The Rewind Technique – summary of steps
- Relaxation and anchoring. Deeply relax your client using a special place or counting them down, as in the staircase induction. Build a multi-layered sense of relaxation.
- TV screen and video. Ask the person to notice a TV and video screen in that special place and a remote control
- Double dissociation. Suggest that they can have the dream-like relaxing experience of floating out of their body and stand to the side of themselves, so that they can see themselves watching the TV, but not see the screen itself.
- Dissociated viewing. Then ask them to watch themselves watching the TV while relaxing very deeply. Get them to nod their head when they know intuitively that the self watching the screen has finished watching the ‘video’ of that old memory. If during this process you see them tensing up, then relax them back in to their special place, speak in a calm reassuring and confident voice. Carry on when you see they are comfortable.
- Rewind through the experience. Then get them to drift through time and space and go into the end of that old video to a time when everything had calmed and settled right down, way after the event. You can suggest that the unconscious mind can do this so that they don’t have to remember it. Suggest that once they notice this they can nod their head. Suggest they recall what it would be like to see a film that is being rewound very quickly from the very end to the very beginning. Then suggest that when you count to 3 your client presses the remote and experience going backwards in the video; whizzing very quickly from the end to the beginning, way before anything had happened. You can speed up your voice as you take them through this
- Watch the experience in fast forward. Ask your client to drift out of the beginning of the video and relax in the special place, and then ask them to watch the video in fast forward while relaxing very deeply to a time way after the event when everything had calmed right down.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 suggesting that they can begin to notice what it is like to have that memory while becoming even more relaxed. They can nod when they have done this, so that you know when they are experiencing the memory calmly. At this stage, the memory is de-conditioned. You can then ask them notice the differences when thinking about that memory from a different part of their brain; and what they find most reassuring or easy about that?
- Future pace if appropriate. Rehearsing how life will be without the phobic response is a vital part of the rewind. However, it is inappropriate to ask someone who has been attacked to rehearse being calm when attacked! Instead, you can ask them to take a look at the future and see how different life will be when they are more relaxed and able to live a more full life (here you will use the information gathered during the interview), feed back how your client wants life to be without the PTSD or phobia, building up a multi sensory induction is an important step.
Reorientation and demonstration of change. After the future pace, gradually re-orientate your client back to the room and scale how they feel when they thinking about that ‘old’ memory.
We strongly recommend that unless you have been trained in how to use the Rewind Technique that you do not take these steps to practice on someone with PTSD or a phobia. People with PTSD need to be treated with skill as their anxiety levels can escalate quickly.