I treated a young man for symptoms of PTSD a little while ago.
I am used to resolving symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in one session as part of my work as a psychotherapist and therapeutic coach. The result with this client was immediate and spectacular but still felt almost magical to me, even though I’ve done it successfully so many times before.
It was easy to do too, and only took a few minutes. I just had to intercept a traumatic memory and some pattern matching my client had embedded as the result of a minor road traffic accident in his father’s car.
The technique I used is called ‘Rewind’. On this occasion I combined it with a bit of positive mental rehearsal. It did the trick nicely and he was back driving again that very day. He passed his test a few weeks later.
But Michael had been on the point of cancelling all his remaining driving lessons when he came to me. Since the accident in his father’s car, he found he was shaking uncontrollably every time he got into the driver’s seat and couldn’t even bring himself to pull away from the kerb.
Just imagine the consequences if my counselling skills had been confined to nodding, empathising and listening? He would have been encouraged to tell his story over and over in the hope the anxiety would resolve itself somehow.
Sadly that doesn’t generally happen with long term trauma problems. They really do require trauma-focused interventions like imaginal exposure, which is exactly what the Rewind technique is. Imaginal exposure is also central to trauma-focused CBT and EMDR which generally take much longer than one session to resolve distressing PTSD symptoms such as panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks.
People need to be made aware
Still not enough people know about Rewind for PTSD; public and practitioners alike, which is precisely why its innovator, Dr David Muss has been promoting it to mental health professionals all over the UK this year. It was the main reason I wrote my book PTSD Resolution and why I decided to include it as part of the study programme for the Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Diploma.
Others share my concerns about the lack of knowledge out there and I had a real crie de coeur arrive in my inbox just last week. Coincidentally it was right in the middle of my preparations for the Rewind work shop I was running, so it really caught my attention.
Forgive me if I’m poking my nose in where it doesn’t belong but … I caught the end of an interview being conducted on LBC Radio this morning …..with a soldier with PTSD who’d been helped by the “xxxxxx xxxxxx” charity.
The soldier said they are told the PTSD won’t go away but they teach them how to manage the condition.… I was appalled to hear that these guys/girls are being told they are stuck with it – there is no ‘cure’ only management – when you have techniques that can bring about resolution.’
Frustratingly, our Government are aware of Rewind and so is NICE, but still it has not found its way onto NICE guidelines for accepted treatments for PTSD, even though it’s been around for over 50 years in various forms.
The Freudian link
Richard Bandler, originator of Neuro Linguistic Programming, was a big fan of the technique and used it to quickly cure phobias. He wrote about it in his book ‘Using your Brain for a Change’ published in 1985, saying:
‘I discovered that the human mind does not learn slowly. It learns quickly. Teaching someone how, and when, to associate or dissociate from thoughts or emotions is one of the most profound and pervasive ways to change the quality of a person’s experience, and the behaviour that results from it. Dissociation is particularly useful for intensely unpleasant memories.’
Dr David Muss originally described Rewind for PTSD in his book ‘The Trauma Trap’ in 1991. I heard from him recently. I had told him I was running a workshop and wondered what his current research was indicating in terms of success rates. He replied:
‘….Group therapy, any number, the known success rate is 85% after one session. Given a chance we could have improved that had we been able to repeat the Rewind for the 15%. Individual success rate continues to be around the 90-95%….’
This really is an extraordinary success rate for a problem which is ruining many people’s lives and the lives of their families too.
So why are veterans still being advised their PTSD ‘won’t go away…?’
Your guess is as good as mine but, if you are suffering, take a look at Dr Muss’s website where he takes you through the whole technique or find a Rewind practitioner to work with.
There’s really no need to continue to suffer any longer.
Help is at hand…
The Rewind Technique, Mindfulness Based Mind Management (advanced MBSR), worrying well, solution focus, guided visualisation, resolving addiction, epigenetics, mapping the connectome, polyvagal theory, the reticular activating system (RAS), secondary gain, trauma resolution, coaching for kids, treating depression, worrying well, working SMART, therapeutic stories, insight, psycho education, suicide prevention, affirmations, positive mental rehearsal, imagery, dissociation, goal setting, new paradigms, reframes, fast track learning, perception shifting, self actualisation, positive psychology, reframing, metaphor, personal empowerment, motivational thinking, lifting depression, the happiness principle, resilience and resourcefulness, human flourishing, anchoring, rewiring your brain, the STOP System, the SAFE SPACE happiness recipe, holistic coaching and working on the continuum of wellbeing plus many other professional theories, tools and techniques underpin the content of the fast paced, fast track, Fusion training programmes.