The Rewind Technique
THE REFINED version of the Rewind Technique* (as taught by HG College for over 20 years) is a non-intrusive, safe and highly effective psychological method for detraumatising people, which can also be used for removing phobias. It should be carried out by an experienced practitioner and is only performed once a person is in a state of deep relaxation.
When they are fully relaxed, they are encouraged to bring their anxiety briefly to the surface and then are calmed down again by being guided to imagine a place where they feel totally at ease.
Their relaxed state is then deepened and they are asked to imagine that, in their special safe place, they have a TV or screen with a remote control facility. They are asked to imagine floating up high behind the screen, out of body, and to watch themselves watching the screen, without actually seeing the picture (creating what is termed 'double dissociation' – being twice removed from the event). They watch themselves watching a 'film' of the traumatic event that is still affecting them. The film begins at a point before the trauma occurred and ends at a point after the trauma is over.
They are then asked, in their imagination, to float back into their body and experience themselves going swiftly backwards through the trauma, from after it was over to before it started, as if they were a character in a film that is being rewound. Then they watch the same images but as if on the TV screen while pressing the fast-forward button (dissociation).
All this is repeated back and forth, at the highest speed that feels comfortable, and as many times as needed, till the scenes evoke no emotion from the client. If the feared circumstance is one that will be confronted again in the future — for instance, driving a car or using a lift — the person is asked, while still relaxed, to visualise themselves doing so confidently.
Besides being safe, quick and painless, the technique has the advantage of being non-voyeuristic. Intimate or painfully upsetting details do not have to be disclosed. This reduces the distress for the client, and also helps protect the therapist from the possibility of being vicariously traumatised themselves when detraumatising particularly disturbing events.
Case History: Finding Peace at Last
* History of the Rewind Technique
This technique originated from one developed by Richard Bandler, one of the founders of NLP, when it was called the visual/kinaesthetic dissociation protocol . A variant was developed by Dr David Muss, who called it the rewind technique.  The version of the rewind technique that human givens therapists use was refined by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell, co-founders of the human givens approach, to make it as reliably effective as is possible by aligning the method with their insights into how trauma and phobias are processed in the brain. HG Therapists now follow a specific Rewind Protocol which follows the essential steps of the process that Griffin and Tyrrell set out.
In 2023, the first randomised controlled trial (RCT) of the rewind technique, as practised by its founder, Dr David Muss, was published in a medical journal. It found that the rewind, delivered in this case remotely via video, showed “a large effect size in treating symptoms of PTSD” in the participants and suggests that “one to three sessions of rewind demonstrate potential as a more time- and cost-efficient trauma-focused intervention than CBT-TF [trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy] and EMDR [eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing] but with a similar effect size”. 
Unlike in the refined version of the technique in which HG practitioners are trained through Human Givens College, participants in the trial were not put into a state of deep relaxation before starting the rewind. We consider this a crucial additional element of the version we offer, which has a high success rate.
Explore our articles and interviews
Would you know if someone you care about has depression? Most people probably think that they would, but it isn’t necessarily as obvious as you might expect. Indeed, until some simple screening questionnaires were introduced for GPs to use, half of them were missing the diagnosis in patients that came to consult them.
Teacher trainer Andy Vass shows how knowledge and application of the human givens approach could help hard-pressed teachers reduce stress and improve the climate in class.
Emily Gajewski shares her case experience with working with more complex forms of PTSD
Book review: 'Lost Connections: uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions'
Denise Winn has read Lost Connections: uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions, and talked to its author, Johann Hari.
Why the human givens approach is important for psychotherapy.
Sheila Barratt-Smith tells Denise Winn that the images and language used to describe birth can determine whether a woman experiences pain — or euphoria.
We take a look at what's been achieved since two pioneering psychotherapists put a name to this powerful understanding of human nature and mental health...
Julia Welstead considers the importance of our human need for connection
Latest Tweets:Tweets by humangivens
The six SCoPEd partners have published their latest update on the important work currently underway with regards to the SCoPEd framework implementation, governance and impact assessment.
Date posted: 14/02/2024
Our next in-person HGI Conference, is being held on the weekend of 20th and 21st April 2024