Flashback Stopping

A common symptom of trauma is flashbacks, or re-experiencing a traumatic event. Flashbacks can feel very real, and it can seem like the event is happening all over again. I created a worksheet with prompts to help someone pull themselves out of a flashback, made so that individuals can choose which prompts are most beneficial to them. There is no right or wrong way to use this tool; you can add prompts if you would like or eliminate those that are not helpful. These are similar to grounding skills and can be used wherever or whenever a flashback occurs.

For children, it is particularly helpful for adults to know which tools are beneficial. This way, the adults can cue the child to use their coping skills. It’s best not to ask the child questions like, “Are you experiencing a flashback?” or “Are you remembering ______ (traumatic event)?” This can bring the negative memories into the forefront of the mind if the child was just having a bad day or upset about something else.

It is most helpful to practice this when calm so that the skill comes naturally when flashbacks pop up.

Published by Amy Marschall, Psy.D.

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. Her clinical interests are varied and include child and adolescent therapy, TF-CBT, rural psychology, telemental health, sexual and domestic violence, psychological assessment, and mental illness prevention. Dr. Marschall presently works in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at Sioux Falls Psychological Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she provides individual and family therapy and psychological assessment to children, adolescents, and college students. She also facilitates an art therapy group for adolescents and college students with anxiety and depression. Dr. Amy Marschall is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telemental Health.

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