Step Four: Load Up the Calm Scene and Blink Every Five Seconds

This is the step where we will spend most of our time and where all of the reprocessing of the micro-slices of the memory occurs.  Most of the Four Blinks Version of Flash is spent in a loop between Steps Four and Five.  This is the only step where blinks are included.

When you arrive at Step Four for the first time in a session, instruct the client on how to do the blinks: Bring up the positive scene and let me know when you are there.  I will say blink every five seconds and when I do, you just blink your eyes several times quickly.  After blinking, go right back into the calm scene.  We will do this for about 30 seconds at a time.  [Give the client a moment to load the positive scene].

After the first time you are in Step Four, say one of the following (do not repeat the instructions above, since the client knows what to do when you say “blink”):

  • “Return to your calm scene, let me know when you are there.”
  • “Load up your calm scene and just notice the details of it.  Nod or indicate when you are there.”

While the client is in the calm scene, the therapist says “blink” every five seconds for a total of five times (about 30 seconds for the whole set).  Verify that the client is blinking several times rapidly.  If the client blinks more than several times quickly or blinks slowly, it will consume time unnecessarily from the next five second exposure to the calm scene.   Most clients simply blink twice rapidly.  It is not essential that the blinks occur at exactly five seconds (sometimes four seconds, sometimes seven seconds are just fine… nothing magical happens at five seconds).

When you have said “blink” a total of five times at about five seconds apart, ask the client:  “Good.  We you able to keep finding your way back into positive scene?”

If the client struggled to stay in the scene because of distractions, normalize that.  It is not necessary to be in the calm scene 100% of the time when distractions come.  If the client is struggling to return to the calm scene after the blinks, consider switching to a more compelling scene or to a compelling video that the client can watch.  Also, it will take multiple rounds of practice to quickly load up and go in and out of the calm scene.

If part of the trauma memory intrudes on the calm scene, that is called an “intersection.”  If the memory intersects with the calm scene, instruct the client: see the part of the memory that came into your calm scene go into your container, see the door close, and push your container even farther away.  Push it several hundred miles away.”  Then immediately return to Step Four for another round of calm scene with blinks.

If the client reports that he was able to be mostly in the scene, go to Step Five to get the next link of activation.  Again, most of the work will occur in a cycle between Steps Four and Five.

Important suggestion: Since loading the calm scene quickly is such a key part of this therapy, it is a good idea to do two rounds in Step Four prior to checking the bad memory in Step Five the first time you arrive in Step Four.  Do not do repeated rounds of Step Four after the first time you are in this step when working on a memory or it will unnecessarily slow the process.

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