Use of the flash technique in EMDR therapy: Four case examples


This article introduces the flash technique, a new technique used during the preparation phase of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to facilitate processing of intense, traumatic memories that clients might otherwise be resistant to access. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this technique may make it possible for clients to access these memories initially in a minimally disturbing way, reducing their emotional intensity so that they can then be more easily and fully processed using EMDR therapy. The technique appears to be easily tolerated by clients of all ages, including children; and to be rapid and relatively painless for clients, even those with particularly disturbing target memories; and can be easily taught to clinicians. It has the distinct feature that clients who are avoiding a terribly disturbing memory can be offered a way of processing it without having to bring it clearly to mind. Four case examples, in which the technique was used by four different clinicians, are presented briefly. Suggestions are made for further study. This article hypothesizes various mechanisms of action and discusses the effects in terms of memory reconsolidation theory.






Philip Manfield
Joan Lovett
Lewis Engel
David Manfield

Original Work Citation

Manfield, P., Lovett, J., Engel, L., & Manfield, D. (2017). Use of the flash technique in EMDR therapy: Four case examples. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 11(4), 195-205. doi:10.1891/1933-3196.11.4.195



“Use of the flash technique in EMDR therapy: Four case examples,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020,

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