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Power of the Mind

Veterans of the Vietnam War and victims who had an attack that might been fatal are some groups that have benefited from the new psychological therapies based on the use of imagination to overcome some of the aftermath trauma.

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. Imagine what you want, want what you imagine and at the end, you create what you want. ” When Bernard Shaw made this statement he didn’t know he was describing a cognitive therapy that is used now with soldiers who have participated in armed conflicts and other individuals who have suffered trauma such as violent assault or sexual abuse. In this groups that have emerged the powerful human brain seems surrender in to the seduction of the imagination.

Increasingly, there are more psychological treatments that use this extraordinary human capacity to eliminate the aftermath of violence. With an amount of will and a touch of persistence, neural networks can be reprogrammed to eliminate the nightmares, stress and even ‘add’ new content.

Everybody has for some period of his life distressing dreams. Some experts believe that these experiences are part of a process of emotional healing. However, many people who have lived close to a war, sexually abused or have experienced other trauma, this situation may become the norm. These individuals are constantly reviewed and live events immersed in a feeling of constant threat that prevents them from having a normal existence.

Go to bed every night turns into a real drama, the tension reached anticipating what may occur in the moment they close their eyes. In these cases, the nightmares become a habit that creates a new trauma and that aggravate the original one. Many of these individuals come to develop a disease condition called post-traumatic stress.

One of the strategies currently employed in these patients is to train them for the horrors that can turn night into sweet stories. The method has the suggestive name of therapy trial imagination. And here comes in the creation of the Bernard Shaw speaking. The patient selects one of the nightmares that plague him and as if it were a film adaptation you add the remakes to your liking. The condition is that after arrangements the nightmare turned into a beautiful reverie.

With the new script in hand, dreaming the future must not only tell the story aloud, but must make the mental test. Display the new scenes. “It is assumed that the changes are introduced during wakefulness have their equivalent in the dream,” says Pilar Martinez, a psychologist at the University of Granada that is working with this technique. Barry Krakow, the sleep expert has developed this technique, says that by practicing this technique several minutes a day for weeks or months can reduce and even eliminate bad dreams.

This method born in the heart of modern Western science, however, some Eastern practices such as yoga or meditation and recently as sophrology. Even some of the instructions given to patients’ experiences suggest that the Mexican anthropologist Carlos Castaneda described in its contacts with the yaqui shaman Don Juan. As part of the training of the imagination test therapy, including breathing techniques, methods to stop thinking, visualization exercises and strategies to eliminate the disturbing ideas.

But the imaginative application of this technique is not restricted to cases of nightmares caused by trauma. Bad dreams also can arise as a result of emotional conflicts or other non-violent life experiences, and sometimes have even been able to pass unnoticed into our consciousness. In fact, two professors at the faculty of psychology at the Granada University just launched a program aimed at the community college in that city and their family members who offered to get rid of bad dreams using this cognitive treatment. Pilar Martínez, one of the managers of this project, says it is the first time applied in Spain.

The project’s objective is not only the investigation of a phenomenon that has not been given any importance, but to respond to people who are suffering torture at night. Perhaps everyone should bear in mind the word of the writer Truman Capote: “He who does not imagine is like the one who does not sweat; stores poison.”

Article extracted from Mundosalud. Author: Angela Botto