As much as we would like for life to be a wonderful joyous experience, tragedy is a reality. Many people suffer traumatic events, physical or sexual abuse or other experiences that are difficult to heal from.
What do we do when tragedy occurs? How can we get back on our feet again, muster up the strength to move on and face life with a sense of courage and optimism? How can we heal the scars of tragedy?
Just last week I worked with a woman who has suffered from childhood abuse and wanted to get rid of the negative programming left behind by this event. At the end of our first session, after using an NLP process called Reimprinting, she began to cry. I asked her what those were tears of. She answered, saying, “I feel happy… and I don’t think I have ever felt this before.”
It was a beautiful moment, and one that is possible for others who have suffered from traumatic events that still haunt them.
Traumatic events can destroy an entire life… but it doesn’t have to be that way.
After experiencing a traumatic event, either as a child or an adult, some people are able to heal, move forward and live a fulfilling life. Others are paralyzed by the pain, unable to heal and move on and haunted by disturbing memories and difficulties in many areas of life.
What is the difference?
Dealing with Painful Memories
If you are suffering from painful memories and haunted by past events that you’d like to let go of, what can you do?
The answer begins in the science of memory.
Think for a moment about how memory works. Many conceive of their memory as being an accurate representation of events, yet science has proven that this is not the case.
The brain is not a video camera: memory is fallible.
When we experience an event, the mind processes sensory information and encodes it as a memory. The event is then over and done with, but the memory remains. The memory is like a snapshot of the event and sticks in the mind like a template. The memory is not the event.
The events that we lived and our memory of them is not the same. As we take in information, we delete, distort and generalize and give the event meaning. We then encode the information and store it in the mind.
Science has shown that one’s memory of an event is not equal to the event itself and in fact, the event is likely very different from your memory of it.
In his book Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence) writes: “Our memories are in part reconstructions. Whenever we retrieve a memory, the brain rewrites it a bit, updating the past according to our present concerns and understanding.”
If memory is not a fully accurate representation of what occurred, what is it that causes us pain and holds us back? The event, or the memory?
As we store memories we encode them in certain ways. We give them meaning and store them in way the mind and body can read. A memory then functions as a template in the mind, telling us what to believe, what is true and how to think and behave.
Think of an unpleasant event from your past; not something major, just something small for the sake of this exercise. As you think of the memory, you will either be inside it as if you’re there right now or you’ll see yourself from the outside as an observer.
If you are inside the memory you will feel the emotions more intensely. To your mind and body it will be as if you are reliving the event. If you’re looking on from the outside, you’ll see that younger you, but your emotions will be less intense.
Someone suffering from PTSD or paralyzed by a past trauma will be inside the memory. Their mind will be replaying the event over and over again. It’s not just a flashback, it’s a fully interactive experience.
Someone who has recovered from a traumatic event will be outside of the event looking on as an obaerver. From there they have a feeling of detachment so they can deal with the memory resourcefully. It is like they’re just watching a movie.
It’s not the event or the memory that leaves someone paralyzed with fear and pain, but rather the way the mind has encoded it.
For someone who is suffering after a traumatic event, we need to change the way the event is stored in their mind so they can heal and move forward. There are several methods for doing this, each which works fairly quickly to produce a sense of relief and increased feeling of peace inside.
The methods of hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) have demonstrated impressive results in helping individuals recover from trauma and abuse. Various NLP process have proven effective in resolving traumatic memories and eliminating the self-defeating programming that these events have brought.
Re-imprinting: A psychological method by which the encoding of a past memory is modified, so a past memory that is causing limitations and harmful emotions becomes the foundation for a greater sense of resourcefulness.
When I guide suffers of abuse through this process, they report feelings of greater peace, happiness and balance.
Timeline Therapy: A method by which negative emotions can be let go of and the mind can be brought to re-evaluate/reprocess past events.
After bringing clients through this process, they report a greater sense of peace, lightness and peace with the past.
NLP Trauma Cure: This method can be used to neutralize negative emotions from a past memory.
Clients report having greater distance from past events and feel freer to move forward.
In his book Resolve: A New Model of Therapy, Richard Bolstat describes the NLP Trauma Cure as the most well researched of all NLP techniques. He mentions numerous studies that verified the efficacy of this method for various problems such as phobias, healing past memories and treating PTSD. His book includes transcripts of sessions in which these processes are used to heal past memories.
In The Trauma Trap by Dr. David Muss, extensive research into this process is documented. In one study he performed, he worked with 70 members of the West Midlands Police Department who had witnesses major disasters such as the Lockerbie air crash in Scottland in 1988 and of which 19 qualified as suffering from PTSD. All reported feeling completely free of PTSD symptoms after an average of three sessions. In his book, Muss says, “I know that it has worked for every patient I have dealt with so far, without exception.”
In addition to being used privately in various places in the world, these methods are currently being used with Canadian military veterans in Pembrooke, Ontario by a psychologist and practitioner of NLP.
Many sufferers of traumatic events suffer for months and years, turning to various methods of therapy and medication. Some may give up hope all together if these methods do not succeed. But the mind has the natural capacity to heal. When this does not occur, we can retrigger the mind’s innate resilience, re-encode memories in a way the enables a person to move on, and help them take back their life again.
Wendy describes what she gained from 3D Hypnosis:
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