You know you can think of happy memories and feel the happy emotion, if you let yourself. Just like you can think of a scary or sad memory and feel that emotion.
There is a definite connection between what our memories have stored and how we generally feel. If there is very strong emotion associated with a memory, a person may tend to feel that emotion in some way, constantly, below the surface.
This can cause psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress and depression. It can also cause more basic disruption in your life like fears, phobias and high stress.
Medication commonly prescribed for relief of these issues, but it only attempts to address the ‘symptoms’ rather than address the cause. The problem is rarely ‘fixed’ with medication.
The key to long term help with these issues would appear to be the emotional association with the memory. What would happen if that association could be erased, reduced or even changed?
There is a medication being researched called propranolol that acts as an “amnesia drug”. It is being used to directly disrupt the connection between our memories and the emotions associated with them.
The study, described in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, talks about psychiatrists at McGill University and Harvard University using the amnesia drug to interrupt the memories of trauma victims. The drug reduces the emotional part of the memory while leaving the conscious part of the memory.
This resulted in people that can remember the memory, but have a sense of detachment or dissociation from the event. The permanence of this process and potential side effects are not yet known.
There are also ways to reduce and change the emotions associated with memories. These processes are well established and have no side-effects.
Hypnosis seems better suited for this process since, when in hypnosis, you are using the emotional part of your mind. This is particularly true with traumatic memories from childhood. When re-experiencing memories from childhood (revivification) a person often “feels” young again, rather than experiencing it with their current age and experience.
When using modern hypnosis to re-experience a traumatic memory, the hypnotist needs to be properly trained for the process to be quick and effective. When these conditions are met, the client can experience the memory with the perspective of adulthood. This alone will often reduce or negate the emotions involved.
Working with issues with these methods are about updating perceptions, and beliefs. Not just in a conscious way, but also in a subconscious, feeling way.
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