When I was a very young boy, my family watched an episode of a TV show called The Outer Limits. That night proved to be one of sheer terror for me. That still remains the worst nightmare of my entire life. The cause and effect connection being obvious, we never watched that show again, and my night of horror blessedly proved to be a one-and-done episode.

In the course of a lifetime, everyone expects a nightmare every now and then. Even if the cause is not obvious, nightmares are usually one night events. Others of us have repetitive dream plots, though they do not necessarily terrorize us. I have one theme that reappears in my dreams every year or so, one that I understand is a shared dream of many, of being in school again and being totally unprepared for testing in one subject. It is a weird dream to be sure, but it does not happen enough for me to worry about.

It is the persistent nightmare that needs attention. One that wakes you up, soaked in sweat, full of anxiety. The dream that really terrifies you. One that almost makes you fear to sleep again.

Hypnotherapy is effective for treating such nightmares. If a cause of the nightmare is not obvious from an initial interview, hypnotic techniques can be used to search out potential causes, thus giving the client and the therapist the raw materials to build a plan for successful restoration of a good night’s sleep. Once a cause is identified, if it is, it may open an entirely different toolbox of hypnotherapy approaches. Are there underlying health issues, emotional concerns, personal relationships, habits, or anxieties working their way into hours of sleep? If so, that particular issue is addressed directly during therapy, resulting in the eradication of nightmares.

The hypnotherapist can also structure therapies that provide the client’s Middle Mind with the “facts” through direct suggestions to actually alter bad dreams so that they begin to tend toward more pleasant experiences. Even today, I am fascinated by the power in an individual’s mind and its incredible ability to work effectively on its own, even when it is asleep.

A more advanced form of this Middle Mind control of dreaming is known as lucid dreaming. Although it takes some practice, lucid dreaming allows a client’s mind to take a very active role in dreams. The script of a dream can be rewritten with plots changed, characters removed or altered, or the entire dream cancelled like a bad sitcom.

Nights filled with nightmares can be sanitized with hypnotherapy. They can be replaced with confident and restful sleep that positively impacts you every day from that point on. And, as with all hypnotherapy, the success occurs rather quickly with accelerated behavior change.