Appendix E: Flashback protocol

Flashbacks can be a common problem for people who have experienced traumatic events. Flashbacks can sometimes feel like a re-experiencing of the event, even if it occurred a long time ago. They can be extremely distressing. The following is a protocol that can help you manage flashbacks, both before they happen and afterwards, and help you to get on with what you have to do. Read this protocol through and keep a copy of it handy to read to yourself after you experience a flashback. 

  • Right now I am feeling ______________ ______ (e.g. scared, anxious, panicky, sad, etc).
  • And I am sensing in my body _____________ _______ (e.g. heart racing, stomach tightening, shaking, sweating, dizzy, headache, nausea, etc).  
  • Because I am remembering _____________ _______ (e.g. the war, the bad things, the bad person, that awful stuff, etc).  
  • And at the same time it is now ____________________ (name the time, date and year—if necessary look at a clock, mobile phone etc).  
  • And I am here at ________________ ____  (name the place).  
  • And I can see ________________ ____  (name to yourself 5 objects you can see around you).  
  • And so I know that ____________ ________ is not happening now/any more. 

© Kent Smith 2009 (adapted from Babette Rothchild, 2001)

 

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Last modified: Wednesday, 6 July 2016, 9:45 AM