soldiers and the TSM. Especially knowing that the majority of the classes predictions were correct. I also find it interesting that the TSM method was able to define relationships between these soldiers and their comrades, I never really thought of that the first time when speaking on the subject.

      Overall, it's good to know that soldiers are able learn from their dreams and be able to continue to grow throughout their lives. I feel that it gives them something positive to look forward to :)

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  8. I find it very interesting that dream analysis can be used practically to help people, especially people who have to deal with so much residual trauma, like soldiers. By using TSM and figuring out exactly what issues someone has to deal with, more effort can be dedicated to learning to cope with these particular thoughts. I think it's great that there is something that can be done to help individuals deal with such trauma, and help them live their lives more positively.

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    1. You bring up an important point about being able to help individuals through the use of TSM for individuals that may have had traumatic past experiences. This could almost be a form of therapy in which the soldiers might feel more comfortable deriving meaning from their dreams in this manner.

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  9. As being discussed above I found that this is a very interesting study, and am not surprised by the findings. It is nice to know that our predictions about how soldiers would have more aggressive dream was correct and am glad that there is research completed to back up this point. It is also nice to know that soldiers had realization about specific events from their past, through finding meaning in their dreams. Overall, I find it fascinating that people are using the TSM to find discovery and believe that people should try this method as it is supported through research.

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    1. My points were the same as Karen's! It's definitely an interesting research, not something you read/hear of everyday. The TSM method is definitely helpful for soldiers, as it helps them improve their overall quality of life. I hope to read/hear more about research on the TSM in the future.

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  10. I was also shocked at the validity of the TSM. I never knew it would be so effective for soldiers. That is great because now they can understand and reveal certain discoveries that appear in their dreams and why they act certain ways.

    This isn't something that I knew about before taking this course (TSM) but just like Karen Honeywell had stated, I also do beleive that this method should be supported through research as it has shown to measure what it is intended to.

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  11. When you say that TSM was effective in revealing the meaing of the dream, does that suggest that knowing the meaning enables better treatment for the soldier?
    Also, what specific relationships with their comerades are being referred to? Are they with fallen soldiers, those they were delpoyed with, or those who shared similar experiences during a rotation?

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  12. I’m not at all surprised that TSM was effective for helping soldiers reveal what their dreams mean. It also doesn’t surprise me that soldiers had more aggression and perceived threat in their dreams compared to male university students. If you think about it, these soldiers have been through experiences that would have high aggression and threats. I’m sure most male university students wouldn’t have experiences like this. As I said in the last blog topic, my brother is a soldier in the Canadian Army and he and some of his friends have had many restless nights and very intense dreams after coming home from Afghanistan. Because military mentality makes these men believe they have to act tough all of the time, many soldiers will not seek help to deal with the stress and anxiety of what they experienced overseas. This is where dream interpretation could help them identify how they are feeling in their waking life. I think it’s great that there was discovery for the soldiers because Im sure this made them aware of some of the anxiety and stress that they may have been unaware of, and perhaps this lead them to getting some professional help.

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  13. I find it very interesting that you studied this topic and found supportive evidence for some of the predictions that we made earlier. It makes sense to me that soldiers would experience more aggression than students in general but especially in their dreams. I also think it is great that both students and soldiers found insight and meaning in their dream analysis using the TSM. This study definitely helps to support the suggestion that TSM is an effective method to draw conclusions from your dreams in regards to waking day events. I did not consider that relationships might factor into this study but it is certainly an interesting factor to consider and ponder.

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  14. I find it interesting that the soldiers would dream of their comrades. When I was blogging last week I did not think about that but it does make sense. In relation to what they experince over there it makes sense that they would have more aggressive dreams as well as feel threatened in their dreams. With them having these types of dreams it makes sense that they could develop disorders like PTSD.

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  15. I find it understandable that soldiers were able to learn about their relationships, including the relationships with their comrades, using the TSM method, because sometimes in war, that’s the only relationships they will have. Their comrades become more like family and after being around them all the time, it doesn’t surprise me that they end up in the dreamer’s dreams. I do not know what it is like to be in war, but I can imagine that some of the bonds formed relationship-wise can be unclear. We are with our families and friends and tell them we love them; the strength of our relationships with our close ones are normally clear to us. I think during war, relationships can build in more complicated ways because the focus is on the task at hand or war itself. Soldiers may not get to acknowledge their friendships or the feelings/bonds they have shared until after they are out of the war zone—just like many other emotions. Maybe only then can their mind (and dreams) place all the pieces together which includes the meaning of their relationships.

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    1. I absolutely agree that a soldier's comrades would become like family in a war environment. Especially in this situation where you are likely to have no friends and family of your own, it is likely for you bond with the people around you who share the same goals and experiences. After spending a lot of time with the same group of people, relationships develop and these experiences become present in our dreams.

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  16. That's very interesting Allyson and TSM is a very interesting method, I found it very reliable even when we did our first assignment. I'm not surprised that the soliders have dreams of their comrades because I myself have dreams of my waking day events, so it makes sense that the soliders will, especially when they are going throught such stress.

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  17. I am not surprised that soldiers had more aggression and perceived threat in their dreams in comparison to male university students. It is apparent that our dreams reflect our daily lives in terms of our thoughts, feelings, experiences, as well as visual imagery. Soldiers are likely to spend much time thinking about death and the possibility of dying every single day, and reflect on their distressing days each night before falling asleep. I would not imagine that university males would feel threatened on a day-to-day basis, therefore having less perceived threat in their dreams. I would be interested to learn more about the relationship aspect of the soldier’s dreams, how they were portrayed and perceived. I expected that TSM would be a good tool for soldiers and that discovery would be meaningful to both soldiers and male civilians, just from my experience with TSM thus far. I am very interested to learn about other methods and use them in our future labs for the course.

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  18. Like everyone mentioned in the posts above, I find this research very interesting! Not something we hear and read about everyday. This research clearly shows that our life experiences influences our dreams contexts. It's hardly surprising at all that soldiers' dreams contain more aggression and threats when compared to university males, given what they have gone through being soldiers. It's great to know as well that the TSM benefits soldiers by helping them discover meaning to their dreams, and helping them lead a normal life. I also find it interesting that soldiers have dreams of their comrades. Perhaps it's because for a certain period of time, their comrades are the closest friend(s) they have around them. Being apart from their families and friends is emotionally difficult for soldiers, their comrades would be the people they turn too while away. Thus, it's not surprising for them to dream of their comrades. I hope to read and hear more of research such as this.

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  19. Daiana Locatelli 0405414October 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Dream content and discovery for the dreams of soldiers after the war most likely would contain images of destruction and the need for survival. This would of course support the continuity hypothesis discussed in the lecture, that soldier survivors would probably still have a fear of attack in their waking lives. Thinking about death, fear and aggression from their past in their waking life would leek into the soldiers dreaming life causing a relationship, between discovering how their emotions in their waking day life are expressed through their dreams. This would be very important to the continuity hypothesis because we can get a clear indication of how strongly waking day emotions are connected and expressed through out ones dream.

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  20. I agree in saying that the benefits of TSM should not benefit only soldiers, but a wide range of people in different occupations, in different cultures with diverse mental statuses and illnesses. There is so much focus in present day treatment of psychopathology on medications, talk therapies, cognitive behavioural therapies and the like that the TSM could provide a fresh approach, if used alone or perhaps in combination with those other methods. Through TSM, one can adopt a new avenue of discovery in the realm of health that could alleviate symptoms of distress. If male soldiers found it to be helpful in sorting out their traumatic imagery, perhaps the negative images involved with anxiety, depressive and psychotic disorders can be treated this way. TSM can reveal elements of conflict within these disorders and, at the least, serve to accompany some other form of treatment.

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    1. I completely agree with what you have said, if it is possible for the TSM to help soldiers that are returning from war and have such disorders as PTSD, then TSM could probably help a lot of different people with cognitive or aggressive disorders. It would definitely be a good strategy to at least try as opposed to relying solely on medications and such or as you have mentioned use the method in combination with other types of therapy.

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  21. Interesting! It's definitely interesting to see TSM with results on something that we've predicted/talked about previously. It definitely makes sense that soldiers have more aggressive dreams than what male students have. Although, I find it very interesting that you were able to find connections with the relationships they had with the comrades as it's not something I would have predicted. I agree with Katie Saunders that it would be interesting to compare the dreams of soldiers to those that also experience a risked lifestyle.

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  22. It is neat to see that insight can be achieved using the TSM method of dream interpretation, especially with soldiers. These individuals experience a level of stress/fear/anxiety that I can't imagine, and they need to find a way to work through it when they come home.
    The continuity hypothesis encompasses the idea that your waking experiences are reflected in your dreams, which is shown to be quite evident in the dreams of soldiers. In understanding their feelings of agression and their loyalty among their comrades they can gain waking insight into their life, but also gain understanding on how their life as a soldier and on duty has changed them.

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  23. As well as how great it is, that TSM is so effective in discovery, comparably between male students and soldiers, its amazing how well it can help soldiers decipher the meaning of their dreams. This is a great way to allow soldiers to deal with the traumas they`ve been through. In general help every day people with the stresses in their lives.

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    1. I agree with Jill in that if it's something that is helpful, perhaps it should be used in therapy to help the average person deal with stress. Or is it already being employed in such a fashion?

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  24. This is interesting and shows how effective the TSM method can be. The TSM method is very effective in helping the soldiers identify what their dreams mean which may show what can be effecting their waking lives. The soldiers may have dreams from the war or traumatic times that are affecting their waking lives without them even knowing.

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  25. Cool…

    That all makes sense. I don’t really know what else to say that hasn’t already been said…

    I find it especially interesting that our dreams are so heavily influenced and relevant to our waking lives. Before taking this class I would have never have thought that; although I never really thought about dreams as being meaningful before taking this class. I used to put ‘dream interpretation/discovery’ up alongside the categories of ‘astrology’, ‘psychic readings’, ‘telepathy’, ‘horoscopes’ and other things of the such; the sort of stuff that old people and maybe my mom might be interested in, but never related to reality or our unconscious minds and whatever. I never really took dreams seriously. I thought they were more or less just a bunch of mismatched and jumbled but sometimes familiar mental images movies and sounds that were nothing more than ‘dreamscapes’ or nighttime fantasies. I never tried to interpret them. After taking this course, it’s amazing to see just how much insight dreams can actually provide for you in your waking life…

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  26. Unlike Jesse, I have always thought that there is more to our dreams than what appears on the surface. However, through purely unguided introspection I usually formed connections to very recent events in my waking life. Using the TSM method for Lab #1 allowed me to link my dream to past experiences and really see how events from past years and even my childhood are still affecting my thoughts, emotions, and dreams today. The ability for the TSM method to show us these connections to the past is why I think it is a particularly useful method for soldiers who have experienced the horrors of war. These soldiers likely experience various troublesome emotions upon returning home such as fear, anxiety, confusion, and depression.Many of these soldiers may try to repress these emotions in their waking life but they will undoubtedly manifest in their dreams to some degree. The TSM Method can help them link these emotions to specific events that occurred in the war and hopefully in acknowledging these connections, they can begin to work through these emotions in a healthy and natural way.

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    1. It's nice to hear of more dream studies conducted beyond those in our readings thus far! Especially relevant to last week's blog discussion.

      I believe this study confirmed the beliefs of most students in regards to the TSM's effectiveness for all parties involved.

      Something that is worth noting, and perhaps not-so obvious, was Allyson Dale's finding about discovery in regards to relationships developed by soldiers. I would have hypothesized that war veterans' dreams would revolve around relationships with family, friends, and significant others back home. Of course this would occur if prevalent in the waking lives of soldiers; however, I think the mention of comrades speaks to something else. To experience such tragic events, the immediate support system would be those undergoing war alongside a soldier. It's a relationship like no other, as those at home cannot fathom what one experiences in an atmosphere as such.

      As Jessica noted, I believe that connecting all emotions to the events of war (as well as the aftermath) is extremely healthy and healing. The TSM method of interpretation continues to impress me in it's validity.

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  27. I found it interesting that the soldiers’ relationships with their comrades were so prominent in their dreams. I figured that their dreams would consist of a lot of violence, so it is good to know that they were able to gain such valuable insight.

    The TSM method was very accurate when I used it for Lab #1. I think that the TSM would be very beneficial for soldiers because, as Jessica pointed out, they will be experiencing many different emotions. These feelings would be very overwhelming, and the TSM could help them make sense of these emotions, and cope with the memories of war.

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    1. I found the prominence of relationships interesting as well. Having comrades during war and the relationships they encountered certainly governed day to day imagery for a soldier, so I am not surprised that this was revealed through TSM. One often overlooks that during times of war, friendships are made and strengthened, and that imagery does not solely revolve around traumatic experiences. I am glad that the TSM was able to make this salient to the soldiers.

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  28. Like most of the others, I found it to be especially interesting that the relationships of the comrades would play such a big role in TSM as well as the discovery process. But then when you think about it more deeply all a soldier really has when they are at war is their comrades.

    I also find it logical that they would feel aggression and a sense of threat after the situations that they have been in as well as seen while away at war.

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  29. What interested me what how their dreams can influence their relationships with their comrades. As expected from TSM they did make a discovery from their dreams to waking life

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  30. If male soldiers where to experience aggression greater in magnitude and higher in frequency than male university students, and dream meanings were discovered in aggressive acts, then it would be no stretch of the imagination that mortality may be overrepresented in dream imagery, symbolism, or theme because aggression upon oneself or against another may be cause of death. Would relationships with comrades and the risk entailed by the job contribute to dreams of funerals, losses of loved ones, or self-destruction by else or one's own? Or would they be positive, or neutral in emotion?

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  31. It is a positive aspect that TSM is helpful for soldiers. Based on their experiences from the war I think TSM is helpful to understand what soldiers perceive aggression and threat. I think it is important for them to understand why they have this aggression and why they feel threat. If this understand this through their dreams, it can be helpful for them to deal with these situation in everyday life. Through these dreams, I think it is important for soldiers to understand the relationships they had with their comrades and how it made them as a person in the present time. I think analyzing these relationships will help them to develop more positive relationships with other individuals through daily encounters and interactions.

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  32. I think it is amazing that there is a method for soldiers to identify the significance of their dreams, and that TSM worked for them. I think that the dreams of soldiers must be extremely different than people with daily stresses. I think that even that simple fact of being in a war type environment is difficult for anyone. I know that personally I don't think I would be able to be a soldier, so i can only imagine the type emotions and trauma soldiers undergo, is much different than most people. In saying this, the symbolism in their dreams would most likely be quite abstract, and I think it is important for soldiers to understand their dreams, and to fully comprehend the type of stress they are undergoing. I think soldiers understanding their dreams could be really revolutionary in terms of them dealing with PTSD. It is often said that soldiers don't ever recover fully after they go to war, maybe interpreting dreams could be a helpful tool in aiding their recovery.

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  33. Allyson's findings further support the effectiveness and reliability of TSM dream interpretation. As stated above and throughout these blog postings, it is generally agreed upon that our dreams are a direct reflection of our conscious and unconscious emotions, desires, and experiences. Having the ability to analyze dream images in an easy and effective manner can assist in making dream interpretation a more widely utilized therapy tool. I believe Allyson's findings surrounding soldiers is especially supportive of this theory. Soldiers are forced to adapt to normal society after experiencing extremely traumatic and devastating events. Most young men show extreme difficultly in returning to their everyday lives and are tormented by their involvement in battle. Many cannot determine exactly what events or experiences are causing them the most significant trauma. The analysis of dreams can allow individuals to gain a better understanding of their emotions and what specific events or circumstances are causing their psychological stress. As supported by Allyson's research, TSM has shown to lead to discovery in both male soldiers and civilians. Utilizing the effectiveness of TSM and other dream interpretation models can improve the therapeutic process as a whole.

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  34. Very interesting! I wonder how this could be used as part of a broader therapeutic (CBT, EMDR, etc) method to alleviate PTSD and help reprocess traumatic memories into regular episodic memories without the devastating emotional punch.

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    1. I wonder the same thing! I wrote in one of my earlier blogs that I believe that dreams could serve as therapy; helping all sorts of ailments, both physical and mental. If dreams are helping everyone including soldiers sort through strong emotions, then I wonder what this means in terms of helping people physically. For example, It seems quite possible that dream analysis can quite possibly help soldiers with PTS (mental), then I wonder if the mental benefits of dream interpretation can help those with physical ailments; such as cancer patients. Professor DeCicco studied benefits of dreaming for cancer patients, and stated that dreams can help with health issues…now I’m not sure exactly if she was referring to mental issues, but I do believe that dream interpretation could help with physical health issues as well. If dreams can help us sort through stressful emotions, and stress affects us physically, then maybe dreams can help us physically as well; sort of like psychoneuroimmunology.

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  35. I think the subjects of this study would make for a very interesting study! When taking into consideration some of the strong emotions that soldiers face as well as psychological disorders resulting from their experience, it would be a clear way to determine the altitude of power that dream analysis can provide (or not provide).
    I’m pleased to hear that this study revealed that dream analysis served as a powerful tool in assisting soldiers establish what their dreams meant to them; I believe that this would help them sort through some of their emotions, and anxieties helping to better cope with their issues.
    I’m not surprised that the soldiers emotions differed greatly compared to the control group. As soldiers face a very intense atmosphere (which most of us can’t begin to imagine), they also face intense emotions as a result of their environment. I found it interesting that the soldier’s dreams in the study displayed much more aggression and perceived threat in their dreams when compared to the control group…both emotion and experience are painted pretty clearly in one’s dreams – especially when analyzed and in turn interpreted properly. Fascinating. As I mentioned earlier in one of my posts, the dreams of male soldiers returning from war would relate to the extremities of their experiences, and I really do believe that this happens for a reason.
    Freud displayed his dream beliefs in “The Interpretation of Dreams.” He wrote that dreams were largely symbolic suppressed wishes that piled up in our unconscious mind, and I think he was onto something…EEG monitoring brain activity shows that some of our brain activity when sleeping is much like our brain activity when we’re awake, so it is possible for us to have tremendously life-like, vivid dreams; paradoxical sleep provides for emotionally intense dreams. This all can’t be without reason. I believe that our brains are this busy at work when we’re sleeping in order to make important connections to our waking day life…
    Completely makes sense that soldiers learned about specific events relating to their tour from aggressive acts in their dreams.
    Although I don’t believe that all dreams are visualized for a reason, I do believe that the ones that stand out most definitely carry importance. Outside of our paradoxical sleep (or REM sleep), we do have dreams that don’t carry much of a storyline or meaning, but I think that even those dreams are important because we are reliving day to day life activities (like driving a car), so in a way, it’s almost like we are getting practice at these things while dreaming – I’m not certain of this, but I would be interested to further investigate!

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