Paul had trained as a design engineer and was very successful in his chosen career.
However he was being plagued by increasingly severe panic attacks which had started three years ago. His life was now dominated by the attacks which had sometimes been so severe that he had been taken to hospital by ambulance.
He said his goal for our work together was to ‘ just get through 24 hours without an attack.’
We worked together during that first session using a guided visualisation technique where he played and rewound a ‘film’ of the first panic attack on an imagined TV screen until he felt calm and detached. The technique is called ‘Rewind.’
I then taught him my own STOP System tm for halting future attacks, with relaxed breathing and mentally rehearsal of how his life would look without the disruptive high anxiety he had been experiencing for so long.
He returned the following week with news that he had not had one single attack since we last met. Back then, when I had first started using these advanced psychotherapeutic skills, I was surprised it had worked so quickly.
These days I am surprised if it does not.
A first Rewind
I taught this powerful technique to resolve PTSD to a therapist recently for use with a young girl who had been traumatised by the break up of her parents.
The memory was so vivid in her mind that she could recount every detail of the day she was told, including the toys she had been playing with, where everyone sat in the room and what she was wearing. The event had happened over four years ago when she was only six years old.
She was now unhappy, tearful and tried to avoid all reminders of the event.
This was finally resolved in one brief session of Rewind. When she returned for the following session two weeks later, she said. ‘I feel different. I feel ok.’ and she now wanted to talk about how to deal with her annoying big brother instead!
The therapist had told me that, when her client had previously talked about the event, she was had been close to tears and the child’s high emotional arousal had been very visible in the room. The change was dramatic and the therapist was very pleased with the result although, as she admitted ‘I felt very nervous and I went over and over the script before the session. I wanted to get it right. It seemed so simple I wondered if it could work.’
In my experience, practitioners have the competence to use this simple and effective guided visualisation technique but many do not have the confidence.
The debate goes on
I had an intellectual debate recently with some academics. We were talking about the Rewind technique. I referred to the area in the brain where insight occurs which, to current understanding, is located in the right temporal lobe.
They disagreed, citing the need for more research.
Of course there is a need for more research. That will take motivation, time, money and resources and, in fact MRI research into Rewind is now underway by Professor Richard Bryant. He is a big name in the field of PTSD.
His research is not focused on if Rewind works, this is a given, but how it works and whether it is the amygdala or medial pre frontal cortex which is most significant in its effectiveness.
While we wait for his findings I (and other enlightened therapeutic practitioners) am using a technique which has the potential to resolve PTSD in just one session. It is the subject of my book PTSD Resolution.
How does it work?
We are still not sure.
But I don’t need to know exactly how my car works to drive it effectively and get safely from A to B.
I don’t need to know how, when I flick a switch in my home, a glass ball illuminates the dust in all the corners.
I don’t need to know how, when I turn a dial, voices from anywhere in the world can speak to me from a box I call the radio.
What I do know is how to use these things. I have confidence they work because I have used them successfully for many years.
At the moment, our understanding of the human brain and mind are moving forward very fast but, because we are not talking about a mechanical object, there is still ongoing debate about how we function.
Meanwhile,Dr David Muss, originator of Rewind for resolution of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, has put a very useful self help video on you tube and, whether you are a sufferer or a mental health practitioner, you can find out more about this one very powerful tool to resolve PTSD: