Thought Stopping Strategies for Trauma Survivors

Lisa Ferentz talks about many successful ways to support trauma survivors. Two techniques that I utilize in my treatment of survivors are the “Not Now” and “Roller Paint Brush” Techniques.

The “Not Now” tip encourages clients to use their hands to push away intrusive negative thoughts, rather than fight them. Ferentz describes clients actually using their arms, with palms facing outward and pushing the unwanted, negative thoughts away. This sends a non verbal message to the brain that these thoughts are on hold (2012).

Ferentz’s second tip that I love is the paint brush strategy. The idea is to visualize rolling over the difficult thought — covering the thought over and over until you can’t see the words anymore. Clients are encouraged to follow with their eyes, going over and over the thoughts — even breathing through out, but not engaging in a power struggle over them.

These tips and more help trauma survivors stop the “loop of negativity” that often derails their recovery.

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