Clinical Uses of Sleep-Talking
A prevailing opinion among depth psychologists is that emotionally charged mentation unavailable to wakeful consciousness is typically a pathogenic factor in psychologic suffering. It is surprising, therefore, that so few references have appeared in the literature describing possible therapeutic uses of sleep-talking. Certainly this is not a novel thought.
Perhaps the earliest such mention is that of Esquirol ( 1832), who believed that the underlying basis of a "delirium" (i.e., psychosis) is often revealed in words spoken by patients out of dreams rather than in their wakeful productions. The next related comment known to me is that of Andriani ( 1892), who advised physicians that dreams and somniloquy provide very useful information with which to investigate the diseases of the nervous system and, specifically, those of the brain. Although, as previously mentioned, material involving sleep-talking appeared sporadically, and mostly in dribs and drabs, no clinician known to me described utilizing sleep-talking in some specific technical manner until Janet ( 1925). In his comprehensive treatise on psychotherapeutics, he stated that:
Madame D's traumatic memories were mainly brought to light, to begin with at any rate, by a study of her dreams. In all these cases, we were careful to write down the actual words used by the subject during the state of sleep, to record them without any modification. Madame D was kept under observation while