Self-Helpapedia

Powerful techniques to optimize your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors

The Emo Reviewer

The Emo Reviewer is a written exposure method aimed specifically at traumatic events and phobias. With this process, we focus on reviewing emotionally charged memories and desensitizing them. With the Event Reviewer we write swiftly and without censoring while we describe the details of our emotionally charged event. Writing about the painful event desensitizes overwhelming emotions and helps change beliefs and decisions made during an event. – from Your Emotional Power

 

Brief Overview of the Emo Reviewer

The Emo Reviewer makes use of:

1. The Dive Reflex Manuever can be used prior to going over the details of the traumatic memory.  The Dive Reflex Maneuver is a vagus nerve relaxation exercise which makes for more comfort in reviewing traumatic material that initially turns on flight/fight overwhelm. The Dive Reflex Manuever can be used on the first and perhaps second cycle of the Emo Reviewer or whenever intense overwhelm abruptly appears in the early stages of traumatic review.  The Dive Reflex Manuever rapidly turns off extreme fear and flight/fight overwhelm. 

2. Feelings based event reviewing, a form of memory review exposure and desensitization has a history of clinical research to support its value. Freud was among the earliest to experiment with memory reviews.

3. Writing out events in fast, uncensored detail speeds desensitization/integration. Writing puts us in connection with unconscious processes and utilizes brain regions helpful in deeper level integration. Further writing emotionally thwarts overwhelming flight/fight and lessens the chance of abreactions.

4. A "looking back from the future" question to stimulate unconscious acceptance, cut through cognitive dissonance, and advance integration.

5. Reviewing future imaginal situations or reviewing present circumstances.



Warning: Folks with a history of mental illness, PTSD, or panic are urged not to use these techniques without a therapist. If you decide to do these processes you will agree to absolve the webmaster, the webhost, Emoclear.com, and Steve Mensing of any responsibility for the application or misapplication of these processes. There is always in any process the possibility that someone could experience some discomfort.

 

Steps to the Emo Reviewer

1. Dive Reflex Manuever:  Here you hold an icebag (covered with a thin cotton cloth for comfort) to your forehead, nose, and upper cheeks from 30 to sixty seconds.  The ice bag should gently pressed to your forehead from the scalp line all the way down to your upper cheeks.  This vagus nerve stimulator is relaxing and will turn off intense fear and flight/fight overwhelm making it easier to face intense traumatic memories.  This Dive Reflex Manuever is only done prior to writing on the first and sometimes second cycles of the Emo Reviewer or whenever powerful flight/fight overwhelm appears.

If you should run into any extremely strong flight/fight overwhelm during the process, use the Dive Reflex maneuver found on Emoclear.com to close it down. Learn how to do the Dive Reflex maneuver prior to learning the Emo Reviewer. 


2. Ask your body for an event: Simply ask your body for an event you would want to integrate. Give yourself time. Recall the following and quickly write your responses down with no censoring:

Where it happened.

How long it occurred.

What was happening during that event? Have a rough idea.

3. Focus just before the start of the event:
Close your eyes and pay attention to right before the start of the event. Feel what happened. Recall as best you can how you felt just before the start of the event. What did you see and hear? If taste and smell were involved, allow them to enter your view of the start of the event. Write this down.

4. Pay attention to details just before the start of the event: Notice any details occurring just before the start of the event. Don't go beyond this point until you have a very clear picture and feeling of what happened. Write this down.

5. View event from just before the start to conclusion: Allow yourself to fully experience the event scene from just before the start to conclusion. Allow that scene to be there with no intention of getting rid of it or keeping it. Do not talk during the viewing--pay full attention while you feel your feelings and write out the event from start to finish. Do the writing quickly and don't attempt to edit or censor. Let your event unfold in more and more detail.

6. Record and review the event: After each review, until closure/desensitization, briefly summarize what happened. Write down any intentions, decisions, or beliefs you formed during this event. If these intentions, decisions, or beliefs are distressing you, they may be processed during the run-throughs. Then return to the Emo Reviewer process and review through writing the same event from just before the start to the finish. Keep writing out the event until it has:

 

 


No further emotional charge (Your SUD Scale is all the way down).
You accept what happened.
You feel better about it.
You can take action if required.
Any distressing and distorted intentions, decisions, or beliefs, formed during the event's actual occurrence, lose their emotional charge and believability. Notice if there are any similar events or previous events that now come into your awareness. Allow your body to choose one of these events and run it through the Emo Reviewer.

 

Measure your progress with the Subjective Units of Distress (or SUD) scale, which rates the level of distress during processing of intense or attention-grabbing emotions.  You can access the scale by clicking here.

 

 

Optional step 7: Back from the future question: To stimulate unconscious processes and move the process along toward closure and integration the following "Back from the future" question may be asked:


A month from now, when your event is thoroughly accepted and integrated, what will you feel about it? What will you notice has changed either in how you view yourself, others, or your circumstances? How will your reviewed event appear after you've accepted it and integrated it? What might you hear when the event is accepted and integrated? What will others say? What valuable things might you have learned from the experience? Write your answers out and feel them as you write.

 

Tips on the Emo Reviewer

Keep yourself well hydrated. Drink several glasses of water per day.

Breathe normally during the process. Do not attempt to manipulate your breath. Do not hold your breath or try to breathe from your belly. This will impede progress and block feeling. Your breath may naturally speed up during integrating.

It's best to learn each individual step prior to putting all the steps together and working with the process as a whole.

Use a comfortable pen that writes with ease or find a computer where your seat is comfortable and your keyboard and mouse are comfortable.

The Dive Reflex maneuver can be used if you experience alarmingly major flight-fight overwhelm.  Simply apply an ice bag, covered with a cotton cloth,
to your facial area between your scalp line and your lower cheeks. Do this for 30 seconds to one minute.  It will quickly turn off your fight-flight overwhelm.  The Dive Reflex maneuver can also be used prior to the very first cycle of the Emo Reviewer for very highly charged traumatic events.  See the Dive Reflex for full directions. 


You can use the Emo Reviewer to work on future experiences by imagining future situations with all 5 of your senses. Review the future.

You can take a present situation and experience it, reviewing it until it's fully integrated and has no more emotional charge.

If you question your ability to do the Emo Reviewer remember you've naturally done each one of the segments. Those segments are part of your innate human process. You've no doubt recalled and felt events repeatedly until they no longer had any emotional charge on them.

Do an SUD scale of your event. Bring your attention to your event and feel any distress there. When you have a good handle on the event's distress level, rate the distress with an SUD scale:

Measure your progress with the Subjective Units of Distress (or SUD) scale, which rates the level of distress during processing of intense or attention-grabbing emotions.  You can access the scale by clicking here.

 

Rate your distress from 1 to 10 with 1 being nothing happening and 10 being overwhelming. You don't have to be very accurate--you just want to have rough idea about how your event reviewing is progressing. You will perform another SUD Scale at the completion of each event review to see your progress or note if your have integrated your target.



Before you start Emo Reviewing, make sure you have enough paper and pens and are in a quiet room where you will go undisturbed. If you enjoy writing on a computer, that will work too. Whatever way is most comfortable for you. The approximate time for this process is around 30 minutes per session or more. When no more emotional charge exists on the event being described in written detail (the SUD scale is down to 1) and you experience acceptance toward the event, then there's no need for further sessions on that event.

Begin to write out the details of an emotionally charged event. Keep your sentences brief and focused and write from how you feel and think about the crisis or event.

Write non-stop and do not attempt to edit your writing. Allow your emotions, beliefs, and memories of the event to be committed to paper as they occurred. Write them out in detail.

Don't subvocally judge an emotional.  It's just an acceptable feeling, one of a multitude you'll have today.

If you have a judgmental thought about your feeling or self, observe them with acceptance. 

Don't get tied up in trying to figure out a feeling or explaining it.  That takes you out of feeling.  Just feel it.

If you get urges from your feeling, return your attention to your feeling.  Step away from acting upon the urge.  Just feel.

Write out any intentions, decisions, emotions, behaviors, sensations, urges, and beliefs you had at the time. If you need a reminder card to refer to during the process, have these reminder questions available:



What did I emotionally feel?
What did I believe about the event, myself, others, and the world at the time?
Did I experience any physical sensations?
What were my intentions?
Was there anything I hid from myself or denied at the time or later?
What decisions and choices did I make at the time?
What was I doing? How did I feel about that?
Was there anything I felt guilty about, ashamed of, or embarrassed over?
Was there something I learned from this experience?
Did I have any emotional or intuitive insights about the event? What did I realize or come to understand?
What was meaningful or important?


Let your writing do the writing. Write out everything uncensored. (No attempts to do this writing perfectly). Short detailed descriptions work well. If you get stuck on what to write next, you can repeat your descriptions of what you've written to get going again. Repetition is fine here.

Always use your own voice to write. Don't take on anyone else's style.

Allow your event to unfold in the order it happened.

If you experience the intuitive prompting to doodle out some aspect of the event, feel free to do so. The doodles may provide some emotional insight.

Use "I feel" statements in your descriptions: I feel___________________.

Use "I believe" statements in your descriptions: I believe ________________________.

After the Emo Reviewer is concluded, are there actions you need to take? Are there things that need to be said to others? Is there any forgiveness required? See the
Forgiveness Exercise.

At the conclusion of the writing session you may have some remaining emotional charge. Allow yourself to fully feel it and allow it to be there without attempting to get rid of it or keep it. Observe it with acceptance. If you know how to use an integrator you may use it to accept and integrate whatever emotional charge remains.

Don't use the Emo Reviewer on a recent trauma where you are still disoriented. Let at least 5 weeks go by before you start writing about a trauma. Know how to use the "Dive Reflex"
for emerging overwhelm or "abreactions". Have someone you trust nearby or a therapist when you work with very overwhelming experiences. This lends a sense of safety.

If you're getting tired, feel free to halt. Seal yourself back up by writing down 10 or so enjoyable and pleasant memories.

Sometimes there's extremely overwhelming areas in our life which we are not yet ready to face. Choose a less charged area to deal with. These can be a buildup to facing the more difficult when you're ready. If you believe facing something is going to be too overwhelming, step away from it for a while. Come to it when you're ready or with a trusted therapist.

Are there disturbing events, related to what you're presently writing about, which happened earlier in your life? Write about them too after you finish with your current event.

When you reflect on your writing session, what did you find important and meaningful?

How did the event affect your life in the past and in the present? Might it have any effect on the future?

Were there secrets or vulnerabilities that you missed which you might like to describe?

Notice what's different about your life after you complete a series of Emo Reviewer reviews. How is your mood? Your activity level? Your general well-being? Better sleep?


Your social interaction? Are you thinking less about what disturbed you previously?

When strong emotions show up, feel them as you write. You will naturally acknowledge and accept them as you write through them.

Pick a good time to do your writing. Also choose a place where phone calls and folks dropping by will not disturb you.

You might want to make a hierarchy of distressing events and start with the less emotionally charged.

Recall objects, clothing, rooms, outdoor objects, people involved, bodily reactions, weather.

If there are hotspots or very powerfully emotionally charged areas you can write about them repeatedly until the charge goes down.

Recall feared consequences that may have resulted from the event.

Keep doing a SUD Scale every 5 to 10 minutes.

If there are any thought distortions write them down and circle them for later disputing or
Belief Repeater work. Don't do this work until after you've gone repeated cycles and written down much detail about your event.

You may want to make an audiotape of your review as you get toward the end of your retelling. You can listen to this tape and feel any feelings that come up. This can increase desensitization if it's called for.

Always confront any real life situations you've avoided as a result of the event (Unless it's truly dangerous).

Avoid event reviews if you're using drugs or alcohol, have suicidal thoughts, are very depressed, are going though a major crisis, are psychotic, can not tolerate intense arousal, are currently dissociated, or have problems with impulse control.

When very overwhelmed or at the top of the SUD Scale you can:


1. Use the Dive Reflex to lower the overwhelm.
2. Use a relaxation exercise.
3. Slow down the retelling.
4. Recall some of the positive aspects of the trauma: surviving, learning something useful, building your inner strength.


Work on anger, guilt, sadness, and shame separately by challenging your beliefs or Belief Repeating them.  See the Belief Repeater.

Always be composed, grounded, and secure when leaving a session. Recall 10 to 12 positive memories to seal yourself back up.

If an intuition or sudden solution comes to you, write it down and give it some thought later.

Take care, Steve

 

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