Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why would dream therapy be important to women with breast cancer?

Breast cancer is an illness that often is accompanied by repeated nightmares or negative dream imagery. This in itself is a symptom that should not be ignored but rather, treated along with other treatment modalities for the illness. A study by DeCicco and colleagues found that women with breast cancer in treatment found working with their dreams particualarly helpful in that they found deep meaning in their imagery which directly related to waking day life. For example, they could find meaning in their treatments and in their recovery process. The meaning they found went beyond the illness itself and into other areas of their lives such as their waking day relationships. Given the findings from this study, what important avenues should this research now take in order to help other people suffering from negative dreams or nightmares? How should this research be conducted?

69 comments:

  1. Some important avenues for this research would be having the study group start personal dream journal; this will allow the dreamer to write out their negative dreams or nightmares in order to release some of the psychological distress upon waking from the negative dream.
    The study groups of women who have breast cancer or another form of cancer with either gender could then be divided in two groups; one group recording their dreams for a certain time frame while the other group will record their negative dreams for a longer time span than group 1.
    It would be interesting to see if during the course of therapy, time and health status to see if the negative dreams increased or decreased. It would also be beneficial to see if the dream imagery continued to change in regards to other areas in the dreamers waking life relationships.

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  2. It would be interesting to have the study group perform both self-guided and guided dream techniques while recording their discoveries and data. By having self-guided analyses they can find meaning themselves which may help with acceptance for their diagnosis and prognosis. But also given the nature of the disease and negative connotations it seems logical that these women should also have guided dream analyses as part of their treatment for negative dreams.
    I also think it would be interesting and beneficial to investigate the differences between dream content and prognis given to the patient. This could be done through self-guided and guided dream techniques over a given period of time.Other factors such as age and social demographics could be confounding variables but a questionnaire could help identify and measure other variables which may impact their dreams.

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    1. I like your idea about a questionnaire, it is the easiest way to gain multiple information from one patient, and that would also make comparing their answers easier and more efficient.

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  3. I think it would be important to incorporate dream interpretation techniques into the treatment of people with breast cancer or other illnesses that also tend to be accompanied by nightmares. I think it would be interesting to see if self guided or therapist guided techniques have the greatest effect on these patients. Using these kind of techniques to find deeper meaning in their dreams could have a great effect on their treatment progress and overall happiness in waking life. It could also help the patient to find an acceptance or fighting will to keep them going in their battle. Knowing that nightmares are one of the side effects of cancer i think it is important to make these strategies available to the patients.
    I also think that it would be interesting and valuable to see if there is any differences with age, content of the dream or length in time the patient has been fighting the illness for would have an effect on the dreams or dream interpretation.

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    1. I like that you mention the need for acceptance and fighting will. I think struggling with nightmares on top of physical symptoms of cancer would probably take a toll on both these things, and I agree that dream interpretation could help alleviate some of the negative consequences of nightmares.

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  4. Because interpreting nightmares can help people with cancer find meaning in their illness and recovery process I think it is reasonable to assume that interpreting nightmares could help other people find meaning in their lives as well. I often have nightmares and brush them off because they seem to have no relevant connections to my waking life. However, now I will not be so quick to do this because perhaps if I took the time to interpret my nightmares I would find that they could help me work through waking life problems. I think that nightmare research should look at other illnesses besides cancer and see if this trend is true for all illnesses. I also think that the research should not just focus on physical illnesses, but psychological illnesses as well such as depression. Perhaps dream therapy could help all sorts of people work through waking day problems such as alcoholism, eating disorders etc. The possibilities are endless.
    This research could be conducted by comparing the recovery attitudes of different individuals with the same illness where one group undergoes dream therapy and the other group does not. A longitudinal study could also be done where one individual's attitudes about recovery are assessed before and after dream therapy.

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    1. I have never thought about interpreting my nightmares into a meaning for my waking life. Reading your post makes me rethink this and I might try it in the future for my next nightmare. I do believe that dreams are a message from your subconsious so it makes sense that a nightmare would be as well.

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  5. These findings tell us that other people suffering from negative dreams or nightmares can use dream interpretation to find discovery and understand what aspects of their lives are causing the negative imagery. I think that in this case, the self-guided method versus therapist-guided method issue could be tested. Research should teach a group of participants suffering from nightmares how to use self-gudied methods, such as the Storytelling method, and investigate whether or not the participants are able to discover what is causing the nightmares, while another group could undergo therapist-guided interpretation. It would be interesting to see if one group had more success in figuring out the cause of negative imagery than the other, and if one group ended up being more successful in treating the issue and stopping the nightmares.
    Considering that many gender differences in dream content have been found, it would also be interesting to see if one gender would be more successful than the other in finding discovery and linking the nightmares to a particular domain of their life.

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  6. They should look at other illnesses. If it seems to help with breast cancer why not try other forms of cancer. It's Movember so why not work on prostate cancer (1 in 8 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer while 1 in 9 women are diagnosed with breast cancer) as it is every bit as common, if not more, than breast cancer. Perhaps incorporate a study on those who suffer from PTSD, such as sexual assault victims, police, fire, or military personal.
    Set up a large trial, with the usual control group (double blind), and study it scientifically. They could use guided and self-guided treatments. That way if there is empirical evidence supporting the benefits it would be easier to get the general medical community (and the government for funding) to jump on board.
    At the end of the day if it helps people deal with their illness, they should have no problem incorporating it.

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    1. I absolutely agree with your idea of studying other illnesses! I also think that by studying male patients' nightmares, research could benefit from investigating gender differences.

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    2. I agree that this should absolutely be studied with other illnesses. Dream research has helped women with breast cancer reach discovery, so why not a man with prostate cancer? I'm very surprised at the scarcity of dream research because I feel that this could be a very useful tool in the medical world.

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  7. It’s not surprising that dream interpretation helped women with breast cancer understand their dreams and find deeper meaning which related to their waking day life, as it has also helped soldiers who struggled with PTSD after coming back from war. I think this could be useful for many different groups of people who are suffering from negative dreams or nightmares. For example, it would be beneficial to help other people who are battling all different kinds of cancer to find meaning in their dreams. Perhaps they are scared about battling the cancer, or what will happen if they get sicker, or perhaps how others will treat them once they find out about the diagnosis.

    I think dream interpretation might be useful for abuse victims as well. As seen with soldiers with PTSD, abuse victims might exhibit similar symptoms and they could have some very emotional and negative dreams which after finding meaning and interpreting them, might help them move past the abuse. I’m sure even young children who have nightmares have them for a reason – because they are worried or anxious about something, so perhaps some dream interpretation could be used on children so that they can manifest these worries or anxieties. Sometimes people become anxious for no reason that they are aware of...dream interpretation could help people understand or find out what they are worried or anxious about.

    I think research like this needs to be conducted carefully. Sometimes finding meaning can be difficult for people, especially when they try so hard to repress things. If a researcher is looking at how dream interpretation benefits different cancer patients, they could definitely go to the hospital to recruit patients, but I think it is also a good idea to talk to medical professionals and get them to suggest that the patient participates. Sometimes patients can struggle with their situation and may not be willing to participate, but many patients use the advice their doctors give them. Either way, the researchers need to be sensitive to each person’s situation, whether they are battling cancer, have been abused, or are a child. Participants should be told many times over that they can withdraw at any time. Sometimes finding meaning can be more devastating than the nightmares and we certainly wouldn’t want to cause more harm than good.

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    1. I never thought about how beneficial this would be for abuse victims but I think this would be very helpful. I think research really needs to be done so that therapists can see how much it will help their patients and begin to implement it.
      I also never thought about how harmful it could be to use participants who are trying very hard to repress something and how damaging this could be. I think your post was very insightful.

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  8. how they should help is by helping people relate those dreams to the waking life and help them by discovering solutions to the problems that they encounter with cancer, so they should look into the positive side and think about they they can be cured. how they should do further research is by conducting the research on patients that have cancer on stages 1 and 2 and make them realize that there can be hope of survival and then see if they have positive dreams and how this helps them out with their treatments and their outlook in life

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    1. I think that doing this can help teach them more about their condition and that (like you said) they can survive. Sure their appearance may look different but that;s just a small roadblock and that there is much more to look forward to. I also believe studying different types of cancer should be studied in this scenario, what about incurable cancers? Would this therapy help relieve these people and help them accept their fate? Could these dreams instruct people on what types of help would be beneficial to them? I really hope to see further studies on this, not only with cancer but other illnesses too.

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  9. Dream study can be beneficial to many groups of people, the ill, suffering from cancer, anxiety issues, victims of abuse, war veterans, students, etc. By studying our dreams and discussing the feelings and experiences we have in our dreams can help us face issues and situations in our waking day life.
    The further study of dreams in specific groups can give us ways to help patients or people to better understand their situation, how to deal with issues in their lives, present, past, or future, as well as to have a better sense of individuality, confidence and positivity in their waking day lives. This data could be collected and studied to better understand and support people through dream therapy and understanding that dreams are telling us details that should not be ignored, but instead explored.

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    1. I like how you mentioned confidence. What a person dreams about can really influence their confidence, including a nightmare. The worse the nightmare the less self confidence they can have.

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    2. Alisha, you should look up Image Rehearsal Therapy. It involves replacing your nightmare with a less distressing dream, which can lead to an increased ability to deal with the stressors of waking life. The researchers feel nightmares can be a learned behaviour, so by replacing the dream you are increasing your confidence of dealing with the dream, stress, PTSD, etc...you begin to cope better. At least that's what the researchers say and some studies have demonstrated.

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  10. Daiana Locatelli 0405414November 8, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    I definitely believe that studying the dreams of those with breast cancer is very beneficial to help them cope with the waking day distress of breast cancer. One avenue that can be used to guide in realization could be keeping a dream journal. Perhaps keeping track of the intensity of the dreams or the duration of how long the nightmares have gone on for would help.

    Also another important avenue to consider, is if all women who have breast cancer experience the save level of nightmares? Why are some more intense then others? Could this depend on the severity of the breast cancer, for example someone who was caught in the first stage and has a very good chance of survival versus a women who has breast cancer in the third stage, and only chemo can prolong their lives but not save their lives.

    Overall I would consider research on this topic very important for women who have breast cancer, or even other cancers to help them feel less afraid of their dreams if they have someone who can be help to interpret them. This may help their mental state and coping during their waking lives.

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  11. Many people do not pay attention to their dreams or they think that dreams have no meaning. Since this is common research could be done to figure out why, and to establish a way to teach people that dreams can hold meaning and can unlock ideas to help the patients cope. There are already several simple dream interpretation techniques so they can be tested along side the "new" way of teaching people about dreams. Once a simple course or information package is put together, getting a random sample together to test the effectiveness of both the teaching and interpretation aspects of the package would be easy.

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    1. I think suing the media (other than for artistic expression of dreams) may benefit in making people aware of the benefit of dreams. I think if documentaries or insiders reports on how dreams can benefit overall lifestyle may help persuade people to think that dream are not just tricks of the mind or simple stories.

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    2. Whoops I meant *using the media

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  12. I think that if dream interpretation for nightmares can be beneficial for breast cancer patients, it may be beneficial for other illnesses too both physical and mental. I also believe that forms of therapy paired with therapist-guided interpretation may differ amongst various conditions though. For example, I imagine that for PTSD patients, they may benefit greatly from systematic desensitization and therapist-guided dream interpretation. Rather than make them confront their nightmare right away (which may cause more stress) they are gradually moved along the events. They move further the more comfortable and relaxed the patient becomes as they desensitize to the events since the dream may act as a portal into the past and to the event. Used in combination the person may not be afraid of similar events to the traumatic one and understand (through their dreams) what can be done about it.
    With a different condition, maybe depression, a different form of therapy could be paired with therapist-guided dream interpretation. I think the therapy currently involved with the patient and the use of dream interpretation may lead to improving the therapy already received. The dreams may provide suggestions as to what works and what does not, it may suggest that medications are not beneficial to the patient. The list goes on in my opinion.
    The results of the study provided do show how beneficial dreams can be but I think it should be expanded onto other illnesses to see if it still is of benefit. However, I do think such findings suggest that this type of therapy (dream interpretation) can allow patients to see their illness as just a way of life and not a fault. It may help them understand their condition on a more personal level, and realize not to be afraid. I really hope to see more on this but with other health conditions.

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    1. I believe systematic desensitization would be very beneficial in dream interpretation. Participants may be hesitant to participate in dream analysis and discovery if they are asked to interpret their painful dream content immediately. Participants could begin the process by journaling about their dreams. Through the help of therapists and over time, participants may be willing and ready to explore their dream content in more depth to make meaningful discoveries. Therapists may also act as a support when participants are analyzing dreams that are highly negative in content.

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  13. Important avenues that research should take regarding negative dreams or nightmares can consit of recording these dreams and going into therapy sessions to discuss them. Writing them down will allow the person to remember as much detail of their dream as possible and this will allow for further advancement in the therapy sessions.

    Therapy will give the people an ability to talk about their terrors with the benefit of overcoming them.

    This research should be conducted by putting different patients into groups and giving them a different task for comparison. For example one group might go to therapy with no dreams written down and the other will write their dreams. This way the research can be reviewed and the more successful group will be the one that gets used.

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    1. I like your idea of having patients into groups and dividing tasks among them. I also think that the idea of focus group therapy would benefit members of the group. Not only will they be able to share their dreams and insights, other members of the group will also be able to assist in the dream interpretation and perhaps help achieve discovery. Most importantly, focus group therapies is a great method of providing support for individuals by reminding them that they are not alone suffering from their illness and nightmares.

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  14. In DecCicco et al. (2010), participants were able to be optimistic about their diagnosis and spend time discovering the meaning to their mind, body, and soul. Individuals suffering from negative dream imagery may then better face issues such as fear and death if meaning were to occur. Using the results from researchers such as DeCicco et al. could greatly influence the approach to helping individuals suffering from negative dream imagery. Rather than seeing these dreams as something negative and something that must be solved, they can be critically evaluated and used as a means of recovery. This work should be expanded to other participants such as those suffering from other chronic diseases (ex- diabetes) or those suffering from PTSD. Participants should be encouraged to continue dream discovery throughout their entire illness (which often is a long journey). Regular journaling, and open discussions with others may lead to further discovery and meaning. Often negative dream content is not shared due to fears of facing difficult aspects or meanings related to the individuals waking life. If individuals were made aware of the benefits through using discoveries, they may be more apt to engage in the discovery process.

    Research could be conducted by using focus groups where participants are able to share their discoveries with one another. Researchers would analysis material from focus group discussions and participant’s journals. Local hospitals and clinics could be used to find a greater number of participants suffering from breast cancer to further expand the above results and to examine the dreams of new participants with other illnesses. Further, a control group should also be used for comparison purposes. Control groups may be individuals not suffering from an illness. Though not suffering from an illness, these participants may still experience nightmares and may demonstrate dream imagery that is meaningful towards their waking life. Future researchers should focus on ways in which these discoveries can help individuals with every day distress. Counseling therapists could then apply this to their therapies to further help individuals deal with waking day distress. If the benefits of dream discovery are evident after further studies, researchers may consider trying to make this dream discovery process part of the supportive care all patients receive during their hospital stay.

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  15. I like the idea mentioned before about the focus on prostate cancer, since it is the theme and interest for this month. With a reason to motivate dream interest, such as "Movember" and the awareness of the cancer, it would be a good opportunity to provide relevant research that the public would be interested in.

    It is interesting to hear that treatment for nightmares can help those with breast cancer cope with their illness and their waking life awareness. This opens a lot of doors for more specific branches of different cancers, and difference illnesses all together. Improvements on both the physical and mental aspects show that dream research is more than just to "fulfill curiosity" (as some might view the subject). It is shown useful to overcoming negative waking life events and illness by providing discovery, realization and awareness on a deeper level.

    The idea of a dream journal that was mentioned a couple times before would be a great way to later go back and connect the emotions that they were feeling in the dream, to what was/is going on at that time. It is always easier to analyze situations from a third party perspective, since we use more rational thinking when we are not emotionally involved in the moment. This way, individuals can write down their private thoughts about their dreams, as well as reviewing some of the dream realizations with a guided group of therapist. A way to conduct research to analyze the impact of emotion regulation is to let the individual ponder dream meaning on their own, and then whether in group meetings or personal one on one discussions, the therapist can measure how the patients/participants cope and how they've changed over a period of nightmare treatments.

    This area of research should continue to analyze how nightmare treatments can improve those with illnesses accompanied by negative emotions, such as depression, PTSD, various cancers and even mourning a loved one after death. With an emphasis on personal emotions and how they are impacted (increases or decreases in levels of anxiety or feelings of happiness), looking at what is causing certain feelings may provide more help than focusing on the content of the dream. The content of each dream in every individual dreamer is so personal; I wonder how it would limit the study of dreams since it varies on factors like personal experience and beliefs.

    I think it would be useful to have this research on nightmares and illnesses to be presented in helpful books (like the Giant Compass), only each book is specified towards a specific illness or life event. Methods that have been shown especially helpful for the specific illness as well as motivating success stories and positive facts would be a great read for those trying to overcome a hard time in their life.

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  16. Before this course, I had no idea of the power that working with dreams has to help eliminate negative content. It seems like almost every dream problem can be solved by working with them using researched method. That's why I don't find it surprising that deep meaning was found when women with breast cancer worked with their dreams. To further this research, I really like the idea that some people have brought up to examine men with prostate cancer.
    I have always believed that a positive attitude is the best way to overcome a disease. However I realize how hard it is to maintain a positive attitude when going through such a negative life event. I'm sure the negativity experienced in nightmares and dreams only amplifies the difficulty of maintaing a positive attitude. I think that if research expanded to other cancer types and patients, it may help them reduce the negative attitude patients feel and help their recovery.
    Scott brought up the idea of image rehearsal therapy. Writing my paper I found that this method was very effective in reducing nightmares in patients with PTSD. Perhaps this would also be an effective method with cancer patients.

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  17. I think it is important for those whom are ill with any disease, and cancer patients to work towards self and therapy guided dream analysis. During these times, especially with chemotherapy and all the radiation may cause some pretty terrifying nightmares, If these individuals were consistantly holding in these dreams and brushing them off as though they were normal this may put them farther back in the treatment process. The nightmares would be causing stress on stop of already a wekening immune system. Discussing, and working through their dreams would help the patient stay positive and find meaning within their lives in these troubling times. I think a dream journal is a great idea.
    I would be interesting to see how the dreams progress throughout various treatments, ie) chemo, the stronger the chemo would this effect the intensity of the dream?

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    1. Nikki, I think you raise a very important point about setback that could occur as a result of not dealing with negative dreams these patients may be having. The possible psychological impacts are often considered but how could more stress affect an already weakened immune system is a really important aspect to investigate.
      Also, if the patients are having bad nightmares, their sleep quality would probably diminish and as a result lack of or affected sleep could also potentially set them back in their treatment of cancer.

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  18. I can't help but relate to Jason. I too had no idea before this course that so much powerful things could be done with a dream. With that said, I also agree that it isn't surprising women with breast cancer found meaning when working and analyzing their dreams.

    I like the idea that was posted earlier that self-guided or guided dream therapy could also work to help individuals to cope with their nightmares. One could only imagine what some cancer patients may have to experience in their waking day life that may lead to certain nightmares.

    Expressing them through written content such as daily journals may help to cope, stay positive or deal with what they are experiencing. It may also help them to analyze their current relationships and possibly understand them more instead of just keeping it all bottled up inside.

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    1. I agree with both you and Jason. I did not realize how powerful interpretation of your dreams could be and I have found it very helpful. I think it is an obvious conclusion that it would help others going through hard times as well.

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  19. Tracey Carlow I also agree with focal groups being used and compared to one another,just like a group therapy sessions. I think this would be very useful because when someone else is going through the same emotions and life struggles it is easier to relate.

    Research should involve a control group that has breast cancer that is not expericing nightmares, compared to those who who are experiencing nightmares. Researches should then try to understand why these individuals that are experiencing nightmares, what may be triggering these dreams. The waking life activities of both the control and the experimental subjects can then be compared to also understand where these nightmares may stem from.

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    1. I completely agree with your idea about the control group that is having no nightmares versus the group that is suffering from nightmares. It would be very beneficial i think to find out what is causing these dreams and why they are worse in some patients then others. This could lead to further research that would hopefully be able to figure out a way to curb the nightmares at earlier stages.
      I also think that it would be interesting to see if the severity of the nightmares corresponds at all with the stages of which their cancer is at in their waking day life.

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  20. Cognitive behavioural treatment for those who experience nightmares has been researched to suggest that this form of intervention does provide positive results. Through this type of intervention a cancer patient would be able to self report their dream content which may be the cause of their sleep problems due to the onset of the nightmare. This intervention would be voluntarily and should not involve any coercion. Stressful situations and unavoidable life events are significantly correlated with nightmares. It is necessary that these sleep disturbances are alleviated so that the patient can receive the required rest required which assists in recovery.
    Through dream work a discovery can be made and peacefulness may be instilled where a clearer connection to oneself can be realized. This realization transforms into a desensitization of the negative imagery transmitted. By facing these fears within a nightmare a rescripting can be practiced where an individual makes a conscious effort to replace these thoughts with positive images. This empowerment over the nightmare imagery will lead the patient feeling less anxious and at ease prior to sleep which would in turn reduce the chance of a nightmare.
    The important avenues that this research can teach us is towards the awareness that skilled invention by qualified dream therapists should be available through health care expenditures. This would be for anyone who suffers nightmares whether this is due to the diagnosis of a terminal disease or a victim of a traumatic life event (PTSD), even if the person has high anxiety which usually leads to heart disease. This research should be conducted to further develop the studies on cognitive behavioural therapy, the use of meditative interventions to reduce anxiety and promote dream recall and the process of rescripting dream imagery to develop discovery. This can lead to more evidence to support the dream work hypothesis.

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  21. I find research about dreams relating to illness very interesting. It is not surprising that these women suffering from breast cancer experience a lot of negative dream imagery. Many of the treatment options and surgeries can be quite traumatic and difficult to deal with therefore these feelings are expressed in the patients dreams.
    I think that since this research was so successful, it would be very useful to do the same for other types of cancer as well to determine whether or not those patients had the same results. It would also prove very useful to ensure both men and women were included in the study and analyze the differences between the two outcomes.
    There are many other life threatening or chronic illnesses that would have a similar effect on the sufferer in terms of negative dream imagery and nightmares. A study dealing with other types of illnesses would prove very useful in determining the similarities and differences.

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    1. I agree with your point to add men into the study to ensure that this treatment works for them as well as women. Since the breast cancer dream therapy research only included women and negative dreams and nightmares usually effect both men and women relatively equally, ensuring both sexes were inluded would be necessary. Just like it is hard to determine a women's personality using personality tests designed for men, using a therapy tested on women on men could prove to be just as difficult.

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  22. A suggestion is for research in this particular area to conduct focus groups for people suffering from negative dreams/nightmares due to the illness. I think that focus groups is a great method for individuals to share their stories and socialize with other individuals who are also experiencing the same illness and negative dreams/nightmares. This allows for social interaction, which could then stimulate feelings of social supports from each other. I also think that by discussing these negative dreams/nightmares in a group setting, it decreases anxiety and stress that patient might experience just by knowing that they are not alone.

    Like previously mentioned in several posts above, I also think that dream journals are a good method of dream interpretation. By keeping a dream diary, it allows individuals to track for changes in their dream contents as well as to develop insights of their dreams.
    Another method in which this research could be conducted is by allowing individuals to adopt self-guided dream interpretation methods such as The Storytelling Method (TSM). I think this will provide an opportunity for individuals to analyze their own dreams and perhaps, successfully achieving discovery by themselves.

    As well, future research could benefit from including participants with different types of illnesses. It would be interesting to observe both men and women’s dream interpretations and how it could help along with their treatments.

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  23. Some important avenues for this particular research would be having a study group write their dreams out on a piece of paper. Doing this would allow the dreamer to let go of the nightmares and negative dreams that they are currently having. This research would be conducted by having one group write out their negative dreams and describing how they feel when they wake up and the other group would write out their dream as well, but not write out the emotions they feel when they wake up. I agree with other previous comments above with allowing the dreamer to record their dream.

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  24. I think an important avenue of research would be the use of dream therapy in conjunction with other therapy for those suffering from terminal/serious illnesses. Research should be conducted which looks at how dream therapy can be integrated into the treatment process in a way that will help those struggling to come to grips with a serious illness use dreams to do so. It is incredibly difficult to deal with an illness, and often people will suppress stress or other unpleasant emotions as a result. Dream therapy research focusing on using dreams to deal with this stress would be beneficial. By incorporating dream therapy into the treatment process, the therapist and the patient can have a better idea of what is bothering the patient, even if they are not consciously aware of it.

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  25. While conducting research on dream content and psychopathologies, I found that with the assumption of an accurate continuity theory that dream analysis should prove useful for clinical practice, and monitoring the successfulness of therapies whether pharmacological or psychological. If dreams were such sources of information and indication they may reveal, or act as concurrent validity for specific symptomologies. In one case of ADHD patients hyperactive movements were not found to be significantly more frequent compared with healthy controls, however, in one case of schizophrenia patients, the report of strangers in dreams was a significantly more frequent finding when compared with controls. In this way dream content analysis may be influential above and beyond identifying there is something wrong with this patient because there are occurrences of nightmares and negative dream imagery, which may be true, but is not well defined. In the near future, perhaps, diagnosis or prevention could be made through dream content analysis, given that the mind/body relationship is that kind of informer and the participant can be a provider of detail.

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  26. It is great to see the success and deeper meaning people are achieving in their lives when interpreting dreams; especially in this case of women with breast cancer. It sounds like this study was based on therapies that were therapist based. It would be an interesting avenue to investigate if self-guided dreaming interpretations would provide and achieve the same sort of deep meaning in their imagery and have it apply to not only their illness but to other waking day situations. If they were able to find successful self-guided interpretation techniques that provided such meaningful discovery, it would be more easily accessed for people who experience negative dreams and nightmares. We have seen during this course, meaningful dream discoveries by various focus groups. In any type of research, an additional way to expand your findings would be to include larger demographic groups; for instance, individuals who have been in car accidents, chronic back pain, people who have recurring nightmares, people living with diabetes etc.. This would help to provide further insight into how dream imagery plays a role in finding clarity and understanding the waking-day connections.

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  27. The research about women who have breast cancer benefiting from dream interpretation is not surprising. Dream interpretation also helped those suffering from PTSD. I think that there are some other avenues that research should now take would be to see if this works on people who have other illnesses that cause nightmares or negative dreams because then we can say if this research is helpful in general to everyone; which I think it can. For example, people with depression might also benefit from this or people with MS.

    I agree with the others who have posted that testing both self guided or therapist guided dream interpretations would be helpful to see which one works the best. I also think that group dream interpretations could be helpful because it would be a way of getting rid of the negative feelings left over from the dream. It would also be helpful because it would support the patient to know others are going through the same things.

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  28. I feel that the findings of this study should applied to other patients who suffer from different types of cancer. As well for people who may be terminally ill, introducing dream therapy into their lives during this process may help them to gain closure in the final days/months of their lives. Studies on how helpful their last few months have been by using dream therapy would be very interesting to see if it has helped these terminally ill individuals prepare themselves for death.

    The research could be conducted by starting out with therapist guided methods and then teaching the individuals to use self-guided methods and contact the therapist when necessary. I think that this would be a good area to apply dream therapy especially if it helped individuals who are near their death to prepare themselves by finding closure in their lives.

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  29. The findings of this study were very interesting. I believe dream therapy is useful for all types of illnesses. I wonder how many more cancer related dream studies have been done? I definitely think breast cancer patients would have very unique dreams related to their health issues. Dream therapy would uncover many aspects of the patients waking day life and would benefit them in coping with their illness. It may also aid in healing because once you uncover mysteries from the unconscious you can become aware of them and work on these to better your lifestyle and improve your health. Dream therapy doesn't seem to have a negative affect and I think everyone should take their dreams seriously because they are a powerful tool linked to the states of our mind and body.

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  30. It's not surprising to me that unpleasant dream imagery often accompanies the breast cancer illness. As Professor DeCicco noted, it most definitely should be attended to as the negative dreams can be considered contributors to the stress that overtakes a patient. With such an obstacle being imposed on an individual's life, it can be extremely difficult to remain hopeful. Worries such as impact on families and friends, treatment processes, financial stability, etc. are constantly being considered. I believe this would translate to dreaming. Personally, my aunt suffered from ovarian cancer at an extremely young age. A part of her struggle did include nightmares, and it was encouraged that she worked through the content for relief. By participating in self-guided therapy, she was able to alleviate some of this stress and direct her waking-day focus to remaining optimistic. After her passing, her teenagers continued the dream interpretation routine to work through some of the negative imagery they were experiencing. This subjective example also incorporates a lot of dreaming discussions we've had in the past. After the loss of a loved one, in this case at a young age to an illness like cancer, the unconscious messages were daunting. The interpretation techniques were able to relieve them of this upset. In future research, I think psychologists should consider the effectiveness of certain interpretation methods for particular instances in the lifespan (that may result in nightmares). Staying with the given example of women with breast cancer, I'd be interested in knowing if there was a consistent pattern in reaching insight. Since cancer and other serious illnesses have a great effect on not only the individual but also the loved ones, perhaps the projective method would be an interpretation method to consider. On the other hand, those who experience nightmares after instances of abuse, work/school related stress, or physical injuries may reach greater insight with a more introverted analysis of their negative imagery.

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  31. Negative dreams and nightmares can be traumatic for an individual especially when they are reoccuring. This can stem from recent events or more often from traumatic childhood experiences that are entering the repressed mind through dreams. These individuals need help and guidance that is beyond regular therapy and with the results of dream therapy with patients who suffer from breast cancer there is help for those suffering from nightmares and negative dreams. Dream therapy that allowed breast cancer patients deal with not only there present ailment but issues within their daily life could benefit those suffering from negative dreams and nightmares in the same way. Those individuals could begin to explore reasons as to why they may be having these dreams and potentially isolate what is causing the dreams in order to begin to deal with these issues.
    This research could be conducted by having patients who are suffering from negative dreams or nightmares begin treatment sessions in the same fashion as those who had breast cancer. By implementing the same method it is possible to see the range of effects of the similar treatment and if dream therapy could be useful to those with negative dreams and nightmares.

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  32. I believe that individuals suffering from negative dreams or nightmares could benefit from this research. Like women with breast cancer, it would be beneficial for those who suffer from negative dreams or nightmares to find meaning in their dream imagery that can be related to their waking lives. If a dreamer is able to identify where the negative imagery is coming from in their waking lives, they may be able to eliminate this imagery from their dreams.

    I believe that the research should focus on dream journals to ensure that dreams are recorded immediately after waking. Questionnaire approaches are often used; however it is difficult for participants to accurately remember dreams days and sometimes months after the experience. Dream journals also include feelings and emotions that can’t always be accurately captured in questionnaires. Researchers should also be cautious of their sample, in terms or size, age distribution, gender, and culture. Expanding this research into other areas of the medical world could prove to be very beneficial for both patients and health professionals in the future.

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  33. This research could help individuals with negative dreams or nightmares. The imagery would detect where the fear is coming from through that individuals everday lives. Understanding where the fear comes from will help to developing the coping process. The negative imagery will be able to be viewed as positive as the individual will be able to grow from the experience.

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    1. I agree with the points that you have made and I think that it is really important to find what is causing the nightmare or the negative dream imagery. I think it is important for the individual to find what works best for them to find meaning in their dream whether it is on their own with a self guided method or with help using the therapist guided method.

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  34. This research shows a great understanding in nightmares and can open some great avenues for further research. This research open avenues for all nightmare suffers to find meaning in their dreams and from their dreams about their waking life and it was helpful in their treatment. This opens avenues for people to create detailed dream journals to help them find the meaning in their nightmares. This opens avenues for individuals to either do a self-guided method or if they would like work with a therapist to find meaning to their dreams. I think that a great way to conduct this research would be to compare the self guided method to the therapist guided method to see if there were any differences between these methods. Another way to conduct this research would be to compare nightmare suffers from a traumatic event and those either with life long night mares or those with nightmares because of breast and see if there is any differences in nightmares and comparing the self guided and the therapist guided method.

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  35. I definitely agree with many of the previous posts suggesting that a study group be formed and include both methods of self guided and guided interpretation as this seems like it would be very beneficial to the overall recovery of the patient. I also agree that it would be very interesting to see if this therapy would be as beneficial and successful as it is for women with breast cancer, for other types of cancer as well as people with mental disorders and PTSD.

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  36. One cannot ignore the mind-body connection aspect of dreams. By monitoring these dreams everyday with a journal can give insight to problems unseen or hidden underneath the surface of consciousness. Because cancer touches the patients’ relationships with other people, dream therapy can be used as a therapeutic method for those involved with treatment. It can optimize relationships during these negative times, and deal with grief, anger, and mourning. Nightmares indicate distress, but gaining insight to their meaning may bring relief. There must be important therapeutic groups put into place. Researchers should then follow dreams of other people who suffer from chronic diseases. These include Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, and schizophrenia, for example (whom may have negative imagery as well), and gain insight into their waking day relationships. Research can bring families and friends together through the interconnectedness that the dreams may reveal. Findings from previous studies should be reason enough to guide more funding for such research.

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  37. I think it’s clear that dream therapy can significantly improve not only the well-being of cancer patients, war survivors, or trauma victims, but can also serve as a tool to help the average person. If cancer patients and war victims, those who have come close to or faced death, can find meaning in their dreams, I don’t see why similar therapies couldn’t apply to the rest of society. Some people seek counseling or therapy for issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, relationships, or whatever else. Perhaps dreams could serve as an alternate therapy to allow people to find deeper meanings into themselves, meanings which may not be available in some therapies. Those suffering from negative dreams and nightmares could benefit from dream therapy, perhaps in ways that they cannot in therapies. That is, sometimes people don’t know what it is exactly that is troubling them and dreams serve as a reminder. Not all dream meanings are obvious, however. Using dream therapy, I think, could get to the core of the issues as addressed in the dreams and provide greater insight into people’s lives, just like the cancer patients mentioned above.

    Perhaps research could move on to study the negative dreams and nightmares of other groups such as those suffering from depression, anxiety, or anything else. Or, maybe it doesn’t have to work with groups per se, but anyone who experiences nightmares. Dream therapy sessions could be advertized, for example, in universities, in health centers, counseling centers, etc. to recruit volunteers. I’m curious how these therapies would work on the rest of the population, aside from war victims and cancer patients. It would also be interesting to divide it into age groups. I’d be interested in the nightmares of children and how children can find meaning in their dreams, for example. (Even though that might be a bit tricky).

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  38. Researchers should continue to look into issue; I believe a good path of research is in types of treatments and patients dreams. For example the types of dream imagery in patients who undergo chemo therapy or radiation therapy. In addition all breast cancer patients should use dream therapy as a form of expression and coping as shown many people with breast cancer experience nightmares so many of these people should use dream therapy. Another way dreams can be used to cope is through discussion, if patients going through the same treatment such as chemo could talk about their dreams to one another. This may help each other to cope better and understand that they are not alone in experiencing the effects of their treatment and cancer.

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  39. The research on the relationship between breast cancer and negative dream imagery or nightmares is very interesting. Incorporating dream therapy into existing treatment options is a significant option as psychological variables are being addressed simultaneously with medical issues. There are often many distressing psychological side effects of major illness that many patients do not address, as there primary focus is on medical treatment. Dream therapy can help patients deal with issues in their waking life associated with their illness, or unrelated issues affecting their emotional state which could interfere with medical treatment.

    Therapist guided techniques could be used to help patients with their feelings about illness or mortality, while self-guided techniques could help patients with discovery of their waking life relationships or coping skills. The relationship between psychological well-being and health is well known, and with dream therapy hopefully patient well being could be improved or at least stabilized to avoid detrimental health effects for women already battling a serious illness.

    Future research could be conducted to expand dream therapy for patients suffering from other illnesses or injuries. It would be interesting to compare the benefits patients receive from therapist guided versus self-guided techniques. In addition I would be curious to see whether dream therapy resulted in discovery of waking life feelings around the diagnosed medical condition (coping, mortality, fear), or discovery about non-medical waking day experiences such as relationships – comparison could then be made between the dreams and nightmares of clinical and non-clinical samples.

    The research on breast cancer and dreams is yet another interesting avenue of dream research that has many possible implications for the development of a specific dream therapy for the population dealing with major illnesses.

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  40. This study done was important as it helped show that when you work with your dreams, it helps with dealing with negative dreams and nightmares. In relation to breast cancer, women found that meaning was found through their dreams, which helped with their waking day relationships. This finding could then be transferred to other people who are dealing with cancer, stressful events, or life changing experiences as they would be experiencing negative dreams and nightmares. These individuals suffering from these negative dreams may then find meaning within the imagery that relates to their life waking events. This will then help the individual understand the event that is causing them the stress and use this as a tool for resolution of the problem.

    This research might be conducted by these individuals keeping a dream journal beside the bed, and writing down dreams in as much detain. In addition, there should also be a diary kept that outline what happened throughout the day, which also includes strong emotions felt. By having written accounts, it allows for the researcher to have more descriptive details and seeing if there are any similarities. The researcher can also look back and see if there was a recurring theme throughout one night, or over a period of days. Not only should there be written accounts, but the researcher should also sit and discuss with the dreamer any further questions that they may not understand. This would also allow for the dreamer to discuss any further concerns, and for help to be given. Overall, people dealing with a life changing event such as breast cancer would experience negative dreams or nightmares. Due to dream therapy showing positive results for these individuals, this therapy could be used to help other who are also suffering from negative dreams.

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  41. I agree that the avenues that the research should take is possibly allowing the group to record dream journals. This can allow them to self-analyze their dreams and find the meaning of the negative dreams in their waking day relationships. Especially if they are stressed from the dream, it can allow them to repair any relationships in their lives but also to relieve stress by writing them down can help too. If they're finding negative aspects of relationships through their dreams, it can allow them to repair these relationships before its too late and to allow them to have more peaceful sleeps in their time of recovery.

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  42. Although there is a lot of supporting research regarding this and I do not dispute it I am going to assume however that this is only relevant to certain people and cannot be transferrable to all people experiencing breast cancer. For example, upon reading this post I immediately asked my grandmother (who has breast cancer) about her dream journal and how it was going for her. Her support group was having them record their dreams and discuss them in their private support group with a therapist. She said that she and some of the other girls found this extremely painful and unhelpful. She said it would keep reminding them of all the negative things going on during their treatments and all they wanted to do was focus on the positives and not think about treatments when they weren’t at the hospital. This being said maybe it’s for some people and not others. Regarding this research however and the effect it would have on the treatment of nightmares. I believe it can do great good. If the research is transferable to other affected areas of people’s lives and they can benefit then why not, after all even if it works for a small number of people it’s better to be able to help a few them none at all with something that could cross into other boundaries of dreams.

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  43. I think that cancer patients will always have different ways of coping with their illness and their road to recovery. Like Jade mentioned above, some people choose not to be reminded of their painful journey and illness and do their best to life their life to the fullest as they would have when they did not have cancer. I could see how constantly being reminded of the illness in your body could be painful. However I also believe that some people could find dream interpretation therapy helpful when dealing with terminal illness. The mind-body connection is an amazing thing, and perhaps if one was to dream about living a healthy happy life, with the right motivation and mindset, their body may be able to heal and allow themselves to do so. This type of motivation and attitude would be beneficial for cancer patients. Although each patient's dreams and discovery will vary from the next, I think it would be helpful for the patients to share their dreams and the meanings they found from interpretation to other patients. Sharing your story and knowing others can relate to you can be helpful in dealing with the stress and pain of suffering an illness/disease. I think that although it is especially important that one has hope and a positive mindset when suffering from a terminal illness/disease, but I also think it's important that they are realistic. Having bad dreams and nightmares about what could potentially happen to one when they have cancer may be scary, but it could also help one to become okay with and accept the inevitable. Therefore dealing with and finding meaning in such dreams could potentially give patients a sense of calm despite the negative images in their dreams.

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  44. Dreams reveal a lot of the connections and underlying thought processes behind our wants, wishes, concerns, and worries. Patients with cancer, quite understandably, have a great deal of worry and concern on their minds, and this manifests in the form of the most emotionally intense dreams. While the dreams/nightmares may be negative on the surface and in content, they could be helping the patient to deal with the negative emotions and cognitions that surround the illness they are fighting as well as its impacts on the various other aspects of their lives. Working through this negative imagery could help shed light on areas where some work could be done to alleviate stress and worry. Perhaps reconnecting with estranged family members, or taking care of a lingering debt. I think the aim should be not simply to change the bad dreams into good, but to get to the root of the meaning within the bad dreams, and then through positively facing the negativity the dreams reference, begin to build a more positively engaged outlook that should begin to manifest in the dream state.

    Looking at the realism of the nightmares and bad dreams should help to identify whether it is merely the processing of fears and negative emotions, or whether there is something more concrete that connects the dreamer's waking life to the nightmare. I think that's a starting point for an avenue of research into nightmares among cancer patients.

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  45. Some important avenues that should be taken now would be therapy (one on one with a therapist)and meditation would definitely be important and would be very helpful. This research should be conducted by working with cancer patients and using the techniques to see how it either works for them or down not. I think it would be important to keep track of the nightmares they are having and keeping an eye on them. It is definitely important to work through the nightmares. I think meditation would be one of the best techniques to work through the thoughts and feelings that are creating the nightmares.

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    1. I like your idea of meditation. After making deep connections regarding an illness or other, one may need a safe outlet to cope, and work through the “healing” processes by de-stressing. It might be interesting to compare groups of those with sever distress/situations, and those without, to see the magnitude to which meditation could be beneficial for post nightmare treatment. Research could be conducted by having the patients rate their daily stress on some type of scale in order to measure the decrease of stress caused by nightmares; determining the level of success meditation may have or not have.

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  46. I think that nightmares do hold meaning in terms of our waking day life, and should be treated in order to discover meaning, and alleviate stress from the nightmares. It might also be helpful for people in abysmal situations, such as cancer patients, to place extra emphasis of ridding of the nightmares…therefore IRT might be a better option. Image rehearsal therapy for nightmares involves 2 parts, a) changing the storyline of the nightmare to determine exactly what the storyline is, and b) rewrite the ending, and then rehearse it during the day before bed…This allows an alternative, less stressful plot and outcome.

    IRT has been proven to help many people, including those of sexual adult, and PTSD. Further research could examine a meta-analysis on people suffering from different trauma, and the effects and benefits that are provided for all.

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  47. In the same way that the consideration of dreams helped soldiers, as mentioned in a previous post, I think it has the potential to shed insight on many of the peripheral elements of physical illness as well.

    I don't think that a lot of people in society at large really consider that physical illness entails lots of strange cognition that could contribute positively or negatively to the total effect of the ailment. That said, dreams are (much of the time) the only really clear window into thoughts and feelings that would otherwise be covered up, especially in tough situations.

    I think that this research should seek to integrate cognitive-behavioural therapy, and should focus more on dream cognition as a whole.

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  48. The conclusions of this research involving breast cancer patients is truly fascinating. The ability for these women to gain insight into their waking life as well as reach closure concerning their illness can be applied to many different populations of dreamers. Future steps for research building off the conclusions of this study should involve dream analysis of individuals suffering from a variety of illnesses or disorders. The method and procedure carried out for the breast cancer patients can be repeated for child cancer patients, male cancer patients, and a variety of other illnesses.

    The results of these new studies can then be compared to the conclusions made in the breast cancer study. If outcomes of dream interpretation and the value of discovery are similar, it could be interpreted that dream interpretation is beneficial for a wide variety off individuals suffering from severe illnesses.

    The results, conclusions, and interpretations of these studies can then be modified to be included into general cancer treatments or therapies. Having the ability to gain a better understanding of one's conscious and unconscious worries, insecurities, and desires can improve mental stability and overall state of well being. Emotional and cognitive balance can in turn play a positive role in treatment and the ability to overcome the physical pain of severe illness.

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  49. These findings show that dream interpretation can be very useful for patients who have an illness such as cancer. I think that both self-guided and therapist-guided therapy could be useful for this interpretation. Therapy can help patients to better understand their illness, and hopefully learn different ways to cope.
    It would also be interesting to study other illnesses, particularly ones that are prominent in men and women. Since there are gender differences in dreams, it would be beneficial to look at the dreams of both men and women.

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  50. i think these findings indicate that dream interpretation is important in coping with a persons illness. These results can be generalized to many illnesses, not just breast cancer. Finding meaning in your treatment can be very beneficial because the patient would start to look at what they are going through in a positive rather than a negative way. Looking at their illness with a positive attitude helps coping and also helps family members cope as well. For future this can be done with different illnesses to see where the patient is at in terms of dealing with their illness.

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