Invisible Injuries- Mental health ambassadors

S01 - How to deal with flashbacks 02

October 22, 2021

Four military engineers in khaki shirt and shorts posing in front of a unimog with sunset behind them

Flashbacks which are normal, are recollections from the past. They may be pictures, sounds, smells or feelings or the the lack of them (a kind of numbness). Unless we deal with them effectively as they arise, flashbacks can cause us to feel trapped, powerless, and/or out of control. We may feel at the mercy of our experiences. This need not happen with the following techniques.
“Dual Awareness” This powerful technique has the following instructions. When teaching it, or learning for yourself, make sure you say the words slowly, deliberately and with a strong voice.
 “it seems we have got two things going on here.
Right now, aim feeling (emotion here) and I’m sensing in my body (three or so things...i.e. heart racing, sweating, trembling etc.). They are real sensations – that’s what I’m experiencing right now – because I’m remembering the firefight/explosion/crash, RTA, hold-up/accident etc.)
“However, at the same time, I’m looking around here where I am now (the place room, venue, etc. where I am now) and:
 I can see 5 things (name them), I can hear 5 things (name them), I can sense the following 5 things (name them)
And so I know the firefight, explosion/incident/RTA/hold-up/accident etc. is not happening anymore”


How to use for best results –“horses for courses” applies. Some might find one tool or technique helpful, others will experiment with another that proves helpful. All are available to try and it’s often about finding “what works”.

*Reprinted with permission 2020
@john henden