I have been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)since 2001. EMDR is a process where you desensitize painful or traumatic memories by thinking about them while also receiving bilateral stimulation either via eye movements or tapping. For more information on EMDR, you can click here.
I have used EMDR many times over the years with much success. However, there were many times it did not work. For some clients, it was very hard to tolerate thinking about painful memories. It leads to them feeling flooded with emotions and overwhelmed.
Phil Manfied and Lewis Engel have developed a new EMDR technique he calls FLASH. Dr. Manfield is the author of books on EMDR and has trained many of us in the Bay Area in EMDR.
The Flash technique has the client think of the memory and then focus on a positive engaging experience that they talk about with the therapist while tapping their knees and occasionally (at the therapist’s request) triple blinking. Sounds crazy but Dr.Manfield has collected some good research on its effectiveness.
At the urging of a fellow therapist, I went to an all-day Flash training in June. I will admit I was both a bit skeptical and resentful of giving up a sunny Saturday for training. However, I left the training a convert. I have come back to my office and used Flash with a variety of different clients and the results have been wonderful. Some times the shift in disturbance about the memories is so fast that the clients can’t believe it has happened. And as I say to my clients it is an easy and enjoyable process. So if for some reason it does not work you may lose half an hour of a session but you won’t feel traumatized by the process.
As always every client brings different things and histories to therapy and results for one person are going to be different than they are for another person. Most people I work with now I do some extensive preparation work with before engaging in any EMDR work. This makes the EMDR work more likely to be successful. And of course, no therapist can ever guarantee any results. That being said Flash is a great technique to try if you have troubling memories that are still affecting you.