Imagery rehearsal therapy for posttraumatic nightmares in U.S. Veterans

Mary Lu, Amy Wagner, Lynn Van Male, Ashlee Whitehead, James Boehnlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) may help reduce residual nightmares and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in veterans after trauma-focused PTSD treatment. Fifteen male U.S. veterans with PTSD and trauma-related nightmares, who had not previously completed trauma-focused PTSD treatment, attended 6 IRT group sessions. No benefits were observed immediately posttreatment. At 3- and 6-month follow-up, however, trauma-related nightmare frequency (nights/week) decreased (p <.01). The number of trauma-related nightmares/week (p <.01), number of total nightmares/week (p <.05), and PTSD symptoms (p <.05) also decreased at 3 months. The overall F test for time was significant (p <.05) for nightmare severity and fear of sleep. No effects were found on measures of the impact of nightmares, sleep quality, or depression. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-239
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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