Different forms of therapeutic techniques can work for a client depending on their unique situation. What works for one client may not work for the next, which is why it’s important to understand and be familiar with a number of different options as a clinical counsellor to be able to best help your clients. At Rhodes Wellness College, you will master a number of tools that you’ll be able to use with your clients as you work to become a registered professional counsellor.
Therapeutic reenactment involves a deliberate reimagining of events while still grounded in the present (Vecchione, n.d.). Some clients may find this option therapeutic in their healing process, giving them an opportunity to address past grievances and discover new truths about a given situation. Continue reading to learn more about therapeutic reenactment and how it can be applied to your counsellor career.
Defining Therapeutic Reenactment as a Registered Professional Counsellor
Therapeutic reenactment can have a healing effect on past trauma by first recalling the memory and the associated events and feelings that were caused by it, followed by reimagining the outcome to think about how it could have gone differently (Sotala, 2021). For instance, if someone had an experience where they were bullied as a child, and no one stepped in to help, then the individual may believe that no one cares about their suffering or wellbeing. Through therapeutic reenactment, the individual may be able to reassess the memory, look at it from a new perspective, and consider other factors that shaped the situation (Sotala, 2021). Then they may determine that at least one friend cares about their wellbeing and can rewrite their truth from ‘no one cares about my suffering’ to ‘at least one person cares, and they would have helped had they known how or had the opportunity to.’
Helping Clients Pave the Way Toward a New Behavioral Future
When past trauma has not been healed yet, some individuals may approach certain situations with the same behaviour as their past experiences, even in entirely new situations (Vecchione, n.d.). For example, if someone was bullied as a child, then they may become defensive to any sort of feedback, thinking it is an attack on their character or personality, fearing they are being made fun of. However, the new situation may instead present a positive form of feedback, enlightening the individual on their strengths and how they can also improve.
Getting stuck in the same behavioural patterns can make it hard for those trying to heal to see progress. During clinical counsellor training at Rhodes Wellness College, you’ll be able to help clients in all areas of health and wellness to try to give them the tools they need to break free of destructive reactions. With therapeutic reenactment, clients may be able to see different sides to a situation, stopping them from immediately assuming that an event will play out negatively as it had in the past. This helps individuals pave the way to healing and a new, fresh future free of their previous thought patterns.
When to Try Therapeutic Reenactment for Client Benefit
Anyone experiencing trauma, big or small, can have a unique reaction to the associated feelings and the impact the trauma has had on their lives (Levy, 1998). For some people, trauma results in constant, intrusive recollections of the events, leading to destructive reenactments (Levy, 1998). For these clients, it may be best to start with other techniques once you’re a registered professional counsellor that will help them have the capacity to control their reenactments better and reap the healing benefits of the session.
For clients who are experiencing smaller traumas that still cause a level of disruption in their lives or are struggling with behavioural cycles based on past experiences, therapeutic reenactment can be very beneficial (Levy, 1998). Adaptations can be made that help individuals take charge of their past, confront their traumas, and use what they learned about their experiences to heal their futures (Levy, 1998). As a registered professional counsellor, you’ll have the skills you need to assess each client and offer them the best course of action to promote progress in their lives.
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Levy, M. (1998). A Helpful Way to Conceptualize and Understand Reenactments. Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research. Retrieved on December 28, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3330499/
Sotala, K. (2021). Imaginary reenactment to heal trauma — how and when does it work? LESSWRONG. Retrieved on December 28, 2022 from https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/FFBQuuYYoPphvDaNT/imaginary-reenactment-to-heal-trauma-how-and-when-does-it
Vecchione, E. (n.d.). Behavioral Reenactments: A Therapeutic Journey to the Present. Retrieved on December 28, 2022 from https://www.amiciassociates.com/uploads/8/5/4/8/8548059/behavioral_reenactments_a_therapeutic_journey_to_the_present.pdf