Monthly Archives: October 2015

CONTACT FORM RESTORED!

You can now use the contact form to contact me if this is more convenient than phoning, however at present I only have a laptop so I’m getting my head simultaneously around Laptop keyboards, mousepad, and Windows 7, which is a steep learning curve! If you’re an existing client and so have my mobile number, it’s still better to text.

Getting Over It: The Problem of Bad Memories 3

In my last two posts I discussed the problem of bad memories- past events that still affect us because they feel like they happened yesterday. The emotion linked to these events seems always fresh and immediate. This is because these memories are stored differently from ordinary memories that gradually fade with time. We cannot forget them any more than we could jump twenty feet up into the air. And endlessly picking over them is even worse, because in our heads we’re putting ourselves back into that situation, where we cannot think clearly or constructively- we can only suffer.

Fortunately there are other ways of dealing with these problems that are much more helpful and effective. These methods work by disconnecting the memory from the extreme emotion that stops us thinking clearly about it. When the emotion (usually fear, anger or embarrassment) is removed, we can begin to see the memory as something that is in the past- over and done with. We can see that we were different then and didn’t have the power and knowledge we have now. We can see that we survived.

These therapy methods use the power of our imagination, guided by the therapist in specific ways. Hypnosis makes the therapy more effective by increasing the power of the imagination. Using these methods the person can be helped to deal with memories while remaining detached from the powerful emotions that the memories would normally arouse. The client doesn’t even need to disclose to the therapist any details of what actually happened.

In this way, the client can think clearly about what happened instead of being immediately sucked into a whirlpool of extreme fear, shame, anger, or other powerful and unpleasant feelings. They can understand that they are now a different person with more knowledge and power than they had then. They can understand that the past event is now over, left behind them in the past, and has no power over them today.

There are several treatment methods based on these principles. They include the Clearance Protocol (invented by Graeme Harvey), the Reflective Time Process (invented by Dr Geoff Ibbotson), the Rewind Technique (invented by Dr DC Muss), and the Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing or EMDR technique (invented by Dr Francine Shapiro). The first three use hypnosis, though it doesn’t have to be deep hypnosis. EMDR does not use hypnosis although a relaxed state of mind is needed. I personally use the first three methods.

To discuss further how I might help you with problems caused by bad memories, or with any other problem, you can phone or email me via the contact form on this site HERE.

Getting Over It: The Problem of Bad Memories 2

In my last post I discussed the problem of bad memories- how things that happened long ago can still torment us as if they happened only yesterday.

Such memories are not like ordinary memories that fade with time. The troubling memories are stored in a different place where time makes no difference- it’s as if they happened yesterday, even if they really happened many years ago. This is why the traditional advice to “just get over it!” is so unhelpful.

Nowadays people may be told to remember rather than forget. They may be told that they can only “get over” their bad memories by picking over them in great detail. They may have counselling for this purpose, or attend groups, or record their memories in diaries- many of which can be seen on the internet. These diaries typically go on and on without any change in how the person feels about what happened. Likewise with counselling, the person may have many sessions and each time comes out of the counsellor’s office feeling worse than when they went in.

As soon as they start digging up the details of the past they are plunged right back into the memory as if it was happening right now. That’s because these memories do not fade with time- they are always fresh and vivid. Nothing has changed. And when a memory feels like it happened yesterday, it’s natural to fear that it could happen again tomorrow. That’s how these memories can affect our whole attitude to life going forward. When we see or hear or even smell anything connected to the bad memory, powerful emotions are triggered before we have time to think or even notice what we’ve seen or heard.

This is because of how our brains are put together. The brain has separate areas for different things. There are seeing and hearing areas (visual and auditory cortex), an area for powerful emotion (amygdala) and a thinking area (frontal cortex). The nerves going from the visual and hearing areas to the emotion area carry messages faster than the nerves going to the thinking area. This is why we react before we’ve had time to think.

Fortunately there are effective ways of dealing with bad memories. I will discuss these in my next post.

Getting Over It: The Problem of Bad Memories 1

Many people feel tormented by things that happened in their past. It’s like the memory is sitting in some corner of their mind, ready to jump out at them, as vivid and powerful as if it only happened yesterday. Quite trivial events and experiences in the present can trigger memories so powerful that the present-day trigger is forgotten, washed away by the surge of negative feelings. Bad memories leave us questioning- and the questions are another torment. “Why did that happen? Why did I let that happen? Did I deserve it? Will it happen again?”

Unless they’ve caused physical injuries, or ongoing problems like a criminal record that stays with us, most of these past events exist only in our memory. Everyone else who was involved may have forgotten or even died. Yet the memory remains powerfully alive.

How should we deal with such damaging memories? Should we just forget about them and get on with our lives, or should we dig them up and examine them in detail? Or is there a third possible solution?

“Just forget about it” is the traditional solution. Unfortunately it’s nonsense. We can’t simply forget a horrible event, the way we might forget the name of some kid we went to school with. That’s because these are two completely different types of memories, which are stored in different ways.

Memories of things that don’t affect us emotionally- like the names of every kid in our class in school- are stored like the old files in an office. They’re kept for years just in case they’re needed- but probably in some basement or lock-up space, not even in the main office building. Those memories are easy to forget- because the mind feels no need to remember them.

The “problem memories” are kept close to hand because the mind thinks they could be needed at any time. They’re in a place where time doesn’t matter- everything is right here, right now. Something that happened 20 years ago is remembered every day, while things that happened yesterday are already forgotten.

This is why “just forget it!” is useless advice. And it’s even worse when we’re told to “forgive and forget!” Many people use the word “forgive” to mean “pretend it didn’t happen.” This is very convenient for someone who has wronged you- they can do it all again and take you by surprise, just like the first time!

In my next two posts I shall look at other possible answers to the problems caused by “bad memories”.

DUPLICATE POSTING FOR TECHNICAL REASONS ie BROKEN LINK

Getting Over It: The Problem of Bad Memories: Part 1

Many people feel tormented by things that happened in their past. It’s like the memory is sitting in some corner of their mind, ready to jump out at them, as vivid and powerful as if it only happened yesterday. Quite trivial events and experiences in the present can trigger memories so powerful that the present-day trigger is forgotten, washed away by the surge of negative feelings. Bad memories leave us questioning- and the questions are another torment. “Why did that happen? Why did I let that happen? Did I deserve it? Will it happen again?”

Unless they’ve caused physical injuries, or ongoing problems like a criminal record that stays with us, most of these past events exist only in our memory. Everyone else who was involved may have forgotten or even died. Yet the memory remains powerfully alive.

How should we deal with such damaging memories? Should we just forget about them and get on with our lives, or should we dig them up and examine them in detail? Or is there a third possible solution?

“Just forget about it” is the traditional solution. Unfortunately it’s nonsense. We can’t simply forget a horrible event, the way we might forget the name of some kid we went to school with. That’s because these are two completely different types of memories, which are stored in different ways.

Memories of things that don’t affect us emotionally- like the names of every kid in our class in school- are stored like the old files in an office. They’re kept for years just in case they’re needed- but probably in some basement or lock-up space, not even in the main office building. Those memories are easy to forget- because the mind feels no need to remember them.

The “problem memories” are kept close to hand because the mind thinks they could be needed at any time. They’re in a place where time doesn’t matter- everything is right here, right now. Something that happened 20 years ago is remembered every day, while things that happened yesterday are already forgotten.

This is why “just forget it!” is useless advice. And it’s even worse when we’re told to “forgive and forget!” Many people use the word “forgive” to mean “pretend it didn’t happen.” This is very convenient for someone who has wronged you- they can do it all again and take you by surprise, just like the first time!

In my next two posts I shall look at other possible answers to the problems caused by “bad memories”.