Video recording: Rewriting Trauma

Hola, how is everyone this dreary day? So in response to a suggestion on the Whiteboarding topic, thought I would pop in to share a technique I use and share with a group I run. I know that in certain parts of PTSD recovery, any mention of it at all can be difficult. If this where you are at, I suggest moving on.

So I am not religiously active here. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Kirsten. Most people call me “K.” That is for no other reason than I get annoyed watching people get their panties in a bunch because they mispelled/mispronounced my name. It is easier than explaining that at this point in my life I couldn’t give a flying fuck what you call me. Just don’t call me late for dinner. Especially pizza. Never fucking call me late for pizza.

I learned many moons ago that (this is just my opinion) just because we experience trauma doesn’t mean it has to control us. We are not our trauma. We are not victims. We are responsible for how we handle our trauma. That recovery is possible if we really want it. Over time I picked up a technique, a mental exercise to deal with trauma and flashbacks. Last year I was hired by my mental health provider a paid job in peer support running groups with fellow patients in trauma recovery. I will explain the technique I use in group.

Our memories are not unlike a video recording. VHS, DVD…its all the same. Like any recording, it can be rewound, paused, stopped…etc. It takes practice, but it is possible. You just have to WANT to do it. That was a hard pill to swallow. Sometimes it is easier to marinate in our own bullshit than to accept we have power over it. Pain is predictable. Reliable. A deranged kind of security. Recovery is not. It is scary, unpredictable, and hard work. Techniques like this require a sincere desire to accomplish.

Memories are not what we think they are. Just because we have put something to memory doesn’t mean it will stay like that forever. When we remember something, we are really remembering the last time we remembered it. Our memories often work like the game telephone. The message changes from one person to the next. With each recollection of that memory, details can and will change. Our brain “rewires” that memory every time you remember it. The video recording technique takes advantage of how our brains process memory.

To do this, find a safe place. Could be with a trusted friend, a therapist…etc. Recall that memory. Treat it like a recording. Pause when you need to take a break. Fast forward. rewind. When you’ve gotten the hang of it, imagine replacing parts or all of the memory with one of your own creation. As though you are rewriting it. I like to visualize I’m watching my favorite memory on my grandmothers old box TV with my trauma on a VHS tape. I hit the record button the VHS to record what’s on now over what’s on the tape.

You are obviously free to design your own variation of it.

Keep practicing until you feel confident that it has worked. This may need to be redone every so often.

Be careful when and how you do this. Never do this during or shortly after a flashback. Wait until at least a few weeks after an attack to practice. If at any point during the exercise you don’t feel safe, potentially putting yourself or someone else at risk, please call someone. Emergency, your support…whatever. Remember your coping skills.

I hope this is useful. Thank you for reading :slight_smile:


Perfect timing @pantherpaw! Thank you for sharing this!


Not a problem



I agree with this 100%. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I was today years old when I learned this.

This is unbelievable. Thank you for sharing this!


Oh yeah, it was a real mind fuck to learn this. Surprisingly I first heard about it when i did note taking for one of my students criminal justice class before my learning and memory courses.

When we imprint something into our long term memory it is packed in with our current perceptions and understanding of the event. Every time we recall the event we are recalling the memory of the event and each time it can be tainted with new perspectives, or even gaps in the memory filled in with whatever makes the most sense to us. Then that updated and refreshed memory is imprinted back in. It’s why memory was brought up in her class, because witnesses are the least reliable form of evidence yet highly relied on.