Skillful Counselling: Clearing Trauma Memories
Clearing trauma memories should be an essential requirement for all councillors. Sadly that is very rarely the case. However all human givens therapists use the Rewind method and this is a vital tool for de-traumatisation.
Active trauma is much more common than you might imagine
When confronting the clearing of trauma memories, we are not just talking of an awful abuse or accident. These can evolve into post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But, many uncontrollable emotions can follow from experiences linked to loss (of a loved one or cherished ambition), to bullying, to the experience of panic attacks, to humiliation, guilt and much more.
The uncontrollable emotions then linger in the brain for years, impacting in all indirect and damaging ways. These include flashbacks, bad dreams, avoidance and so on. Indeed, strong emotion can become part of the web and weave of someone’s life. This then means that they don’t really know that they are living with an active memory. They just do their best to get on with it.
Traumatic memories cause Emotional Hijacking
Your primitive brain or amygdale is in control and your focus has narrowed to just what is in front of you. Look at the brain diagram.
You are that steam train travelling straight ahead and have no time or attention for the passing view. Or like looking through a letter box – all you can see is that hall carpet and everything else is unseen.
High emotions can exacerbate a Depression and indeed the memory of a past depression episode can itself be an active and very negative memory.
It will almost invariably be active in Anxieties.
And will often be the source of the “self medication” which leads to and feeds Addictions.
Clearing Trauma memories with the Rewind Technique
REWIND is a trance method refined from neurolinguistic programming (NLP) by the Human Given founders. It can also be understood as Imaginal Exposure Therapy. This is important, as defined this way it can be accepted as consistent with NICE guidelines.
Rewind does NOT require that the traumatic experiences be retold to the therapist. Rewind is non voyeuristic.
The key elements of REWIND are:
- Activation of the memory
- Deep relaxation
- A dissociated rehearsal and revisiting of the memory, which has the effect of shifting the memory from the crude limbic system to the pre-frontal cortex.
After the REWIND has been completed, powerful and effective trance work is also possible. This can either rehearse beneficial change or work in other ways to enhance future possibilities and resources.
All Human Givens trained practitioners use the REWIND technique to de-traumatise.
My experience is that there is REWIND work needed in around half of my clients.
Removing traumatic memories using REWIND typically lightens and shifts mood. And from this, new and empowering change is not just possible but inevitable. And in most cases, the de-traumatisation using REWIND will be undertaken early on in the therapy – in the first or (more common) second session.
Examples of clearing trauma memories
- Periods of sexual abuse by an uncle and the subsequent trauma around the lack of family support
- Experiences of a very a difficult family gathering, dominated by rejection and loneliness
- Veteran of Basra, reliving a six week period of siege
- A car accident that led to a phobia of motorways….an accident on a roof that was still causing a fear of height, fifty years later….a hospital visit with mother that was generating a needle phobia fifteen years on
- The death of a much loved parent and the subsequent pressure of having to cope
- School bullying that extended to feeling of loneliness and separation and collapsing self confidence
- A teenage school humiliation involving the breaking of equipment
- Sickness on a tube journey late at night
- Mugging attack in the middle of the street in broad daylight
- The slow realisation that a grave career mistake had been made and that at the time, nothing could be done to rectify the mistake
- Extreme embarrassment at an office presentation
- Panic attacks extending over a month with the first particularly terrifying
- The memory of the awfulness of that first depression
- Discovery as a teenager that for many years previously her much loved father had been conducting a clandestine affair
Might you have an active trauma lurking or do you know it for a fact?
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