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What You Remember And How You Act

Feb 9, 2008
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.

Our mind stores all of our memories and they're always active, just not in a way our conscious mind is aware of. Because of this, we can constantly be affected by the emotions in our memories. Even memories you don't think you 'remember'.

The strong emotion associated with memories can cause disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The emotions can also cause more normal life problems, such as anger, stress, sadness, or fear.

While medication is commonly used for these issues, it only attempts to dampen the symptoms rather than treat the cause. The issue rarely goes away with this type of treatment.

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?

A process is being researched using the medication, propranolol, which works as an "amnesia drug". The theory is to directly disrupt the connection between our memories and the emotions associated with them.

This study, in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, talks about psychiatrists at McGill University and Harvard University using the amnesia drug to disrupt the memories of trauma victims. The drug reduces the emotional part of the memory while leaving the conscious part of the memory.

People can still remember what happened, but get a sense of distance or detachment from the memory. How permanent this process is and any potential side effects are not discussed.

It all seems a little too sci-fi to me, when there are more reliable, established, and safer methods available.

Specifically hypnosis. Proper hypnosis seems more effective for this process since, when you are in hypnosis, you are using the emotional portion of your mind. This is especially true with memories containing strong emotion from childhood. When experiencing memories from childhood will generally 'feel' the age you were when you created the memory.

Before a hypnotist uses modern hypnosis methods with traumatic memories, they must be properly trained. With the proper training, this process is safe, rapid and reliable. Clients often notice a difference after one session.

This process is essentially about gaining perspective on the experience and the client's part in the experience. This process will often create a sense of distance and separation from the memory. A memory, minus the negative emotions.
About the Author
Patrick Glancy, NGH Board Certified Hypnotist
Stress Management
Quick Hypnosis - Self-Help Hypnosis on CD and MP3 Download
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