The affect bridge

This is a reliving technique introduced by Watkins in 1971, which is particularly useful as an exploratory or uncovering technique. It consists essentially of having the client experience a central emotion or feeling associated with their problem, (for example fear or anxiety), and suggesting that the client hold on to that feeling and use it to return to the very first time that it was experienced. This can be done in the context of a straightforward reliving but with the end point identified (‘unconsciously’) by the affect.

Alternatively, appropriate imagery may be suggested, such as that of a bridge or road along which the client travels accompanied by the intense feelings to reach the time when those feelings were first experienced. This form of reliving is particularly effective in leading to experiences of events that have a hidden relevance to the presenting problem but where these events have not yet been identified as significant. Resolving the situation in which the individual finds themselves as a result of the affect bridge procedure is usually instrumental in helping the person to overcome their symptoms.
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