The Fast Therapy Method for Resolving Traumatic Memories
Mandy Cooper, Chief Executive
Thoughts – those creative, imaginative, distorting little snapchats that base their information on the odd tinge of reality before distorting themselves beyond all reality. They have no moral compass – they often lie; but this is justified always and only in the pursuit of their ‘art’.
After all, why spoil a good story by sticking to the actual facts?
This beautiful and creative artistry would be a tourist attraction, were it in the mortal world. But locked, as it is, in the basements of our mind, we find ourselves tripping over the exhibits on a daily basis. Disorderly memories are left out in the rain of emotion; infused with regret and fear and shame.
Late at night, oftentimes, our mind requests a tidy up. Presenting these distorted and sodden pieces of perspective, it voices a silent question, “Where do you want to file this?”
And then, the rumination begins; anxiety grows, the memories and emotions slosh around on a perpetual cycle of washing that never gets quite clean. The truth is, you don’t want to file it; you don’t want to keep it. You want it erased from your mind. Not wanting to contaminate the storage, you leave it where it is. The mind is irritated, offering more exhibits to pursue for correct filing. You mentally shake your head; none of them.
The amygdala wakes up. There’s something awry – lots of traumatic emotions being triggered – something must be terribly, terribly wrong. Breathing quickens, heart rate speeds, hyperventilation causes tingling, tightness and pain. The curator of ancient exhibits steps aside whilst something with higher priority plays out; never for one second realising that it was the objects themselves that started this whole fuss in the first place.
We can’t (and should never try) to suppress these memories. But they don’t have to carry the same power; dragging around the emotions of the moment that passed decades ago, like some chewed comfort blanket.
And so, we need to time travel. We go back; not to ruminate and discuss and chastise ourselves. Not to re-experience trauma and fear. Not to talk about – no endless, fruitless reminiscing…not at all! We take a guided trip to our past, we dismiss the curator, separate the image from the emotion, and file it away properly in history. The curator is pleased – that’s what he wanted all along. He shrugs and ponders, ‘Surely I was making that clear – every night as I challenged the mind for a plan and purpose for perspective?’
And suddenly, we realise the difference between remembering and re-experiencing. Memories will file in the albums of our mind forever; where we can choose to leave them stacked on shelves, taking out only the ones we want to revisit from time to time. But with no urgency, no panic and no sense of impending threat to accompany them.
Not through a glass, darkly – but through the bright, sun-dappled light of a new, more hopeful, day.
Bayberry offers powerful, brief interventions for trauma, following this metaphorical process, within which there is no need to relive or describe events for the therapist. If you’re interested in knowing more, please contact us on 0800 690 6366