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Memories are an interesting thing. We can recount things fondly, or with humour, or with complete distress, or indifference, or something entirely different. Oftentimes, memories are what brings people to therapy. These memories may have happened in the recent past, or the long past.

Each event we encounter be it something we perceive as positive, something we perceive as negative, or something we perceive as something else, is stored in our brain, through neural pathways. Each memory holds three parts to it; the chronological recount, the physiological responce and the emotional response.

Let’s take one event, as an example. A person has been nipped. The chronological recount would be the part of what happened; the who, where, what the person saw, what happened just before and after. The physiological response would be what the body did; maybe be a red mark at the site where the nip happened, or nail marks, or a bruise. The emotional response would be how the person felt about it; angry, shocked, sad, amused.

Take a moment just to think of a memory of yours, something that you think of fondly, or something you think of less fondly, it’s totally up to you. Then work out what is the chonological memory, what is the physiological response and what is the emotional response.

One, two or all of those can cause problems for someone and it can be those problems that brings someone to therapy. Someone might have a chronological recount but no emotions connected, or might re-experience the physiological response in misplaced situations, or something totally different.

What can be useful in therapy is the marry the parts back up, and then to heal them, so that no parts of it cause problems; that the emotion is released and healed, that the physiological response is healed and that the chronological recount does not provoke either of the other two (and vice versa with all three). That may sound daunting, especially for traumatic memories, but any skilled therapist will help you navigate through it in the most effective way for you, helping you to remain safe and come out the other side. Hypnotherapy and BWRT are both incredibly effective for working with memories and bringing around really positive results. Counselling is also very effective, although I don’t do that in my private practice yet.

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