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The 'Rewind' Technique for PTSD, Trauma and Phobia

Image of a Television

How to apply for the Rewind technique:

If during the course of counselling I think that the Rewind technique is appropriate then I may offer it to you.

Alternatively if you think that it is something you would like to try then please do ask for it specifically.

The Rewind Technique is a guided imagery technique for healing trauma, anxiety and phobias, it is non-intrusive, safe and highly effective. It can also be understood as Imaginal Exposure Therapy which uses a process called memory reconsolidation. Rewind does not require that the traumatic experiences be retold to the therapist. It has been used extensively with soldiers who have experienced PTSD, as well as for specific anxiety, trauma and phobias. The benefit of the Rewind technique is that it does not require as many therapy sessions as traditional person centred counselling and is also faster than EMDR (a relatively popular alternative to Rewind).


The Rewind technique works by unhooking existing feelings which have been stuck, associated with past memories. The technique starts by firstly helping you to become fully relaxed, imagining a 'Relaxing place in nature'.  Using guided imagery you will then imagine watching the old scenes on an imagined television set, played fast forward and then experienced in 'rewind' (hence the name of the technique). 

The key elements of the Rewind Technique are:

  • Activation of the memory and emotional response

  • Full relaxation

  • Reviewing and revisiting of the memory, which has the effect of 'unhooking' the memory from the 'Fight or Flight' part of the brain and making it labile, allowing it to be processed in the more rational areas. After processing, the memory is then 'returned to storage' but not with the old emotions - and therefore is stored in a different part of the brain, not associated with 'Fight or Flight'. 

  • After the Rewind part of the technique has been completed, powerful and effective visualisation work is also possible. This can help start learning better ways of responding to old triggers or help review alternative more positive ways of responding to 'old' triggers.


Where necessary, repeating this process a number of times has an effect on the mind which allows it to let go of the connection between the old memory and the emotion - allowing you to be freed from that emotion. The memory remains, but no longer triggers the old emotion.

An important aspect of the rewind technique is in finding the start and end of the trauma/phobia; sometimes this can be really hard - especially in the context of complex trauma, but there are ways of working with this too. 

Whilst rewind can be incredibly effective, I like to be open about the fact that very occasionally it doesn't work. This is normal and true for all therapeutic approaches, and is why I have a few different ways of working - which can be tailored to suit you.

Quotes from my clients:

"I can only speak from a military background and the trauma associated with active service. If any ex-servicemen and women are suffering the effects of conflict I would highly recommend.


If like me you are sceptical of therapy and the approach it takes, take the step and follow your therapist. I told myself I had nothing to lose. In the end I gained a great deal."

"My advice is, go for it! I cannot believe how the technique has helped me with my situation. I was sceptical at first as I’m sure many others would be but the result is nothing short of phenomenal! My mind is now able to bypass the unwanted flashbacks/memories and trauma that plagued my day to day life. I cannot thank not only the rewind technique but John my Counsellor too. It has truly changed my life & outlook for the future."

More information can be found by clicking here.

For clients where we have used the Rewind Technique I have created a very short feedback survey - Because there is relatively little first-hand information available, I am asking if you would be prepared to share your experience of the Rewind Technique for others to benefit from. I will share the results of the survey but please understand that it is entirely anonymous and none of your personal data is shared. Thank you. 

Survey Monkey Rewind Technique Feedback Survey

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