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AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care

Topic Suggestion Description

View Topic Suggestion Disposition (PDF) 1.2 MB

Date submitted: February 25, 2013

Briefly describe a specific question, or set of related questions, about a health care test or treatment that this program should consider.
Research into pediatric post-traumatic stress disorder.
Does your question include a comparison of different health care approaches? (If no, your topic will still be considered.)
If yes, explain the specific technologies, devices, drugs, or interventions you would like to see compared:
Dream therapy has proven useful for treatment of adults with traumatic event-related problems, allowing the victim to fully and safely process problematic material through the use of dream study and analysis geared toward children.

Dr. Patricia Garfield, psychologist, Co-Founder (1984) of The International Association for the Study of Dreams wrote a book called The Healing Power of Dreams which synthesizes findings from scientific research to outline techniques for interpreting and using dreams to reveal hidden health problems, speed recovery and promote lifelong health.

I've used her book to great advantage for PTSD as an adult, and it is worth noting she is expert. I also believe what I term a "dream hangover" needs to be better dealt with, otherwise people inhibit dream recall--so identifying and shifting unpleasant emotions left over from dreaming using known techniques--visualization, breathwork, behavior modification, etc.

Pediatric dream therapy would be cheap and effective in assisting in the healing trauma, I am sure.
What patients or group(s) of patients does your question apply to? (Please include specific details such as age range, gender, coexisting diagnoses, and indications for therapy.)
Pediatric victims of trauma suffering PSTD.
Are there subgroups of patients that your question might apply to? (For example, an ethnic group, stage or severity of a disease.)
Describe the health-related benefits you are interested in. (For example, improvements in patient symptoms or problems from treatment or diagnosis.)
Reduction of stress levels, ability to function normally, increased ability of child to emotionally process traumatic events that are beyond its developmental level, avoidance of inappropriate stress-reduction methods (alcohol, drugs, acting-out behaviors, etc.), reduction of problematic behaviors associated with PSTD in children (anxiety, bedwetting, aggression, etc).
Describe any health-related risks, side effects, or harms that you are concerned about.

Appropriateness for EHC Program

Does your question include a health care drug, intervention, device, or technology available (or likely to be available) in the U.S.?
Which priority area(s) and population(s) does this topic apply to? (check all that apply)
EHC Priority Conditions (updated in 2008)
  • Depression and other mental health disorders
  • Developmental delays, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism
  • Substance abuse
AHRQ Priority Populations
  • Children
Federal Health Care Program
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)


Describe why this topic is important.
No known treatments are effective for pediatric PTSD.
What specifically motivated you to ask this question? (For example, you are developing a clinical guideline, working with a policy with large uncertainty about the appropriate approach, costly intervention, new research you have read, items in the media you may have seen, a clinical practice dilemma you know of, etc.)
Read an article about school shootings in the U.S. in a Canadian newspaper.
Does your question represent uncertainty for clinicians and/or policy-makers? (For example, variations in clinical care, controversy in what constitutes appropriate clinical care, or a policy decision.)
If yes, please explain:

Potential Impact

How will an answer to your research question be used or help inform decisions for you or your group?
Describe the timeframe in which an answer to your question is needed.
Describe any health disparities, inequities, or impact on vulnerable populations your question applies to.

Nominator Information

Other Information About You: (optional)
Please choose a description that best describes your role or perspective: (you may select more than one category if appropriate)
  • Other
Are you making a suggestion as an individual or on behalf of an organization?
Please tell us how you heard about the Effective Health Care Program