Mervin Smucker. Overview of imagery Rescripting

Imagery Rescripting is an imagery-focused treatment originally designed to alleviate posttraumatic stress symptomatology and alter trauma-related beliefs and schemas (e.g. powerlessness, unloveability, inherent badness, abandonment) of adults who experienced childhood trauma.  The therapy combines imaginal exposure (visually recalling and re-experiencing the traumatic images, thoughts, and associated affect) with imaginal rescripting (replacing traumatic imagery with mastery imagery), and self-nurturing imagery.  Through the rescripting process, the internalized victimization images are altered and the traumagenic beliefs and schemas can be identified and challenged.  The use of imagery allows these trauma-related schemas to be visually activated through the eyes of the “traumatized child” and challenged, modified, and reprocessed through the eyes of the empowered “adult self.”

The standard treatment program consists of eight sessions (plus two follow-up sessions) ranging in length from 1-2 hours each. Imagery Rescripting sessions are best held on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  It is generally preferable to meet more often (e.g., once a week) in the beginning of treatment, and then meet less frequently in the latter part of treatment (e.g., once every two weeks).  Audio-recordings are made of each Imagery Rescripting session and given to the client as homework for daily listening.  A minimum of two follow-up sessions are recommended at one month and three months post-treatment.

Mervin Smucker

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