Trauma and the brain

Rewind is associated with Phobia and PTSD which of course is correct as it does resolve a high percentage of the symptoms of both. But it does more than this which people don’t realise.
The brains response to trauma of any kind is that in that moment of high emotion where the amygdala is overwhelmed, the feelings and responses are set in place as a blueprint within the emotional brain so it has something to refer back to if anything remotely similar ‘may’ happen again.
In essence it is doing its best to protect us in the future; trouble is, it is stuck there as it waits. A bit like a fire alarm which we don’t take much notice of but we are reassured it is there, however, if it is super sensitive it will fire off over and over when it isn’t really needed. We can’t take the risk so we react/respond to it initially as if it is a real emergency obeying our flight/fight/freeze response.
Can you imagine how tiring this would become if it happened again and again….. If it’s a smoke alarm we can take the battery out in frustration but we can’t do the same with our brains response, it is pre-programmed and determined, after all it is ‘doing its job’.
Match that response to being interrupted every day from getting on with life with negative images, thoughts and feelings related to a past event! Life is difficult enough on a day to day basis without the past holding us back. Here’s where the thinking brain comes in, frustrated at being held back it may rationalise “this was years ago, why can’t you leave it behind”, “get over it” etc.? The response to this self-questioning when we can’t do it is self-criticism and despair.
Sometimes we do not even make these connections as the subconscious brain may keep it from us dependant on the strength of initial overwhelm in the moment of trauma. If it didn’t overwhelm us we are able to settle back down, make some rational responses and move on with maybe some measure of caution; at this level we are aware we are doing it and can perhaps talk ourselves through it. But very often we have pushed the initial trauma/disturbance so far down we do not link our overreactions, bad dreams, nightmares, flashbacks and avoidant behaviour to the event itself. Often it is those around us that notice the withdrawal, behaviour which is out of character including coping by overuse of drink, drugs, violent behaviour etc. It is not a coincidence that many prisons have a high percentage of veterans, survivors of abuse etc. Also unresolved trauma is often at the bottom of broken relationships. Traumatised people believe they are broken beyond repair; many say they don’t know who they are anymore. The trauma has changed them and the body “keeps the score” Does any of this ring bells with you as a therapist seeing many clients who can’t move on or give up on therapy as “it doesn’t work for me”?
There is an answer – Using the rewind technique is the best way to help them to move on quickly as this client records:-
“Since the rewind session I have not thought about the issues I had once, I still find it amazing how the rewind was able to simply stop what was happening never to be thought of again. Thank you; there was a point I felt I would be carrying that unwanted baggage for the rest of my life. All those issues have gone and opened up more space in my head to allow myself to think about other things”.