The Effectiveness of the Rewind Technique in Treating PTSD Symptoms of Intrusiveness and Avoidance in Violence Survivors

Anna Maria Meneghini, Sergio Poletti, Sofia Morandini, David Muss


Objective: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that dramatically affects the lives of many individuals and negatively impacts public health. Treating PTSD symptoms is often time-consuming, and exhausting for both victim and therapist. This article describes the initial results of a study aimed to test the three-month effectiveness of the Rewind Technique. The Rewind Technique is a therapy shown to reduce PTSD symptoms of Intrusiveness and Avoidance in one (in most cases) to three sessions without the victim being required to disclose details of the traumatic event. Being trauma-focused, the protocol aims to prevent the patient's involuntary recall (internal and external triggers) thus decreasing feelings of fear and anxiety yet retaining voluntary recall. 

Method: Participants (N = 15; Mage = 36.13; 100% female) were recruited at a local anti-violence center. The study has a longitudinal design with four sections. In addition to the treatment section, three assessment sections have been devoted to detecting PTSD symptoms through the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) and the Impact Event Scale (IES). The participants’ symptoms have been assessed before and two times after treatment (two weeks and three months after).

Results: The data collected revealed that, irrespective of time from the traumatic event, thirteen (86.67%) of the fifteen women involved in the study had clinically significant reductions in PTSD symptoms two weeks after the treatment as it was equal to or greater than 7 points (i.e., clinically significant change). In addition, the comparison between PCL-5 scores pre- and three months after the treatment showed that, on average, at the last assessment, the score was significantly lower (z = -3.408; p<.001) and that 60% of the participants reported no diagnosis of PTSD.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that Rewind Technique is a particularly suitable technique to be used in contexts such as anti-violence centers, thanks to its features being fast, effective long term, and easy to impart. Despite limitations (i.e., low number of subjects involved, no use of a control group, only one psychologist treated all the participants), we hope that these encouraging results will prompt therapists and researchers to collect further evidence.


Rewind Technique; PTSD; anti-violence centers; Clinical Psychology.

Full Text:



Adams, S., & Allan, S. (2018). Muss’ Rewind treatment for trauma: description and multi-site pilot study. Journal of Mental Health, 27(5), 468-474.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

Bardhoshi, G., Erford, B. T., Duncan, K., Dummett, B., Falco, M., Deferio, K., & Kraft, J. (2016). Choosing assessment instruments for posttraumatic stress disorder screening and outcome research. Journal of Counseling & Development, 94(2), 184-194.

Bennett, L., Riger, S., Schewe, P., Howard, A., Wasco, S. (2004). Effectiveness of hotline, advocacy, counseling, and shelter services victims of domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19, 815-829.

Bisson, J. I., Berliner, L., Cloitre, M., Forbes, D., Jensen, T. K., Lewis, … & N. P. & Shapiro, F. (2019). The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies New Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of PTSD: Methodology and Development Process. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 32, 475-483.

Bisson, J. I., Roberts, N. P., Andrew, M., Cooper, R., & Lewis, C. (2013). Psychological therapies for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12.

Blevins, C. A., Weathers, F. W., Davis, M. T., Witte, T. K., & Domino, J. L. (2015). The posttraumatic stress disorder checklist for DSM‐5 (PCL‐5): Development and initial psychometric evaluation. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28(6), 489-498.

Bonanno, G. A. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events?. American Psychologist, 59(1), 20.

Bovin, M. J., Marx, B. P., Weathers, F. W., Gallagher, M. W., Rodriguez, P., Schnurr, P. P., & Keane, T. M. (2016). Psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist for diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders–fifth edition (PCL-5) in veterans. Psychological Assessment, 28(11), 1379.

Burrai, J., Quaglieri, A., Lausi, G., Fraschetti, A., Couyoumdjian, A., Guidoni, U., Vedovi, S.; Ferracuti, S., Giannini, A.M., & Mari, E. (2021). A model of Early Psychological Intervention for Direct and Indirect Road Victims. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 9(3).

Coffey, S. F., Gudmundsdottir, B., Beck, J. G., Palyo, S. A., & Miller, L. (2006). Screening for PTSD in motor vehicle accident survivors using the PSS-SR and IES. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 19(1), 119-128.

Craig, C. D., & Sprang, G. (2010). Compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, and burnout in a national sample of trauma treatment therapists. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 23(3), 319-339.

Creamer, M. (2000). Posttraumatic stress disorder following violence and aggression. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 5(5), 431-449.

Dalgleish, T., Black, M., Johnston, D., & Bevan, A. (2020). Transdiagnostic approaches to mental health problems: Current status and future directions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88(3), 179.

Dancey, C. P., & Friend, J. (2008). Symptoms, impairment and illness intrusiveness–their relationship with depression in women with CFS/ME. Psychology and Health, 23(8), 983-999.

Devilly, G. J., & Foa, E. B. (2001). The investigation of exposure and cognitive therapy: Comment on Tarrier et al. (1999). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69(1), 114-116.

Dunmore, E., Clark, D. M., & Ehlers, A. (2001). A prospective investigation of the role of cognitive factors in persistent Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after physical or sexual assault. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 39(9), 1063–1084.

Dymond, S., Bennett, M., Boyle, S., Roche, B., & Schlund, M. (2018). Related to anxiety: Arbitrarily applicable relational responding and experimental psychopathology research on fear and avoidance. Perspectives on Behavior Science, 41(1), 189-213.

Elklit, A. (2009). Traumatic stress and psychological adjustment in treatment-seeking women sexually abused in childhood: A follow-up. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 50(3), 251-257.

Frazier, P., Berman, M., & Steward, J. (2001). Perceived control and posttraumatic stress: A temporal model. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 10(3), 207-223.

Gray, R. M., & Liotta, R. F. (2012). PTSD: Extinction, reconsolidation, and the visual-kinesthetic dissociation protocol. Traumatology, 18(2), 3-16.

Hamblen, J. L., Grubbs, K. M., Cole, B., Schnurr, P. P., & Harik, J. M. (2022). “Will it work for me?” Developing patient-friendly graphical displays of posttraumatic stress disorder treatment effectiveness. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 35(3), 999-1010.

Hancock, L., & Bryant, R. A. (2018). Perceived control and avoidance in posttraumatic stress. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 9(1), 1468708.

Hartford, L., & Horrocks, M. (2023). Muss Rewind Therapy to alleviate symptoms related to some form of traumatic experience: A thematic analysis of participants' experiences and their perceived effectiveness of MRT. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 1-17.

Hildebrand, A., Grand, D., & Stemmler, M. (2017). Brainspotting–the efficacy of a new therapy approach for the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in comparison to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 5(1).

Horowitz, M. J. (1986). Stress-response syndromes (2nd ed.). Jason Aronson.

Horowitz, M., Wilner, N., & Alvarez, W. (1979). Impact of Event Scale: a measure of subjective stress. Psychosomatic Medicine, 41(3), 209-218.

Joseph, S. (2000). Psychometric evaluation of Horowitz’s Impact Event Scale: A review. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 13, 101-113.

Kleim, B., Ehlers, A., & Glucksman, E. (2007). Early predictors of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder in assault survivors. Psychological Medicine, 37, 1457–1467.

Liu, N., Zhang, F., Wei, C., Jia, Y., Shang, Z., Sun, L., … & Liu, W. (2020). Prevalence and predictors of PTSS during COVID-19 outbreak in China hardest-hit areas: Gender differences matter. Psychiatry Research, 287, 112921.

Livanou, M., Basoglu, M., Marks, I. M., De Silva, P., Noshirvani, H., Lovell, K., & Thrasher, S. (2002). Beliefs, sense of control and treatment outcome in posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychological Medicine, 32, 157–165.

Maercker, A., Brewin, C. R., Bryant, R. A., Cloitre, M., van Ommeren, M., Jones, L. M., ... & Reed, G. M. (2013). Diagnosis and classification of disorders specifically associated with stress: Proposals for ICD-11. World Psychiatry, 12, 198–206.

Merlo, E., Myles, L., & Settineri, S. (2022). Editorial: A Call for Greater Specification of Core Beliefs. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 10(3).

Muss, D. (1991a). The trauma trap: A self-help programme for overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder. Transworld.

Muss, D. (1991b). A new technique for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 30(1), 91-92.

Muss, D. C. (2002). The Rewind Technique. In C. R. Figley, (Ed), Brief treatments for the traumatized: A project of the Green Cross Foundation. Contributions in Psychology, (39). Greenwood press.

Myles, L. (2021). The Emerging Role of Computational Psychopathology in Clinical Psychology. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 9(1).

Myles, L., Connolly, J., & Stanulewicz, N. (2020). The Mediating Role of Perceived Control and Desire for Control in the Relationship between Personality and Depression. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 8(3).

Myles, L., Merlo, E., & Obele, A. (2021). Desire for Control Moderates the Relationship between Perceived Control and Depressive Symptomology. Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences, 8(2), 229-305.

Negri, L., Sacchi, C., Accardi, R., Simonelli, A., & Bassi, M. (2022). Posttraumatic stress disorder checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). Latent structure analysis and measurement invariance in a sample of Italian health workers during the covid-19 pandemic. TPM: Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 29(4).

Newman, E., Kaloupek, D. G., & Keane, T. M. (1996). Assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder in clinical and research settings. In B. A. van der Kolk, A. C. McFarlane, & L. Weisaeth (Eds.), Traumatic stress: The effects of overwhelming experience on mind, body, and society (pp. 242–275). The Guilford Press.

Olff, M., Amstadter, A., Armour, C., Birkeland, M. S., Bui, E., Cloitre, M., ... & Thoresen, S. (2019). A decennial review of psychotraumatology: what did we learn and where are we going?. European journal of psychotraumatology, 10(1), 1672948.

Pietrantonio, F., De Gennaro, L., Di Paolo, M. C., & Solano, L. (2003). The Impact of Event Scale: validation of an Italian version. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 55(4), 389-393.

Platania, S., Castellano, S., Petralia, M. C., Digrandi, F., Coco, M., Pizzo, M., & Di Nuovo, S. F. (2020). The moderating effect of the dispositional resilience on the relationship between Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and the professional quality of life of the military returning from the peacekeeping operations. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 8(3).

Pomicino, L., Beltramini, L., & Romito, P. (2019). Freeing oneself from intimate partner violence: a follow-up of women who contacted an anti-violence center in Italy. Violence Against Women, 25(8), 925–944.

Robbins, I., & Hunt, N. (1996). Validation of the IES as a measure of the long‐term impact of war trauma. British Journal of Health Psychology, 1(1), 87-89.

Romito, P., Marchand-Martin, L., Pellegrini, M., & Saurel-Cubizolles, M. (2022). Partner’s violence during the COVID-19 lockdown and women’s fear: a study involving anti-violence centres in Italy, Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 6(2), 278-296.

Scull, A. (2021). American psychiatry in the new millennium: a critical appraisal. Psychological Medicine, 51(16), 2762-2770.

Somma, A., Maffei, C., Borroni, S., Gialdi, G., & Fossati, A. (2019). Post traumatic reactions as individual differences: Latent structure analysis of the international trauma questionnaire in Italian trauma-exposed and non-trauma exposed adults. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 7(1).

Steel, C., Macdonald, J., Schröder, T., & Mellor-Clark, J. (2015). Exhausted but not cynical: burnout in therapists working within Improving Access to Psychological Therapy Services. Journal of Mental Health, 24(1), 33-37.

Sveen, J., Bondjers, K., & Willebrand, M. (2016). Psychometric properties of the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5: a pilot study. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 7(1), 30165.

Troisi, G., & Nunziante Cesàro, A. (2021). Post-Traumatic Affects and Intimate Partner Violence: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 9(1), 1-27.

Utuza, A. J., Joseph, S., & Muss, D. (2012). Treating traumatic memories in Rwanda with the rewind technique: two-week follow-up after a single group session. Traumatology, 18(1), 75-78.

Watson, P. (2019). PTSD as a public mental health priority. Current Psychiatry Reports, 21(61).

Weathers, F. W., Litz, B. T., Keane, T. M., Palmieri, P. A., Marx, B. P., & Schnurr, P. P. (2013). The ptsd checklist for dsm-5 (pcl-5). Scale available from the National Center for PTSD.

Wright, L. A., Barawi, K., Simon, N., Lewis, C., Muss, D., Roberts, N. P., … & Bisson, J. I. (2021). The reconsolidation using rewind study (RETURN): trial protocol. European Journal of Psychotraumatology,12(1), 1844439.



  • There are currently no refbacks.