Krysten Taprell teaches kids how to tame bad dreams in 'The Dream Director'

April 20th, 2021

By Krysten Taprell

I have been a psychologist for over 20 years. Almost all of that time has been spent working with children and families. When you work for that long, you tend to see similar difficulties coming through your door on a regular basis. I felt like I was teaching the same skills and strategies to so many different families. While I am happy to help kids, it is what I love most, I started thinking there has to be a better way to give this information to parents. I felt for families having to bring their kids into appointments. Parenting is hard enough without more places to be and money to spend, so if there was a way to help without the extra pressure, I wanted to find it. Obviously you can’t give parents everything that regular sessions can, but sometimes all parents need are some tips and tricks to bring the change they need. So I dipped into my bag of tricks to find one strategy that I know works and is easy for kids and parents to learn. That is how 'The Dream Director' was born.

Nightmares are a common problem for kids. It is a normal part of growing up, but it can be completely terrifying. For the child the dreams seems so real, they are in it, their heart is racing and their body shakes. But childhood dreams don’t just effect the child, they impact the whole family. Parents lose sleep trying to comfort their child. When this happens night after night, the whole family is exhausted and eventually frustrated. Parents often try to help by saying “it’s just a dream”, “monsters aren’t real”, “just think of something else”. Unfortunately, many children’s books that I have seen about dreams have given similar advice. The problem is that these strategies don’t work. As soon as you are told not to think about something, that is exactly what you will think about. Instead, we need to empower children to be in control of their dreams and not simply be helpless victims of them. 

When working with children, I have always taught them that dreams are just movies in their head. When a move is made, the director has all the power to change what happens. As the director of their dreams, they have the power to change the ending of the dream. When the child wakes, instead of trying to think of something else, they think about their dream and change the ending to something funny. They then have the power to break the fear and complete the dream in the way they want it to end. “The Dream Director” gives kids and parents the skills they need to take control of their sleep and walk them through how to create the dreams they want so they can go back to sleep peacefully.   
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