Healing Trauma in a Flash

Experiencing traumatic events can be so bad that we do not want to go through them again by talking about them in therapy. Painful emotions would have to be relived, so it is only understandable that people prefer not to go through them again. Not only are these memories uncomfortable, but they are also, from a survival perspective, identified as a threat. And our mind may very well want to avoid them at all costs.

What if these memories, caused by single events, could be processed without going through them, without having to talk about them, and without reliving them? It would be possible to significantly reduce the disturbances caused by the traumatic event and, therefore, impact our lives by using the Flash Technique developed by Dr. Philip Manfield (Ph.D.).

This technique can often be completed within a single session. It was developed as preparation for EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). The procedure is straightforward and similar to EMDR as it uses eye movements and tapping. At the start, the client will share a traumatic event. If it is unclear what memory caused the client’s presenting symptoms, the therapist will help the client identify the ‘target’ memory.

The therapist will ask the client to focus on a person, pet, or activity that provides an immediate pleasurable experience, otherwise known as Positive Engaging Focus (PEF). In as little as 10-15 minutes, PEF can significantly reduce the impact of the initial disturbance.

While working with the trauma, the client does not need to keep thinking about the trauma; this makes the procedure less scary and daunting. In the end, the disturbances may be gone entirely or reduced significantly. This means that the client is well-prepared for other models of therapy to improve their wellbeing further.

It is essential to highlight that the Flash Technique (FT) should only be used by certified therapists to ensure the client’s safety. Both adults and children may benefit from this process, and the technique has been used to treat a wide variety of presenting complaints, including PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

Written by:
Allard Mueller
Counsellor and Psychotherapist
SACAC Counselling

Who are you and who are you becoming through COVID?

We may all agree that the topic of COVID is getting tiring and exhausting,

I understand that you all may not want to talk about COVID anymore. We are all soaked about it. It has lasted too long, impacted too much, and taken too much of our energy and time. But believe me, it can be beneficial in some ways.

Maybe to start with, we can put COVID aside for a while and let you take place first. Let’s talk about you, your personality, and your identity. 

You have probably asked yourself before about who you are. Identity, contrary to what some might believe, is not a fixed category. It evolves all the time and is continuously changing, although it can sometimes seem predetermined or predictable.

According to behaviorism and other contextual behavior sciences, personality is not something that dictates our behavior, but it is part of it. The dichotomy between mind and body is outdated. What makes a person unique and singular results from her/his relationship with culture, including ontogenetic and phylogenetic processes. Therefore, identity is what we do, how we react, how we feel, how we think, and how we process things.

Besides behavioral psychology, the ideas of Social Psychology, the Materialism Historical, and the Dialect Method point out that human action in the world changes the material simultaneously as it changes the subject. Object and subject become a unity of contrary, moving culture, history, and human condition forward. “(…) All sensation or perception is an interaction between subject and object; the bare object, apart from the activity of the percipient, is a mere raw material, which is transformed in the process of being known. Knowledge in the old sense of passive contemplation is an unreal abstraction; the process that really takes place is one of handling things”. (Wambui, 2011, p.3)

Now that you know that your identity is mainly a social construct that evolves along with life, we can (sorry!) go back to COVID.

Like it or not, COVID has brought the emergence of unique needs, distinct ways of doing things, and new rules. The world is now different. As the theories above explicate, COVID has changed not just our environment but how we are as individuals too. We have been lonely, down, committed, open to new things, insightful, missing our family and trips, feeling hungry, feeling different, depressed, marginalized. And it depends on where in the world you were when it all started and where you are now. And I don’t just mean the physical world. It depends on what you choose to be when COVID happened and as it continues. Determinations are constant, but they are not everything.

Even if you can’t acknowledge these changes, COVID has impacted you somehow. And to overcome and find your journey in COVID times, I invite you to look deep within yourself and embrace this new context, not in a passive way but in an active, intentional way. It is not about being positive; it’s about being realistic. It’s not about being altruistic; it is about being human, being you, your only you. This period is about understanding your role, the power of your actions, and the power of your being. It’s not about denying determinism; it’s about accepting it and finding your best version of yourself. In the end, it is about giving yourself your best. And as a result, it is about giving others your best. It is to learn how to exist and co-exist.

All in all, we can only be ourselves because of others. And you can choose your path wisely, even knowing that freedom is not absolute and there is no control for all that affects us. But there are choices, there are fruits, and there is happiness, even in dark times.

In the end, I hope we can all look back on this period with some sense of relief, something to own, some new insights into ourselves, and maybe even something to smile about. Perhaps even being able to say, “I did it my way,” as Sinatra sings.

Just one last thing: if you need guidance in this process of deciding for your best version of yourself, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help.

Wishing you good luck and tenderness through this inevitable journey.

Written by:
Andrea Fernandes Thomaz
Counsellor & Psychotherapist
SACAC Counselling


Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Wambui, M. W. (2011). Dialectical Materialism and Historical Dialectics of Karl Marx. Munich, GRIN. Verlag, Retrieved from: https://www.grin.com/document/703506