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.
PROGRESSIVE COUNTING (PC)
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
PROGESSIVE COUNTING THERAPY