“All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.”
Humans love storytelling. And as a therapist, I’m no stranger to stories that have limited our capacity for growth and meaning in our lives.
And we do it unconsciously.
How many times have you repeated the same limiting story over and over to friends and family? This story will usually have an “always or never” in the sentence. In a storytelling twist (again most likely outside your consciousness) you’ve turned the main character, YOU, into one that has no more tricks up his/her sleeve, where hope is lost and life will never work out.
You’ll never get the job, the guy or the respect.
What therapists find most fulfilling are those pivotal sessions in which a client experiences a deeply felt shift- an Ah Ha- that dispels longstanding negative emotional patterns, belief systems, and symptoms.
These emotional learnings formed in the presence of intense emotion, such as core beliefs (e.g. “I’m not good enough.”) and constructs formed in childhood, are locked into the brain by durable synapses, and it seemed up until 2004, that the brain threw away the key.
Memory reconsolidation is a type of neuro-plasticity which when launched by a certain series of experiences, actually unlocks the synapses of a target emotional learning, allowing it to be not merely over ridden but actually nullified and deleted by new learning.
This is transformational because we rely daily on emotional implicit memory to navigate us through many situations without having to go through the slow labor-intensive process of figuring out, conceptually and verbally, what to do; we simply know what to do and we know it quickly.
Yet our memory is also a curse because it makes the worst experiences in our past persist as felt emotional realities in the present and in our present sense of the future.
Trauma and especially unconscious childhood trauma that have formed these core beliefs can have profound and long lasting effects on our lives. It can be defined as as any experience that overwhelms our ability to cope and leaves us feeling powerless and vulnerable.
Trauma can take many forms, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, natural disasters, accidents, and witnessing or experiencing violence. It can be an absentee parent or an acrimonious parental divorce. The list is endless.
If you have experienced trauma, it is important to know that you are not alone. Many people have gone through similar experiences, and with the right support, it is possible to heal and find a sense of inner strength and resilience.
Somtimes painful memories are like “apps” that get downloaded into your emotional system, continuing to influence you in the present, or causing you to overreact to anything that seems similar.
Memory Reconsolidation is one technique that can be helpful in the healing process, and I invite you to try the exercise in the following section.
If you have a memory that’s particularly stressful or have identified it as an entry point for Memory Reconsolidation, this is a great primer.
Whether through 1:1 therapy, hypnotherapy, or our popular Writing Bravely support group, you will learn the WHY behind your not feeling happy and content with your life. You’ll process through childhood trauma and create new emotional meaning to replace the unconscious core schemas, and emotional wounds. You’ll reduce fear, insecurities, and build up, and learn tools to cope and gain control of your emotions while identifying the source of the issues. Memory Reconsolidation can finally help you create the YOU that you want to be.
Dr. Adina Silvestri is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Certified Brainspotter in Richmond, Virginia.
She loves using storytelling and metaphor, among other techniques, to help clients become aware that the feelings need to fit the facts and sometimes the facts are just wrong!
She is also a trauma informed therapist!