Sometimes it can be appropriate to sub-divide the experience of life into events or incidents. An incident is a chunk of experience that appears to fit together as a unit, based on the activity that goes on, the point in time, the location, the people involved, or the meaning assigned to the experience. An event is when something happens or when somebody does something.
We will use the words 'event' and 'incident' somewhat interchangeably. However, 'event' will usually mostly refer to what happened or what was done. 'Incident' will more refer to a duration of time as a whole. 'Incident' includes more of a story than 'event'. But, the duration or the extent of an incident depends entirely upon our definition of what that "something" is.
We will here favor using 'event' about what actually went on, and 'incident' about the memory one retains of it.
Because events sometimes get assigned meaning and significance above and beyond what goes on in them, they often are allowed to influence other experiences. The event of burning your fingers when you were 3 might influence the way you deal with stoves for many years. That is in part what learning is: extracting meaning from events one experiences.
Occasionally events will influence one's feelings and actions in ways that aren't very useful. A minor accident with a car might perpetuate the meaning that "cars are dangerous", and one might feel an unpleasant fear whenever one sits in a car. The event of being beaten as a kid might give one feelings of guilt and inadequacy as an adult.
The effect of any event or incident is only determined by the way one experiences it and the meaning one assigns to it. Both are under the control of the individual, even though she might not realize it.
If the way the person is experiencing an event or incident isn't working well for her, then we need to re-arrange the experience. She needs to Re-Experience the event. Experience it again, in a different way.
Incidents with overwhelming or traumatic content are frequently being carried forward by an individual as part of the present. They aren't really part of the present time, but because there is something unresolved about them, they are connected up with the present as if they were. They weren't fully experienced in the first place, so the person continuously carries around a reminder about it. The reminder often consists of feelings associated with the event, being replayed out of context.
By re-experiencing an event the person can gather any part of the experience that she missed in the first place. Furthermore she can observe several perspectives to the event, rather than only one limited perspective. She can experience the event with the added consciousness and knowledge that she might have now. Additionally she can find a different meaning of the event, and realize that there is positive value in it, and she can learn something from it.
Re-experiencing changes the event. We are not talking about the objective event here, even though to some extent that will change too. What is important for the person is the subjective event that exists in her reality. She will gain more flexibility in dealing with the event, she will change it into being a positive resource for her, and the event will take its place in the proper context, rather than being stored in an inappropriate place in her reality.
Re-experiencing gives a whole new meaning to events.