Distressed people have one or more of the following characteristics: 1. they take their dreams too seriously, 2. they have difficulty containing the emotion of the dream, or distracting themselves from it, after awakening, 3. they are experiencing a great deal of life stress and/or have problems in their waking psychosocial adjustment.
If the individual truly wishes to eliminate the distressing content rather than focus on their reactions, there are techniques which are usually much faster than inducing control or lucidity: sleeping with a light on, daily practice of deep relaxation, systematic desensitization, waking rehearsal of the dream changing the ending to a more positive one, etc.
In working with individuals presenting with both waking and dreaming problems ... I avoid most dream work, even interpretation (and I include the induction of lucid dream as dream work), with any person who lacks a firm "grounding" in the world. ... Ultimately I view dream work as a set of techniques ideally suited for self exploration and development, but not necessarily useful for establishing equilibrium in distressed individuals.
Source: Lucidity Letter, vol 8 no 1 1989
Contributed by: blue dragon