The Flash technique is a recently developed therapy procedure that involves having the client at least partially resolve a traumatic memory without consciously engaging it.
Briefly, Flash involves having the client concentrate on a positive, engaging image while also concentrating on a distraction stimulus such as the therapist’s moving hand, or the therapist counting aloud. Every so often, the therapist says “Flash,” at which point the client is to blink, not think about the targeted trauma memory, and continue concentrating on the positive image. Most of the time this leads to the client fully or partially processing the memory, much as occurs in other memory reconsolidation (trauma healing) methods.
Preliminary research has found Flash to be non-distressing, safe, rapid, and effective. Trauma Institute is involved in several current/ongoing Flash studies. We also use Flash in our intensive therapy (along with EMDR or PC), include Flash training in our EMDR and PC training programs, and provide Flash training to other therapists as well.
Brouwers, TC, de Jongh, A & Matthijssen, SJMA. (2021). The effects of the flash technique compared to those of an abbreviated eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy protocol on the emotionality and vividness of aversive memories. Frontiers in Psychology, 12:741163. DOI:10.3389.
Greenwald, R. (2017, November). Flash! Trauma therapy just got easier and faster. Blog post in Once Upon A Time…
Greenwald, R. (2018, March). How does Flash work? Blog post in Once Upon A Time…
Manfield, P. E., Engel, L., Greenwald, R., & Bullard, D. G. (2021). Flash Technique in a scalable low-intensity group intervention for COVID-19-related stress in healthcare providers. Journal of EMDR Practice & Research, 15, 127-139.
Manfield, P., Lovett, J., Engel, L., & Manfield, D. (2017). Use of the Flash technique in EMDR therapy: Four case examples. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 11, 195-205.
Manfield, P. E., Taylor, G., Dornbush, E., Engel, L., & Greenwald, R. (2020). Preliminary evidence for the
acceptability, safety, and efficacy of the flash technique. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Shebini , N, (2019). Flash technique for safe desensitization of memories and fusion of parts in DID: Modifications and resourcing strategies. Frontiers of the Psychotherapy of Trauma and Dissociation, 3, 151-164.
Wong, Sik-Lam. (2019). Flash technique group protocol for highly dissociative clients in a homeless shelter: A clinical report. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 13, 20-31.
Wong, S. (2021). A model for the flash technique based on working memory and neuroscience research. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 15, 174-184.
Demo videos by Phil Manfield (Flash’s originator)