Skillful Counselling 4: Clearing bad Traumatic Memories

Active trauma is much more common than you might imagine

We are not just talking of an awful abuse or accident, which can evolve into post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For many, these 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 – flashbacks, bad dreams, avoidance and so on.  Indeed, strong emotion can become part of the web and weave of someone’s life – so that they don’t really know that they are living with an active memory and they just do their best to get on with it.

Often this state of high arousal is called emotional hijacking – which conveys very well what is going on.  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

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.

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.

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.

Might you have an active trauma lurking or do you know it for a fact?