What is the Flash Technique?

The Flash Technique (FT) is a recently developed evidenced-based therapeutic intervention for reducing the disturbance associated with traumatic or other distressing memories. Unlike many conventional trauma therapy interventions, FT is a minimally intrusive option that does not require the client to consciously engage with the traumatic memory. This allows the client to process traumatic memories without feeling distress. As an adjunct to the EMDR preparation phase or any exposure-based treatment, it makes it possible to process memories that would otherwise be intolerable or overwhelming to the client.

About the Flash Technique

Originally developed as an addition to the preparation phase of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), FT has been demonstrated to be effective in reducing the disturbance level associated with severely painful memories, sometimes in as little as ten to fifteen minutes. Like EMDR, FT utilizes eye movements or alternating tapping and is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain.

FT may be used as an adjunctive intervention to make a variety of trauma-informed psychotherapies quicker and better tolerated. In Internal Family Systems, it can aid in “unburdening.” In various exposure therapies, it can reduce exposure-related disturbance. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it can increase client receptiveness to reparative adult perspectives.

Can Flash Technique be done without a FT-trained therapist?

FT is a mental health intervention and should only be offered by properly trained and licensed mental health practitioners. People under the care of a Flash Technique-trained therapist are sometimes encouraged to use the Flash Technique on themselves for relatively mildly disturbing events.

Who can benefit from the Flash Technique?

FT can help children and adults of all ages. It is useful in a wide variety of presenting complaints including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, mild and severe dissociation, depression and more.

Experiencing the Flash Technique

A Flash Technique-trained therapist will begin by asking the client to identify a trauma memory. A principle underlying the Flash Technique is that unresolved traumatic memories are responsible for most non-organic symptoms. If the client presents with a symptom not associated with a specific memory, the therapist will help the client to find the memory that seems to be generating the symptom. After this “target” memory has been identified, the therapist will ask the client to turn his or her attention to a positive and engaging memory, image, activity, piece of music or visualization. While continuing to focus on this positive distraction, the client periodically is asked to momentarily interrupt that focus. Processing of the target memory is accomplished without the client consciously attending to the original disturbing memory.

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