In a Ted Talk, neuro-scientist, Dr. Moran Cerf, tells us that, “Our sleeping brain retains some of the content we encounter when we are awake and that our dreams can influence our waking actions.” It was suggested, based on new evidence, that we have been given a new tool to control our dreams. Dream states are one of our most interesting phenomena that our brains create for us; a movie that is played inside our head with no direction. We get to play the lead role, the ultimate virtual reality which is so real it fools our senses into thinking it is reality.
Research is continuing regarding dream states and I can’t help but think this is a highly controversial subject. After all, memories are malleable and therefore they can be altered when in a dream state. After reading about the later discoveries, there seems to be much good that can be accomplished. As an example, Dr. Cerf tells us he’s worked with clients who had undergone severe trauma and had developed PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to haunting memories. He speaks of ameliorating a condition for a soldier who returned from Iraq with PTSD. When he was in a dream state sounds of gunfire were played which were followed by the spraying of a pleasant aroma. The aroma was used to create positive change in the soldier’s brain and slowly the method began affecting memories of the trauma. In a sense, the aromas were overriding the remembrance of the terrible incident(s). Even after a few nights of treatment, the soldier felt less anxious.
As Cerf explains, this jump began to help many other people. Beyond the use of aromas to alter a dream, there are other stimuli that can manipulate dream content. For instance, touching your leg in a specific location would make you think you are falling. The use of sound in specific volumes could penetrate the dream and be incorporated in it. As example, Dr. Cerf drizzled water on a client who announced he was by a waterfall when he awakened.
As in the experience of the returning soldier with PTSD, the health implications, not to mention business and education, are enormous. They could include eliminating nightmares, fixing trauma, decreasing phobias and many other behavioral changes.
Tags: Dr. Moran Cerf, PTSD, modifying trauma through dreams