Decreased posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms following a lucid dream healing workshop

June 1, 2023
Garret Yount, PhD, Helané Wahbeh, ND, MCR

Yount, G., Stumbrys, T., Koos, K., Hamilton, D., & Wahbeh, H. (2023). Decreased posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms following a lucid dream healing workshop. Traumatology. Advance online publication.


Recent investigations of lucid dreams—dreams with a veridical awareness of dreaming—suggest that this unique form of dreaming may be useful for promoting healing due to the lucid dreamer’s capacity for goal-directed action in the dream. Following a prospective, within-participant research design, 49 adults experiencing chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms were recruited to a 6-day online lucid dreaming healing workshop. The primary outcome was self-reported PTSD symptom severity, measured using the PTSD Checklist for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Secondary outcomes included the degree of distress caused by nightmares, well-being, and positive and negative affect. The salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) biomarker was assessed as an exploratory measure in four participants. We observed that 76% of participants (n = 37) achieved at least one lucid dream during the workshop, and over half of those participants (n = 25) enacted a healing lucid dream plan as intended. Compared to baseline values, significant improvements were observed in self-reported PTSD symptom scores, nightmare distress, and well-being. A decrease in negative affect was also noted. sAA awakening response profiles for two participants enacting healing lucid dreams were consistent with a pattern of stress reduction, compared to two participants not enacting lucid dreams. Future studies are warranted that incorporate experimental conditions designed to distinguish effects unique to dream lucidity and to explore the mechanisms of action underlying health benefits experienced following healing lucid dreams. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)

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