… from “The PTSD Workbook” pp. 76-78
Other Ways to Deal with Flashbacks
You may use any of the following techniques to help you put a flashback out of your awareness and return to the present.. Some of them are designed to be quick, while others take time. Do not worry if many or most of them do not work for you. Try them out and choose those that work best.
- Repeatedly blink your eyes hard
- Change the position of your body
- Use deep breathing
- Use imagery to go to your safe place in your mind
- Go to your actual safe place
- Move vigorously around your environment
- Name objects in your environment out loud
- Hold on to a safe object
- Listen to a soothing audio recording
- Clap your hands
- Stamp your feet on the floor
- Wash your face with cold water
- Say positive statements (affirmations) about yourself
- In your imagination, spray the memory with a bottle of cleanser until it goes away
- Project the flashback onto a dry erase board and then erase it; do the back and forth movements of the eraser with your hand
- Get involved in an activity that involves some type of motion (such as walking, exercising, or typing)
- Use art to express your emotions or represent the memory
- Put on a certain color of clothes that you believe makes you invisible to others or that allows you to blend in without being noticed
- Go to a potentially traumatizing event with your camera and take photographs as a way to hide behind the camera and avoid some triggers
Using Dual-Awareness to Treat Flashbacks / Flashback Halting Protocol
The flashback I am using is _________________.
Say to yourself (preferably aloud) the following sentences, filling in the blanks:
Right now I am feeling _______________ (insert name of the current emotion, usually fear) and I am sensing in my body _________________ (describe your current bodily sensations– name at least three), because I am remembering ______________ (identify the trauma by title only– no details).
At the same time, I am looking around where I am now in __________ (the actual current year), here ________ (name the place where you are), and I can see ___________ (describe some of he things that you see right now, in this place), and so I know ____________ (name of trauma, again by title only) is not happening now/anymore.