The Truth About Timing During Trauma Response Removal


Hi, I’m Alun Parry, and I wrote the acclaimed book “How To Remove Trauma Response.” I’ve made you this short 6-minute video, but if you prefer to learn by reading, there’s an article below too.

Today, let’s talk about the timing involved in getting rid of trauma responses or other emotional learnings.

If you know my work, you’ll be aware that neuroscience points out three key stages for memory reconsolidation.

  1. We must activate the emotional learning that keeps the problem alive. 
  2. We facilitate a mismatch experience that ensures the client experiences opposite truths. This can be done with imaginal techniques for a more powerful experience.
  3. The activation-mismatch steps are repeated.

Once the first two stages are done, the brain pathway is unlocked and ready for rewrite – but no change happens just yet. You’ve only opened the door. You’ve not yet removed the contents.

The key to removing the trauma response is to repeat the first two steps of activation followed by the mismatch experience. Think of it like bumper cars bumping together. The first bumper car is the original emotional learning, and the second bumper car is the mismatch experience. 

This repetition is the essential final stage that overwrites and erases the old trauma response. Without it, no change occurs.

But how long does the brain pathway stay rewritable before it locks again?

The brain pathway stays open for rewrite for four to five hours before closing again automatically. This means it’s vital to do the repeat stage of the process within this timeframe.

So if you have completed the first two stages and a mismatch experience has landed, what do you do if your client then starts talking about something else? Will you frustratingly miss the opportunity to remove the trauma response with only one small step to go? 

Don’t worry. The brain pathway is still open and ready for rewrite. Just return to the repetition stage during your session and you’ll be well within the 4 to 5 hour window.


Triggering a mismatch merely opens the brain pathway. It’s the repetition that leads to a rewrite. If the client goes off on a tangent after unlocking the relevant brain pathway, stay calm and go back to the repetition stage within the same session. No need to panic. You have a four to five-hour window to complete the rewrite.

Want to master memory reconsolidation?

Are you keen to master memory reconsolidation and receive daily coaching from me? Go to This coaching program is designed for therapists, coaches, and other practitioners whose role is to help others and change lives. By mastering memory reconsolidation, the results you get are truly life-changing and everlasting.

Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions, I’m here to help.

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