Imagery rescripting and reprocessing therapy (IRRT) was originally developed in the mid-1990s for treating adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse (Smucker & Dancu, 1999). The treatment has now been expanded to other traumatic events such as industrial and motor vehicle accidents and violent assaults (Smucker & Boos, 2005).
IRRT includes four main components of treatment: (1) imaginal exposure, which is utilised to activate the trauma memory along with distressing emotions and related maladaptive cognitions; (2) imagery rescripting, during which the trauma memory is modified to replace victimisation/traumatic imagery with mastery and coping imagery; (3) self-calming/nurturing imagery, during which clients visualise themselves as an ADULT (today), calming, comforting and reassuring the traumatised CHILD (back then); and (4) linguistic processing, which involves transforming the traumatic imagery and emotions into a verbal narrative while simultaneously challenging related maladaptive beliefs (Grunert et al., 2003; Smucker, 1997; Smucker & Boos, 2005; Smucker & Dancu, 1999).
The goal of IRRT is to decrease PTSD and related symptoms through emotional processing of the trauma memory and to modify maladaptive schemas while increasing the survivor's ability to self-soothe (Grunert et al., 2003). Maladaptive secondary beliefs, such as powerlessness, mistrust, guilt/shame, and incompetence are challenged during the mastery and self-nurturing imagery rescripting phases (Smucker, Dancu, Foa, & Niederee, 1995). Socratic imagery during the imagery rescripting reportedly helps the survivor identify, challenge and modify maladaptive beliefs while empowering them to take mastery of the imagery (Grunert et al.; Smucker & Boos, 2005; Smucker & Dancu, 1999).
Through active cognitive restructuring, imaginal rescripting allows for transformation of the traumatic memory to an adaptive one and an emphasis on positive, corrective cognitive changes to negative secondary beliefs and pathogenic schemas (Grunert et al.; Smucker & Niederee, 1995).
According to cognitive-behavioural theorists, imagery rescripting techniques may reduce symptoms of PTSD through activation of the fear network and exposure to traumatic content resulting in habituation to trauma images and related effects. It has also been hypothesised that imagery techniques may be therapeutic because they identify and modify maladaptive beliefs, empower the client through increased mastery over the images, and improve self-soothing abilities and imagery control.
As you can see, there are effective CBT treatments to deal with the aftermath of trauma. Whether you never received treatment for your possible PTSD or your previous attempts to resolve the problem failed, you have the opportunity to undergo therapy with someone who understands the field, who works regularly with this type of problem and who is well known in Northern Ireland for her expertise and CBT therapeutic skills.
Please contact us on 02890586361 or send an email to enquire about anything you are unsure of before making an appointment.