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TU presents new sleep treatment at psychology conference

Monday, April 07, 2014

Researchers discuss new treatment for nightmares, sleep disturbances

Students from The University of Tulsa Institute of Trauma, Adversity and Injustice presented new research on the treatment of nightmares at the Southwestern Psychological Association Convention April 3-5 in San Antonio, Texas.

TU students met with psychology clinicians and researchers from across the region to discuss the importance of treating sleep disturbances and trauma-related nightmares. The TU team presented information on a new brief cognitive behavioral treatment known as Exposure, Relaxation and Rescripting Therapy (ERRT). The treatment, developed by the institute, has been found to reduce or alleviate nightmares and other sleep problems in adults.

According to TU researchers, approximately 60 percent of adults and 55 percent of children may experience nightmares and sleep disturbances in the aftermath of a traumatic event. The ERRT treatment directly targets the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other similar conditions. Clinical trials for the treatment are conducted in three weekly sessions and have shown significant reductions in patient nightmares, PTSD and depression.

Students and faculty will present research on ERRT and its adaptations for children, veterans and individuals with severe mental illness at the American Psychological Association convention in August. TU currently is conducting a clinical trial of ERRT with children ages 5 to 12.

Among other upcoming clinical trials, the institute will host a “Helping Kids Sleep Strong” workshop that is designed to help parents and educators better understand the importance of sleep and provide tips on encouraging sound sleep for their children. The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be May 12 at 6 p.m. at Tulsa’s Brookside Library, 1207 E. 45th Place.

Jennifer Steward