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Preliminary Evidence for the Acceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of the Flash Technique

This is the abstract only – We are not able to post the entire paper due to copyright restrictions.
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Citation: Manfield, P. E., Taylor, G., Dornbush, E., Engel, L., & Greenwald, R. (2024). Preliminary evidence for the acceptability, safety, and efficacy of the flash technique. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 14, 1273704.


Objectives: This study reports on four similar studies intended to explore
the acceptability, safety, and efficacy of the flash technique (FT), a method
of rapidly reducing the intensity of a disturbing memory or image, with
minimal subjective disturbance for subjects during the process. Of the four
studies, two were conducted during FT trainings in the United States, one in
Australia, and one in Uganda.

Methods: The studies involve pre-, post-, and follow-up repeated-measures
design to determine the effectiveness of a 15-min FT intervention. A total of
654 subjects were asked to think of a disturbing memory and then participate
in a structured experience of an FT. The purpose of this investigation was to
determine whether a brief application of an FT would be safe and effective
in significantly reducing their disturbance. In each study, subjects rated
their disturbing memories on a 0-to-10 scale, with zero representing no
disturbance at all and 10 representing the worst they could imagine. Then,
they took part in a 15-min group practicum where they were guided in a
self-administering FT with no individual supervision or support.

Results: In all four studies, the mean reduction in disturbance exceeded
two-thirds, the results were significant (p < 0.001), and the effect size was
very large. Of the 813 sessions (654 subjects) represented in these studies,
only two subjects reported slight increases in disturbances, and both
of these subjects reported reductions in disturbance in their second FT
experiences 2 h later. At a 4-week follow-up, mean disturbance levels in all
four studies indicated maintenance of benefit or slightly further reduction of
mean disturbance levels. An 18-month follow-up study with a subgroup of
subjects who initially reported a high level of memory-related distress found
similar maintenance of gains as well as symptom reduction.

Conclusion: These findings provide preliminary evidence of acceptability,
safety, and efficacy of FT; therefore, further study is warranted.

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