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Strategies For Dealing With Flashbacks

  1. STOP what you are experiencing (if possible). For example, stop playing the music, stop the car, stop reading, etc. What is happening?

  2. CALM yourself so that you can experience grounding and sense of boundaries (e.g. Talk to yourself, take a few deep breaths, or go to another room.)

  3. AFFIRM and reorient yourself to the present through the five senses. What do you feel, see, touch, hear or smell in the present? (e.g. I am with my partner in my home. I am an adult, not a child that I feel like in my flashback. I can hear reassuring words from my partner.)

  4. Take ACTION. How do you interact or not interact with this experience (trigger) in order to feel safe? (e.g. Talk to your partner, call a friend, speak with a counsellor, focus on being in the safety and security of the room, take time to draw or write in a journal, or remove self from the situation such as not watching the movie on abuse. )

From: Maltz, W. (1991). The sexual healing journey: A guide for survivors of sexual abuse. New York: Harper & Row.

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