PTSD Imagery Rescripting

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Gem

Really looking for advice… I have ptsd and and currently working with my therapist on imagery rescripting. Finding it so difficult as I dissociate at times and remaining present in the session is a struggle. Not sure this is working as not really able to get onboard with the concept of imagination changing with happened making a difference please share your thoughts or experience
 
I do a lot of imagination work, but my therapist and I don't leap into the trauma. There's a lot of work on imagining safe environments, safe supporting people, etc. Eventually, I have been able to go back and not so much as reimagine the trauma as much as imagine a different world. For example, the house where I encountered trauma is now empty and the hurt child is walking through the house with his new, loving mother. So my two cents is that imagination is powerfully healing if I go slow enough.
 
I can definitely see how this would be helpful for a lot of folks.

For me? Nope! I have DID, and my parts kept interfering and sabotaging the script. So I’d be doing really well, reclaiming a new outcome for myself, feeling really good and liberated, and then one of my parts would jump in and decide to make the outcome even worse than the original trauma.

Some people can use their imaginations really productively for a range of therapies. Like practicing mindfulness: imagine your thoughts are clouds, floating through the sky (for me, the clouds become tornadoes and start ripping the neighbourhood apart). Or art therapy where I was “imagining what life could be like…” inevitably ending in the gates of hell opening up in front of me and swallowing me whole and…

You get the idea!

It’s actually incredibly helpful to know “this isn’t working because…”. Because it’s not a “So I can’t be fixed” situation. You now know dissociation interferes in therapy, that it distracts you, numbs you out (or however you experience dissociation).

It’s very likely to be a recurring theme in any therapy where you take on similar issues (like confronting your trauma head on, or using your imagination, or designing a positive future in your mind). So work on grounding skills, because that will help with your therapy (whichever modality you use). It’s also likely that dissociation isn’t just interfering with your therapy - this is likely a bigger problem.

And now that you know? You can work on fixing it directly.
 
It’s also likely that dissociation isn’t just interfering with your therapy - this is likely a bigger problem.
When I went slow, it wasn't just going slow--my therapist and I were exploring what was pulling me into dissociation in the first place and addressing those things.

When I was asked to imagine a safe place years ago, before I understood my dissociation, I could imagine a little room with thick walls, but then my angry father would walk through the walls and the room would be completely counterproductive. I would be trapped in the violence and it would be worse than no safe place. (With no safe place, at least I could run away.) I now have safe places, but to get there was a journey of many little steps that built up.
 
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