In cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nightmares can often persist, even after a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for this disorder. Imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) is a CBT that targets the treatment of nightmares directly. Objectives: the present study describes the feasibility and the efficacy of combining IRT with first-line, trauma-focused CBT for PTSD. Method: two individuals with PTSD took part in this experimental case study protocol. The efficacy of the combined treatment was evaluated using semi-structured interviews, self-report questionnaires, and daily self-monitoring diaries. Results: after three IRT sessions for Participant 1 and five IRT sessions for Participant 2, combined with CBT for PTSD, both participants experienced a slight decrease in sleep difficulties and in the intensity of their PTSD symptoms post-treatment. More particularly, one participant demonstrated a significant decrease in the level of distress associated with his post-traumatic nightmares (PTNM). Conclusions: these results demonstrate that it is possible and promising to combine IRT with CBT for PTSD.
Part of the book: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Clinical Applications