If you are considering the rewind technique it’s good to know a little about about how the brain works and how the rewind technique supports it.
The human brain is responsible for processing and storing all of the many forms of sensory input we receive every minute of the day. Utilising it’s complex structure to build understanding and reasoning, developing memories and knowledge.
Psychologists have theorised that the brain and the body move between three states (see below). As humans we expect to exist primarily in the Soothing and Connection state, in this state we are calm and relaxed, building connections with those around us
When we experience exposed to danger or the threat of danger our brain and body moves into the Threat and Protection state. We are on high alert, and our brain switches its functioning and thought processes to survival; this increases adrenalin, heart rate and respiration ready to react quickly.
The amygdala (the reactive part of the brain) takes over from the logical thinking cortex in order to keep you safe. This way of processing information is what kept our ancestors safe.
How does this affect day to day life?
Imagine you are walking through the countryside and something jumps out of the undergrowth ahead of you….. It could be a rabbit or it could be a wolf (not many of these in the UK these days I know, but for our ancestors this was a big threat).
Your brain will switch to the threat and protection mode as the amygdala takes over to keep you safe.
The switch to the “Threat and Protection” state allows you to immediately react; hopefully saving you from being mauled by a wolf. You jump backwards ready to run.
As the situation is processed by the brain and you realise it was a rabbit; your brain and body switch back to the Soothing and Connection state. The brains stores the information away so that next time a similar situation arises you can respond appropriately:
“Generally no wolves around here, if something jumps out at you in the future it’s likely to be a rabbit”.
What happens when you experience trauma?
When trauma occurs when the brain cannot move from the “Threat and Protection” state to the “Soothing and Connection” state after an experience. It is almost as if the brain holds onto the experience, refusing to let go. This leads to the experience not being correctly processed. This can lead to you feeling trapped in a cycle of being on high alert, unable to process a memory and experiencing feelings of anxiety, helplessness, stress, tension, anger, replying the memory over and over again, or focusing on small details of what happened.
The rewind technique utilises guided relaxation and discussion to help you find a way through your trauma, in effect helping the brain to let go of it. This allows you to move back into the “Soothing and Connection” state when you think about the experience.
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