Rewind Therapy: Knowledge or Experience Anyone?

I am troubled at present by PTSD. I have heard about Rewind Therapy – that it is highly effective without the need to re-live nasty stuff, but that it may depend upon the ability to visualize. 

Have any of you Aphantasics used it, either successfully or unsuccessfully?

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Hi Helen. I have cPTSD and have been in therapy for 24 years. Only at year 22 did I realize I have total multi sensory aphantasia (extending to dreams and emotions) and SDAM that has been impeding my progress. So it suddenly made sense why EMDR, SomaticExperiencing, IFS, hypnotherapy, and psychedelic assisted therapy hasn’t helped (ketamine, psilocybin, and MDMA, multiple times each.) I have not tried Rapid Eye, Brainspotting, nor Rewind therapy, as they all require sensory memory recall and imagination, none of which I have. I joined some support groups on FB, and went deep into the subReddits to learn if I was alone, but sadly I am not. There are aphants experimenting with everything imaginable (no pun intended), but so far nothing has returned their senses or their memories to be able to resolve them, transmute them, or integrate them.

Rewind therapy specifically is all about imagination. Imagine your safe space, imagine you are watching a movie of the traumatic event, imagine you are floating outside of the event, watch the movie play out, watch it backwards, watch it go forwards again at double speed, rewind it and watch it backwards again, and over and over. It’s a type of exposure therapy through imagination. It relies completely on sensory information. Primarily visualization, but also the other senses, including kinesthetic. If you are interested in it, I’d speak to the therapist about aphantasia, see if they even know what it is, and once they have a handle on it, find out how they could adapt it. 

However, based on my experience with other modalities specifically designed to heal trauma, I have not been able to find one that works on language alone, since trauma hides in the body and needs to be healed somatically. Since I have no first person memories of my life, nor can I recall things using senses, I only have factual language, which means I can’t voluntarily time travel to a specific event nor put myself in a specific emotional state. Not voluntarily that is. Of course involuntarily, I get taken over by emotional flashbacks. But I have no clues/cues as to where I am, what is happening, what memory I’m in, how old I am, etc. 

Do you have any other senses that function for you through memory or imagination? If so, some of these therapies like IFS and perhaps even EMDR (through feeling/emotion) could be adapted. I think you might only need 1 working sense to be able to adapt some of these senses. Sound, smell, touch, body through space… could all work. And if I find a modality that I can actually access, this entire network will be the first to know!

Andrea,

I am an aphant and discovered an approach to eliminate hurtful and disruptive emotions one at a time. It is rather quick and does not involve creating mental images and is ficilitated via dialogue. I am not a counselor, therapist, or psychologist, but I have been using this approach for over 40 years and have help many people. If you are interested in exploring this approach, I could send you a copy of an un-published manuscript, The Other Side of Our Emotions.  I can be reached at rich@storedfeelings.com.

Rich

Hi Andrea: thank you for spending a load of time replying in such detail, and sharing about yourself.

I certainly hope you find your own answer and the relief you need.

In my case, it is just visualization which is very weak and of little use, though I can visualize colour. Other kinds of imagination work well, and I remember in other ways. Verbal is very important as is analysis and understanding. So, there will be a method out there that will sort me out. I can also make some use of visualization meditations by imagining in other ways.

Thank you particularly for your description of Rewind Therapy. I see that it makes more use of the visual than I could have imagined (no pun intended!). Actually, the trauma wasn’t visual at all anyway: it was a phone call giving me reason to feel very frightened. Mind you, probably no experience in my life has been primarily visual! I love visual beauty, and get excited about it, but remember verbally and in feelings etc.

I have previously, successfully,  used the Gupta Programme for chronic illness exasperated by anxiety, negative thoughts etc, but it couldn’t handle the intensity of what I went through at the end of 2021. It isn’t designed for that.

The Rewind therapist I made contact with simply did not know that some folk can’t visualize. Now I have read your reply, I can understand why he then backed off saying it wouldn’t be fair to charge me for sessions. 

Could you spell out what the other abbreviations you have used stand for? All this is new to me.

I haven’t used rewind therapy but I’ve been able to use EMDR even without visuals. It is more difficult and time consuming but I use the things I do have access to, like body sensations, limited emotions, spatial orientation, and thoughts that arise. It requires a little bit of a leap of faith to process things without the visual component. I can describe more what I mean if helpful.