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Therapy (PC)

PC is a psychotherapy procedure for resolving trauma or loss memories via memory reconsolidation.


 It entails guiding the client to imagine a movie of the distressing memory, from beginning to end, while the therapist counts aloud first from 1-10, then 1-20, then 1-30, etc., to a maximum of 100.


As the distress level goes down, the movie gets shorter. This continues until no memory-related distress remains.


PC can be done as a stand-alone treatment or within the context of a comprehensive phase model of trauma-informed treatment.

PC addresses the following:

A wide range of emotional or behavioral problems for which unresolved trauma/loss may be a contributing factor, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), grief, panic attacks, among others.


  • The therapist guides the client to identify a beginning and ending of the ¨movie about the distressing event¨,  each of which (beginning and ending) are not part of the upsetting event, but rather outside the event, and part of the broader life story.

  • The therapist will count aloud from 1-10 (then 1-20, etc.) while the client watches the movie of the distressing memory, in imagination, from beginning to end each time.

  • The therapist briefly will obtain feedback from the client including a current distress rating. The feedback will guide the therapist’s next step.

  • The therapist will recognize when the client is stuck and will utilize a range of possible interventions to assist the client continuing to make progress.

  • The therapist will persist with PC until the client reports no remaining distress associated with the memory, and no further changes in memory-related thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations.

The goals for Progressive Counting (PC) are:

  • Primary goal: Help the client to fully process the targeted distressing memory, so that the memory is no longer distressing

  • Secondary goal:Reduce or eliminate the client’s presenting problems, to the extent that such problems may have been caused or exacerbated by the distressing memory


Ricky Greenwald, PsyD
Trauma Institute & Child Trauma Institute


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