All of us, have both positive and challenging emotions linked to certain memories of our past.
Psychotherapy, however, can help us to transform these challenging emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear or stress.
Talking to a Psychotherapist in and of itself, has its own powerful benefits.
For instance, in times where we feel the people around us do not understand us, or we feel we can’t be open and honest about our thoughts, feelings and experiences for fear of being judged, misunderstood, criticised or ridiculed, talking to a Psychotherapist can provide us with a great sense of relief.
However, alongside talking, Psychotherapists will introduce tools and practices during sessions to help alleviate challenging emotions, associated with particular memories.
These tools and practices, can also be brought into your daily life, to help you to feel grounded and safe in times where you do not.
What I have learnt since seeking Psychotherapy, is that with every memory we have, there is an emotion attached to it.
This I was surprised by, as I believed memories were set in stone, so couldn’t be changed and had I not engaged with Psychotherapy, I still would not have been aware of the power of memories.
In particular, I learnt whilst some memories have positive emotions attached to them, others have challenging emotions attached to them, such as, sadness, anger, fear, or stress.
Each memory, therefore, impacts the way we think, feel and act in the present moment and it is for this reason, we often rehash certain memories over and over again in our minds.
Hence, why it is important we are open, honest and vulnerable with ourselves, about our past memories and the challenging emotions attached to them (through seeking therapy), because along with our daily thoughts, feelings and experiences, it is these memories keeping us stuck from creating the change we want to see in our lives.
If you’ve not visited past memories with challenging emotions attached to them before, you’ll have no idea where to begin. Therefore, why it is important to seek out a Psychotherapist who implements the tools and practices I will discuss below into their practice, as they will be able to provide you with the necessary support.
A Psychotherapist, in addition, will be able to help you re-frame your thoughts around particular memories so you can think, as well as, feel differently about yourself, others associated with the memory and the memory itself.
1) Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
The first tool, therefore, that transformed my memories and the challenging emotions attached to them, was Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), otherwise known as tapping.
I was introduced to tapping a few weeks or so into my therapy sessions, as I expressed to my therapist a challenging experience occurring in my present life, which my therapist suspected was linked to a passed memory. This passed memory had strong associations of anger, fear and hurt attached to it.
Therefore, giving me the confidence to make different decisions than I would have made otherwise.
Whilst I’m still not 100% confident or comfortable talking to new people, as a result of EFT and Psychotherapy, I do feel less afraid.
How EFT works
EFT, involves tapping on meridian points on your face and body whilst reciting a script over and over again, until a challenging emotion you are feeling is no longer there and instead you feel a lot more calmer.
To learn more about EFT take a look at Nick Ortner’s, (Founder and author of The Tapping Solution (EFT) website and check out this Marie Forleo (Founder of Marie TV and Bestselling author of ‘Everything is Figureoutable‘) interview with Nick Ortner.
In conjunction with EFT, or on its own, visualisation is another powerful tool that has transformed my life.
Prior to getting Psychotherapy, I had heard of visualisations being used in the sports fields to help athletes envision success, however, I hadn’t heard of them being used in any other context.
Visualisation in Psychotherapy, however, is used to help you observe your challenging emotions (rather than become consumed by them) and similarly to it’s use in the sports field, gives you an opportunity to re-imagine and rewrite a different scenario to a memory you have.
This may sound like you may be lying to yourself, but in actuality, by replaying a different scenario in your mind over and over again, whilst ensuring to feel how it would feel had you experienced the situation you are imagining instead, you begin to feel confident and believe that the scenario you are imagining did actually happen.
As with therapy, there is a process to visualisation, which you’ll need to trust in, as the results aren’t immediately evident.
The result of following and trusting in the process, is that you will have the confidence to act differently when faced with a similar situation in future and believe me, if you’ve not resolved a past memory and situation, a similar situation will resurface in your current life.
It may be that different people are involved, but ultimately the same connotations will be attached and the same feelings will arise (for more information around this, have a read of ‘The Universe has your Back by Bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein).
Unlike, EFT, where you might use it on occasion, and visualisation, where you’ll need to set a specific time in your day to undertake it, mindfulness, is a practice that is intended to increase your awareness of how you are feeling and what you are thinking in any given moment’ so you can transform the emotions you are feeling then and there.
Therefore, once again helping you to make different decisions than you would have made otherwise, but this time, in the moment.
Mindfulness, is a practice I still find challenging and need to practice every single day, however, when I do practice it, I feel happier, grounded and present, rather than anxious and afraid.