I am not sure that I really understand how memory works. But I have some ideas.
It’s some kind of combination of feelings, words, and images. The stronger the emotional quality of something the more likely we’ll remember it unless it is too strong and then we push it deep into to our unconscious.
In therapy it is often the remnants of memory with which we work.
Attention, paying attention and to what you attend, affects how memory is stored – so if you have attention deficit disorder you have a weird memory process. It isn’t that you don’t remember, it’s that you can’t necessarily find the information where you think it will be – it isn’t stored in the same way because of the attentional issues.
Sometimes even when you don’t have an attentional disorder your attention is distracted, either on purpose or accident, and your memory of something is distorted and spread out all over, so you don’t have access to it through any normal channels.
There is this amazing procedure called Traumatic Incident Reduction that allows one to work through the kind of memories that are pushed down into our unconscious, or spread out in weird ways. It helps to release them from their prison so that the information held within the memory can be used to help guide us, while the fear, pain or hurt connected to the memory can be unlinked from the memory ident and released from our physical bodies.
It helps to eradicate habit reaction patterns. Habit reaction patterns and survivor scenarios are connected to memory. The triggers that incite habit reaction patterns or keep us stuck in a survivor scenario pattern or style of being in the world, are parts of memory remnants with should action attached – if this then that – equations.
It helps us to view the traumatic memory from a distance so that we can mindfully evaluate what it is about and how it affected us and how we want to respond to the information of the event now.
It uses a technique that works with a defense mechanism identified by Freud called repetition compulsion. This mechanism is defined as a compulsion or strong push to repeat patterns or relationships that caused trauma in the person’s life, in order to get a different outcome.
This is a compulsion to repeat and as such, the person tends to do the same thing, get the same result, and then start over, and this keeps repeating ad nauseum – only when the person gets out of the habit reaction pattern or the survivor scenario can s/he then actually re-view the situation.
In order to stop the repetition compulsion the person needs to re-frame or shift the paradigm.
In order to do that, all parts of the memory and its different levels and perspectives of the memory must be viewed and evaluated and then re-incorporated to be seen more fully. This can happen through the techniques of TIR or, through some forms of light trancework, or through therapy.
I think of memories as having idents of information – not wholes of information – and the work with memories is to return to balance, to put together all the idents to understand it; it requires paradigm shifting and figure/ground.
I think the best practice to help with this is the practice of mindful meditation.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with how we maintain or even form our memories. And that can affect our relationships and how we learn.
Utilizing mindful meditation and teaching about paradigm shifting and remaining in the present can assist us in how we interpret and re-form our memories so that they can provide us with the most accurate, whole and useful information contained in them
See you tomorrow.