First Aid for PTSD Flashbacks

February 24, 2020

Flashbacks often leave people feeling powerless and frustrated.  They’re taken on a ride against their will which only reinforces the trauma.  One tool my clients report finding very helpful is free, simple, safe and grounding.  Start off by practicing it in a safe place while not experiencing a flashback.  Use the conscious intent to prepare yourself to engage it whenever it’s needed. This ingrains the muscle memory and pre-programs the subconscious mind that “this is the first thing we do when any degree of flashback intrudes”.

Sitting or standing, firmly press one forefoot and the heel of the other foot into the floor. Slowly and deliberately rock the one foot back onto the heel while the other rocks forward onto the ball of the foot. Slowly alternate until you feel the pattern is well established in both mind and body.  Set the firm mental intention that at the first onset of any flashback, this is what I’ll always do until it loses its power.

This technique offers relief by restoring a sense of personal power and authority over these events.  It doesn’t heal the triggering trauma itself. That’s what resources such as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT, Tapping), Picture Tapping Techniques and EMDR are for. However, my clients often report that being able to take some form of concrete action brings them a welcome sense self agency. As one client said with a smile of wonderment on her face “for the first time, I owned this @#!&%. It didn’t own me”

Like anything else, practice creates habits, so let your feet rock on. If you forget, don’t give up. You’re always doing the best you know how to do at any moment, so have compassion on yourself and just keep practicing.

For further information, contact our Integrative Therapist @ 613-747-5458 or .

Yours in good mental/emotional health.


Author: David E P Gilbert. David is a highly experienced Integrative Therapist particularly focused on anxiety/depression, stress, burnout, grief, trauma or PTSD, Post Concussion Syndrome and self-sabotage. He’s based at Whole Therapy and ECOSYS Wellness Center in Ottawa ON. Canada. Being trained in a number of modalities including Emotional Freedom Techniques and PTT (Picture Tapping Techniques), he works with clients both in-office and via phone or video cam across the world. Work so powerful it’s guaranteed

Posted in Uncategorized by Pat Moore