Dr Muss gave a brief history of his life and varied career prior to his development of RT in 1988. Dr Muss’ family moved from the USA following the Second World War, living briefly in the UK and then moving to Italy where he later studied medicine at the University of Rome, graduating in 1968. For several years Dr Muss was a Paediatric Surgeon and then, for five years, a Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon and eventually, due to the death of his Direttore di Pediatria, moving to the UK to become a GP until 1996. Since 1988, Dr. Muss has worked as the Director of the PTSD UNIT at the BMI Hospital, Birmingham here in the UK.

Dr Muss was very particular regarding the application of the technique and put his volunteers through their paces in live demonstrations, ensuring they got it “just so”. He was very clear that he used RT only for traumatised clients whom he assessed using a short version of the Impacts of Events Scale. Prior to introducing us to the technique, Dr Muss gave an overview of post-traumatic stress, post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociation, sharing some of his rationale for developing RT, including his own personal experience of trauma and his training in hypnotherapy and NLP.

Dr Muss put forward that RT helps clients to “reconstruct” their perception of a traumatic event, dis-connecting disturbing emotion from the associated memory. The technique itself entails asking the client to “play a game”, the game is about two films- one running forward and the other backwards. There is one rule about playing the game and that is that the client remains detached from the traumatic event; Muss explained the importance of having the client understand this and to stress this segment, he asked the group to think about a time they had been on a roller coaster or on a boat (or similar experience) and recall what it felt like; did we feel sick, anxious etc.? He then asked us to imagine that if this experience had been filmed and we watched this film would we feel the same way about the experience? This is the basic premise of RT, the client stays detached, seeing the traumatic event from a safe distance e.g. seeing themselves sitting in a cinema looking at the event on the screen.

The first film starts from a “good” point before the traumatic event and runs exactly how they recall it with sights, sounds and smells (?) etc. when the traumatic event is reached the film stops.
For the second film the client imagines stepping into the screen at the point of the traumatic event and immediately the film is rewound, pulling the client backwards at great speed with everything going away from them until they arrive again at the “good” point prior to the traumatic event.

Dr Muss purports that the RT can take as little as 2 minutes for the first film to run and 5-10 seconds for the rewind to occur with a success rate of 80%.

Anyone interested in hearing what Dr Muss has to say about RT can visit this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTaY9jC1TEU

An interesting day, with plenty of discussion and food for thought.

Steve Leach