What follows is a brief account of a one session application of The Rewind Technique with a client I worked with recently. Permission from the client was given to publish this article.
Ben (name changed to protect the identity of client) had been working as a security guard when he witnessed the aftermath of a suicide. A young man had jumped off a warehouse roof and, although Ben had not seen the actual moment of the suicide, he was traumatised by the sight of the damaged body.
Ben’s initial reaction was one of shock which resulted in an understandable inaction on his part. This in turn impacted on the traumatised memory with an overriding sense of guilt that he hadn’t been able to help the young man who was still alive at that time but died shortly afterwards.
When Ben came to see me, almost 6 years after the incident, he reported experiencing some common patterns of trauma – vivid memories as if they had happened very recently; avoidance of anything which might trigger any recall – in this case watching any graphic scenes of accidents or operations on TV and the strong emotional component of guilt was still present.
After listening to Ben, I concluded that The Rewind Technique was an appropriate intervention for his trauma and during one hypnotherapy session I carried out the procedure. The Rewind Technique is known for its gentle approach. It can be used for trauma and phobias without increasing stress or re-traumatising a client. Forty-five minutes later, Ben stated that the memories, although still available, had lost their vivid nature and felt more distant. He was also able to recall the time without a strong emotional content.
When I saw Ben a week later, he said he felt calm about recalling that incident and the sense of guilt was no longer with him.
He had also “tested” his level of arousal towards scenes of blood and physical injury by watching a considerable number of episodes of Grey’s Anatomy – a TV show set in a hospital emergency ward. Previously he said he would have had to look away from the screen during critical moments with revulsion; now he reported a quite understandable sense of mild squeamishness at some moments but they were far from unbearable.