Mervin Smucker. Recommended Preconditions, Inclusionary Criteria and Exclusionary Criteria for Imagery Rescripting.


  • Only experienced therapists who have received specific training in imagery rescripting are considered qualified to implement this procedure. Persons undergoing this procedure must be:
  • Fully informed that emotional distress and heightened state of arousal is likely to occur when upsetting is induced in the therapy sessions.
  • Aware that re-experiencing painful images in a therapy session is different than in the natural environment, that the event is not actually happening, and that the therapist’s voice and supportive presence provides an anchor throughout the imagery session.
  • Sufficiently stable to emotionally process the upsetting or traumatic images

Inclusionary Criteria

  • Can recall most or all of an upsetting event in the form of intrusive recollections, recurring flashbacks or repetitive nightmares
  • Is able to verbalize and visualize the upsetting event in detail and in narrative form without being overwhelmed with affect

Exclusionary Criteria

  • Current involvement in an abusive relationship or situation
  • Diagnosis of schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder
  • Current substance or alcohol abuse
  • Severe depression or significant suicidality
  • The presence of vague or incomplete memories
  • Inability to visually “stay with” a specific upsetting memory or flashback because of dissociating during imagery or being flooded with intrusive imagery that prevents the implementation of either the exposure or rescripting components of treatment
  • The persistent presence of emotional numbing during exposure or rescripting, which prevents the re-experiencing and “working through” of the pain associated with the activation of the images

Mervin Smucker