This article explains that however bad we feel when we are experiencing trauma and PTSD symptoms, it is still possible to harness the power of our minds for good – for healing purposes. Trauma recovery and visualisation actually go hand in hand – visualisation is an extremely powerful technique which directs the imagination to help an individual access all their senses for the purpose of achieving a particular goal.
What is Visualisation?
Visualisation or guided imagery involves the use of symbols, images, storytelling, and metaphors which can be used to create positive images in the mind. Because trauma may be stored in the unconscious processes of the brain, talking about the traumatic event may not be able to access them. Using visualisation can enable us to access sensory memories deep within the brain so helping to reduce the physiological effects of the trauma, bringing balance and harmony to the mind and body, reducing numbness, promoting self-soothing during a flashback or nightmare, increasing confidence, reducing shame, stress, anxiety and depression and improving sleep.
The Rewind Technique
The Rewind technique is a powerful non-intrusive, safe and highly effective psychological method for detraumatising people which I have used myself many many times as a trauma therapist. I am always amazed and delighted by the results. It is thought that the process works as the traumatic memory is ‘re-processed’ by the higher cortex, enabling the emergency pattern to be released by the amydala and the memory to be ‘re-classified’ as non-threatening. Thus, the pattern-match that was causing the anxiety and panic no longer occurs. Originally created by the originators of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) further refined by Joseph Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell of the Human Givens Institute, which is the organisation I trained with.
The therapist relaxes their client deeply, and then gradually guides him to experience himself going swiftly backwards through the trauma, as if he were a character in a video, which is being rewound. The therapist then asks him to view the trauma as if in fast forward on a TV screen. There is no need for the client to disclose details of the trauma.
Some Online Resources
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8e4sATalz8 An example of a guided imagery session for PTSD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhmXM2IzkuI Video of leading guided imagery writer and speaker, Belleruth Naperstek.
See also Belleruth Naperstek’s excellent: Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (2005) Bantam UK.
Need some advice and support?
If you are struggling with any of the issues raised in this article, or indeed any other emotional issues or life challenges and would like to talk things over in complete confidentiality, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.
Book a counselling session today!