Sleep Monsters and Superheroes
Empowering Children through Creative Dreamplay
by Clare R. Johnson and Jean M. Campbell, Editors
September 2016, 265pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4266-5
$65, £50, 57€, A90
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4267-2
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Dream therapy can help children cope with life changes, bereavement, and abuse.

World-renowned contributors across several disciplines reveal how dreams can aid and empower children in daily life.

Children can feel powerless in waking life, a fact that is often reflected in their dreams. This book shows how to take an active role in guiding children’s dreams to help grow their confidence and improve their coping skills for real-life difficulties. Contributors from across various fields provide simple techniques to help children utilize dreamwork as a conduit for creative discovery and empowerment.

Each chapter includes case studies and methods for working in practical ways with children, explaining what may trigger nightmares for children and how “monster” dreams can be guided to become “superhero” dreams. Essays encompass a spectrum of children’s dreams with experts discussing dreams of trauma, dreams as a reflection of emotional and physical development, dreaming in the community, spiritual or religious dreams, lucid dreams, dreams during wartime, and dreams of death, among others. Throughout the work, the narrative discusses the use of dreams as teaching aids for use in art therapy, storytelling, and self-empowerment.


  • Addresses how video games and today's news media can affect children's sleep/dreams and how trauma can trigger PTSD-like nightmares
  • Details how children's dreams reflect their emotional and physical development
  • Includes vignettes/case studies of children's nightmares from countries around the world, including a heavily war-torn country
  • Explains what may trigger nightmares for children and how "monster" dreams can be guided to become "superhero" dreams
  • Describes how children can interact with dreams by becoming lucid and by engaging in creative dreamplay
Clare R. Johnson, PhD, is board director of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD), a lucid dream researcher, a novelist, and an award-winning writer. Johnson's work in the field of dream studies has won her an IASD Dream Research award and academic recognition. Her published works include Breathing in Colour and Dreamrunner.

Jean M. Campbell is editor of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) magazine, DreamTime, and CEO of the nonprofit research organization, The iMAGE Project. Campbell annually hosts IASD's two-week, online, PsiberDreaming conference and is a board member of the IASD. Her published works include Group Dreaming: Dreams to the Tenth Power.


"The approach of the discussion surrounding therapies is always open-minded and non-judgmental. The writings are researched and documented well; these will be useful for parents, child caregivers, educators, and practitioners in child therapy. . . . This text is a highly recommended addition to collections in dream studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; faculty and professionals."—Choice, April 3, 2017

"Give[s] practical advice on how to record dreams as well as ways to use these records to solve problems or work through questions."—The Floyd Press, June 5, 2017

"What a delightful book these IASD authors have created. It is not only an insightful trip into the impact your own childhood dreams may have had on your life, but a very important guide to help parents and adults to work with children’s dreams and nightmares. Something every parent should read."—Bob Hoss, Director and past President, IASD

"A compelling and readable book that captures the innocence, creativity, and universality of children’s dreams, their vulnerability to nocturnal monsters, and cataclysms and capacity for creative and spiritual inspiration. Unique for its ingenious application of dreamwork to challenging childhood situations, such as trauma, grief, and illness, and to sleep and dream disorders, this book demonstrates many innovative therapeutic and educational benefits of understanding and working with children’s dreams. It will be a source of guidance, insight, and solace for parents, teachers, mental health and health professionals, clergy, and to anyone interested in the creativity and resilience of the human spirit."—Alan Siegel, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor, University of California Berkeley, Past President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and author of Dream Wisdom: Uncovering Life’s Answers in Your Dreams

“Many children must face nightmares and learn about dreams on their own as I did. With this captivating and comprehensive book, talented dream experts have created a detailed guide designed to enhance the inner and outer worlds of the young and old alike. If I'd had access to this practical advice, I might have begun my lucid life at an even earlier age!”—Beverly D'Urso, PhD, Teacher of Lucid Dreaming/Lucid Living at

"As a father of five and a dreamworker with 25 years' experience I can tell you it is often difficult to get children talking about their dreams; it seems that many families have lost touch with a vital cultural tradition of dreamsharing with young ones. This wonderful book can help us all start to renew that tradition. On these pages you will find dozens of practical suggestions for helping children of all ages, from toddlerhood to adolescence, explore, share, and make positive use of their dreams. The contributors consist of an all-star lineup of dreamworkers and dream researchers, and every offering is supported with real dream examples from real dreamers."—Dr. Christopher Sowton, ND, Author of Dreamworking: How to Listen to the Inner Guidance of Your Dreams

"You should not be afraid of this title. Sure, most of the powerful, impactful, and creative dreams of childhood have at least an aspect of nightmare, but this book also addresses those rare gems, those remarkable childhood dreams of untainted beauty and happiness."—J. F. Pagel, MS, MD, Associate Clinical Professor University of Colorado School of Medicine

"This is a wonderful book! The insights and perspectives offered by all the contributors will be of great interest, and even more importantly, of great use to any and all adults concerned about nurturing the interior, imaginative, spiritual lives of children."—Reverend Dr. Jeremy Taylor, DMin., STHD (hon.), Author of Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill and The Wisdom of Your Dreams

"A comprehensive guide to the dream life of children, and a ‘must-read’ to parents who wish to be able to provide answers to their child’s queries about dreams, or learn how to react to the child’s frightening nightmares, or find out how ever-increasing media exposure and gaming affect children’s dreams. The book also contains many practical tips that are handy in everyday life when dreaming in children needs to be addressed."—Katja Valli, Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland

"Every child dreams. We let children down when we say 'just a dream' and 'not real.' Sleep Monsters and Superheroes is filled with ideas and alternatives: How to help children explore their dreams, what to do with scary dreams, and things to know when sleep problems show up. I’ve been working with my own dreams for decades, and I learned new techniques and background here. A resource for parents, teachers, caregivers, and anyone who was once a child with dreams."—Mary Pat Lynch, PhD,Writer, Shamanic practitioner, Dreamworker

"If we care about children, we must care about their dreams; this means being willing to listen without judgment, to help with the scary stuff, and to encourage dreamplay that is safe and fun. The authors of the excellent collection Sleep Monsters and Superheroes know this well. They offer us a treasury of techniques and experiences that will help us to cheer on—and learn from—the kids we know as they draw guidance, healing, and creative energy from their dreams and become dream magicians, operating consciously in the place between sleep and awake, braving up to night monsters and crafting bigger and braver stories for life."—Robert Moss, Best-selling author of The Secret History of Dreaming, Active Dreaming and The Boy Who Died and Came Back

"A masterful resource dedicated to empowering children (and their parents) to find a trustworthy ally in dreaming’s creativity, insight, and compassion, Sleep Monsters and Superheroes comes packed with useable, playful techniques to transform fitful sleep into welcomed adventures. Highly recommended!"—Robert Waggoner, Author of Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self

"The book Sleep Monsters and Superheroes offers parents and therapists a sophisticated, well-researched, and engaging approach to working with the dreams and nightmares of children. It equips the reader with a rich understanding of the value of dreams in a child’s life, and instills a sense of confidence and competence in working with dreams that is often lacking in today’s world, where dreams are often dismissed as unimportant, or feared for their presumed implications. These authors speak directly and personally to the stewards of today’s children and youth, instilling reassurance that the deepest levels of the mind and soul are always working to foster healing and development in our children."—Gregory Scott Sparrow, EdD, LPC, LMFT, Professor of Counseling at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Board Chair, International Association for the Study of Dreams; founder of DreamStar Institute

"This is the book for which we have all been waiting. It is a comprehensive, articulate discussion of children’s dreams, their nature, and their nurture. As the title implies, there are plenty of monsters and heroes in children’s dreams, but this book provides guidelines for using children’s dreams for creativity, enjoyment, and for the healing of mind and body. Such timely topics as videogames, trauma, and death are mirrored in children’s’ dreams as well as how they can help children cope during their waking hours. The editors, Clare Johnson and Jean Campbell, deserve gratitude for compiling a vast array of topics and an impressive selection of dream specialists to share their knowledge."—Stanley Krippner, PhD, Alan Watts Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University; coauthor, Extraordinary Dreams and How to Work with Them

"I highly recommend this book that is a needed addition to the literature about dreaming. It enables you to take your child by the hand and talk with the monster under his bed. I guarantee you will discover its treasures."—Psychologist Drs. Susanne van Doorn, author of A Dreamers’ Guide through the Land of the Deceased, translator of ,i>A Theory of Dreams by Vasly Kasatkin, blogger on Mindfunda
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