top of page
Image by Phillip Goldsberry
Progressive Counting (PC)

Progressive counting (PC) is a trauma treatment, based on the counting method, that is already supported by several published studies. As per the research and clinical experience to date, PC appears to be about as effective, efficient, and well tolerated as EMDR. PC involves having the client visualize a series of progressively longer “movies” of the trauma memory while the therapist counts out loud (first to a count of 10, then 20, then 30, etc.).

What is PC?

Progressive Counting (PC) is a research-based approach to trauma treatment developed by Dr. Ricky Greenwald.  Progressive Counting has been found to be effective, brief, and well tolerated for adults and has been shown to be promising for children over age 6.   

Image by Musa Ortaç
How does PC work?

Progressive Counting (PC) requires the client to replay the traumatic event in their mind while the therapist counts aloud in increments of 10 (first time to 10, second time to 20, etc.).  This allows the client to gradually re-encounter the traumatic event while remaining connected to the here and now through the sound of the therapist's voice.  

A critical piece of this process is the intentional connecting of the traumatic event to the moments before and after when the client felt safe.  This addresses the cognitive reality of "puzzle piece" memory - the tendency for traumatic memories to be held in random places without the connection to the awareness that the frightening stimulus was resolved.... leaving the memory unresolved.

This approach should be used only with a trained clinician who can also address any attitudes that may be interfering with resolution such as guilt and shame. 


Trauma Institute,

bottom of page