Reprogramming Trauma ~ The Rewind Technique



The Rewind Technique is described in a wonderful book called Human Givens, which was written by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrell.


. The purpose of the Rewind Technique is to reprocess information or experience ‘forward’ from the more primitive limbic part of the brain  (Amygdala) to the more reasoning neo-cortex. Why some people cannot do that automatically may eventually turn out to be as a result of inbuilt genetics or earliest conditioning, post-traumatic stress or perhaps even drug use. Whatever the cause, the person who is experiencing trauma, anxiety or such like, has had certain experiences or sensations that have imprinted very strongly in that portion of the brain around the Amygdala that is responsible for the fear-response, and the brain is therefore constantly ‘scanning’ both the internal environment of their own bodies, and the external environment, looking for patterns that match the fearful templates already deeply encoded. The trigger could be a smell, a colour, a very brief period of ‘trancing’ such as those induced in susceptible people while driving or watching television, a drop in blood-sugar levels, a loud angry voice that reminds you of some authority figure from the past, a car back-firing, warm heavy weather, thirst, air pressure changes, a tiny teeny thought at the very back of the mind that starts with the words ‘what if…?’. The possibilities for triggers are as endless as are the mysteries of our selves.


The Rewind Technique evolved out of the ‘fast-phobia cure’ developed by Richard Bandler, who co-founded Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). He in turn had developed his method after watching films of Milton H. Erickson de-traumatising people while they were hypnotised. Bandler’s book is called Using Your Brain For a Change.(Real People Press 1985)




……..reprogramming anxiety……..


Sit upright or Lie down comfortably in Shavasana (that is – stretched out flat on your back; spine, neck and head in a  straight line; arms and legs straight and relaxed and not in contact with the body or each other)

Make sure that you are warm and at ease, and that you have some time where you won’t be disturbed by anyone.


You can use a Rotation of Consciousness technique (moving your awareness systematically through the different parts of the body) to help the body to become completely relaxed and at ease.

Or you can use any pleasant visualisation or method that works for you to release tension and stress from your body.


Try not to move the body once you are settled, unless you absolutely must.


Bring your attention to the space behind your closed eyes, the place where you see your dreams unfold at night.

Visualise yourself there as being in a comfortable, beautiful place, somewhere you feel completely safe and at ease.

Take your time and fill in the details of this place. It can be a totally imaginary place or one you know well and love.

Make this restful refuge solid in your mind.

(For me – I like a beach visualisation. In NLP rewind techniques sometimes a cinema visualisation is used – you imagine you are in an empty theatre watching the big screen. Some people like forests, or parks, or whatever – It’s up to yourself)

But wherever you have settled on allow yourself plenty of time to build up the image clearly, and for your body to be completely at ease.

(Some people are not very good at ”seeing” images in their mind space and this is fine and normal – build up a clear ”thought – picture” instead – describe it verbally to yourself..)

Now you should imagine that you have brought along a portable television set, complete with video or DVD player, and a remote control device.

Adjust your visualisation as necessary.


(I find it useful to imagine the body in a comfortable recliner or chair but you can use what works best for you.)


Now imagine that you ‘float’ out of your body and that you settle this ”floating” body somewhere really comfortable (another recliner.. 🙂 )…and from here you can look at yourself from a short distance away, as you are about to watch the television.

This ‘floating’ self does not see the actual television screen.


From this safe distance observe your self as you watch a RERUN on the television screen of whatever traumatic event, feeling, sensation, or activity you wish to reprogram.

So, for example, if you wish to return to driving after a traumatic incident, you will be watching yourself watch a rerun of the traumatic driving event.

You could also practise The Rewind Technique on your memories of the sensations you feel when you remember whatever trauma you are trying to reprogram.


You will be watching yourself watching a rerun of the trauma/event/sensation from the ‘safe place’ before the trauma occurred to the ‘safe place’ after the trauma occurred.


Remember you are observing yourself watching a recording of the traumatic incident – you are not actually watching the traumatic incident itself.

Take as much time as this needs, and don’t rush it.


Now, ‘float’ back gently into your body, settle yourself comfortably and press the ‘rewind’ button on the remote control device in your hand.

Watch the events unfold backwards on the television screen, speeded up, from the safe place after they occurred, to the safe place before they occurred.


Now, press ‘fast forward’ on the remote control device, and likewise watch the speeded up events from safe place to safe place.


Continue in this way a few times, rewinding and fast-forwarding, watching the incident at great speed on the screen, backwards and forwards, until any emotional reaction you feel towards the trauma, or phobia or fear, is noticeably lessened.


Now, leave off the visualisation of the ‘reruns’ and allow your body to focus again on the same safe feeling of ease and relaxation you cultivated at the beginning of the practice.

Release the musculature of the body.

See clearly the details of the inner refuge you have chosen to create for yourself.

‘Feel’ the pleasant sensations of air on your skin and ‘hear’ the sounds in your refuge….


Feel the weight of the muscles sink away into the surface of the chair or the floor or the bed.

Allow the body to be completely at ease.


When you are ready, open your eyes, stretch as necessary, and continue with your day.


It is important to note that you do not need to verbalise in any way, mentally or otherwise, the trauma or anxiety that you wish to overcome.

Because you have floated out of your body and are watching yourself watching a rerun of the event or feeling, all you have to do is concentrate on the image of yourself watching the screen and the brain will take care of the rest.


In the unlikely event of your experiencing any strongly unpleasant reaction, discontinue the practice and focus on allowing the body to relax as much as possible, before you continue with the rest of your day.


Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

Posted in Health and Healing, Uncategorized
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