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The Flash Technique for Trauma 

Do you have thoughts or memories that are so distressing that it's hard to even bring them up in therapy?

Are there things that are so troubling to you that even talking about them is hard?  You want to bring them up in therapy but even the idea of recalling events, memories, or thoughts activates you.  Your palms sweat.  Your heart races.  The pain is too great to bear.

And so you just... don't.

The thoughts and memories continue to haunt you, but any time you try to dig deep into them it becomes overwhelming.  It's like you're reliving that event or the thoughts are just too much to handle.  You want to work on them.  You want to take back the power to manage these thoughts and memories but it's hard to even start.

The Flash Technique can offer a way forward.

Developed by Dr. Philip Manfield, the Flash Technique is a recently-developed method for reducing the distress associated with traumatic and painful memories and thoughts.  Originally developed as part of the preparation phase of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), it has been found to be useful on its own.  It is now recognized as an evidence-based therapeutic tool outside of EMDR.

You can find out more about the Flash Technique from the developer here.

How is the Flash Technique different from EMDR?

While the Flash Technique also uses bilateral (both sides) stimulation such as eye movement or, more often, tapping your own shoulders or legs, the key difference is that you do not talk about the distressing memories or thoughts.

Instead, you talk about a "positively engaging focus."  In everyday words, that means you talk about something you like talking about!

It could be a trip you recently took or it could be talking about one of your favorite hobbies.  It might be how much you enjoy your pets.  Or it might be a piece of music you enjoy or a visualization that brings you peace or pleasure.

Person standing at the water's edge with arms outstretched, shilouetted by an orange and purple sunset.

You'll only think about the painful memory or thought enough to identify it before using the technique.  While talking and tapping, the therapist will ask you to interrupt your focus on the positive distraction for a moment at several points in the conversation.

This might all sound too good to be true.

After all, you've been struggling with these painful thoughts or memories for a while now.  You've tried all kinds of things to control them, deal with them, or shut them down.  If none of your previous efforts have worked, why should talking about something that feels good to talk about help?

The theory behind the Flash Technique involves brain science about how memories are stored in our minds as well as our bodies and how techniques such as EMDR can help "re-wire" our minds and bodies in relation to trauma.

But it's not magic.

There may be more work to do than tapping and talking about something enjoyable.  Sometimes it can take work to identify the core memory that you may not realize is at the heart of your distress.  There may be other thoughts that interfere with releasing the trauma, such as unhelpful beliefs about what it would mean if you were to let go of your suffering.

But it can be an amazing tool to help get you to a place where you can bring up those memories or thoughts without as much pain so that more work can be done.

Are you ready to break the cycle of pain and suffering?

You can find out more about the Flash Technique from Dr. Manfield's website linked above, including video demonstrations of Flash Technique sessions.  Or, you can contact me with any questions you might have by clicking the link below.  Together, we will lay the foundation to help you feel safe in stepping forward with the work ahead so that you can free yourself from the hold your traumas and painful thoughts have on you.

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