[Currents headergraphic]

July 5, 1999

UCSC hosts 16th annual international dream conference July 7-10

By Jennifer McNulty

Columbine High School student Grant Taylor survived the mayhem without injury, but he was haunted by nightmares. That first night, he dreamed he was a wounded hero, pulling others to safety. The next night, coping with feelings of guilt, he dreamed that he was wounded and dying.

[Cover illustration by Dana Verkouteren from the book  <I>Dreamcatching</I> by A. Siegel and K. Bulkeley]
Cover illustration by Dana Verkouteren from the book Dreamcatching by A. Siegel and K. Bulkeley

For crime victims, as well as for survivors of accidents and natural disasters, nightmares provide a map of the process of emotional recovery. "Grant Taylor's dreams are an example of what trauma survivors go through," said Alan Siegel, president-elect of the Association for the Study of Dreams, which is holding its 16th Annual International Conference July 7-10 at UCSC. "New research shows the therapeutic value and the limits of using dreams in diagnosing and healing the impact of traumatic life events."

This year's conference will include a special symposium on July 9, "Nightmare and Dream Therapies for Crime Victims," featuring the work of Barry Krakow, whose research is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, and Deirdre Barrett, a clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School and editor of the book Trauma and Dreams. In addition, a two-day seminar will feature the latest research and clinical techniques for helping survivors of violence, abuse, and war who suffer from recurring nightmares as part of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"A century after Freud, contemporary psychotherapists still view dreams as the royal road to the unconscious, and dream exploration techniques are increasingly being used as a vehicle for therapy and emotional healing," said Siegel.

The four-day conference features more than 100 events, including presentations by academic researchers and clinicians, workshops, seminars, and dream-sharing groups. Among the highlights:

The Association for the Study of Dreams, based in Vienna, Virginia, is an international organization dedicated to the investigation of dreams. Its members represent a variety of dream-related activities, including academic research, clinical practice, and individual study. For conference fee information or a complete schedule of events, please visit the association's Web site or call the association's toll-free number at 1-877-DREAMSS.

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