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March 1980

Focusing on Dreams: A Preparation Program for Psychotherapy

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(3):275-277. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780160045004

• Forty-eight patients selected as potential early dropouts from insight-oriented psychotherapy were offered a two-week program to prepare them for treatment. Thirty-two were sleepmonitored for eight nights; half were given access to their dreams by awakening them from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep periods; the other half were awakened as often, but only from non-REM (NREM) stages. A third group of 16 subjects went directly into treatment. All laboratory subjects were asked each morning to recall and discuss the reports they had given during the night. The effect of these discussions was measured on the drop-out rate during the first ten treatment hours and on the development of treatment-appropriate behaviors. Those who successfully retrieved and discussed dreams as opposed to other content stayed in therapy at a significantly higher rate and used the hours more productively.