As a Therapist, our training and teaching make us aware that we have the responsibility to be careful not to make suggestions that may cause you to think that something happened, when it didn’t. It is also important to point out to you that our memories could be historical fact, or they could be a mixture, or even incorrect. Here are some of the thoughts from experts about the memory:
“As a therapist, your job is not to be a detective; your job is not to
be a fact-finder; your job is not to be a judge or a jury; and your job is also not to make the family feel better. Your job is to help the patient make sense out of his/her life, make sense out of his/her symptoms…and make meaning out of his/her experience.” Judith Herman
“…memories, by nature, are fluid and malleable, easily influenced by suggestion. People told they were abused eventually believe that they were, regardless of fact. The mind creates a visual picture of the abusive act. And if a person is surrounded by others who encourage her to draw out these pictures and details, this new memory can become even more vivid than an actual remembrance. To complicate things further, the brain starts creating emotional responses to these memories, which seem to validate the claims even more.” Rebecca Meiser
“…horrific experiences are stored but ‘forgotten.’ Some of these memories later return in flashbacks…The body keeps store, but the brain doesn’t always remember.” B.A. Van der Kolk.
Most memory researchers and therapists believe that any serious abuse after the age of about 4 will be remembered into adulthood – particularly if it was repeated. My practice with Child Sexual Abuse or child psychological/physical abuse confirms this theory. I have not had one client that did not know that they had been abused prior to consulting with me. Whether those memories are now historical facts or a mixture of added data, via reading books, watching movies, taking others views into these matters, if what actually happened is not able to be verified or substantiated it could be inaccurate.
There has been and still is much debate about memory. Some memory is deep in the subconscious as you have put it behind you and moved on in life without thinking about it as you did not need to do so, but an unexpected trigger like seeing a photo or news item, or hearing a voice or a piece of music can suddenly bring it back to mind. Some of the experts think that this type of memory has a higher likelihood of being true. Whereas repressed memories, that come to light through therapy using hypnosis and other suggestive techniques that only appear gradually, after a long period of therapy have a lower likelihood of being true, and more likely to be based on nightmares, horror comics, frightening TV programs and movies, etc.
Research where a group of people watched a mock hold up were interviewed a short time later for statements about the hold up. They were then interviewed a month later by a different interviewer, and once again three months later. Not only were there conflicting stories about what had actually happened, but it was found that stories of what had happened changed from the original statement. A volunteer was adamant that he had not said that earlier, but then had to concede that he was wrong when he was shown the video tape of his first interview that had indeed shown that he had said what he was now denying.
Whether our memory is accurate or not, if you feel that it is accurate and that causes you anxiety, then I will help you to deal with those memories in an appropriate way to release your anxiety.
I don’t have to know what caused your anxiety –
If you have an anxiety without knowing its source, there are ways of releasing the anxiety without having to know what caused it.