When The Past Lives On
IMPLICIT MEMORY: THE UNCONSCIOUS GHOST WRITERS OF OUR INTERNAL EXPERIENCE
We are meaning-making beings.
Primarily unconsciously, and largely directed by implicit memory, we observe our external reality, interpret it, and attach meaning to it. We create a subjective internal experience.
But the meaning we make depends on how we've learned to interpret and understand the world.
And central to this understanding are our beliefs. "I'm safe," "I belong," "I'm worthy," and "I'm enough," give rise to a very different interpretation of experience than their counterparts.
Anxiety, depression and mental distress are echoes of our history. They reflect a particular way we've learned to interpret and understand the world.
Change the interpretation. Change the meaning. Change the experience.
When Talking Isn't Enough
BECAUSE CHANGING THE NARRATIVE REQUIRES MORE THAN JUST A GOOD COPYWRITER
Relational psychotherapy is rooted in psychodynamics, attachment theory, object-relations theory and the principles of human development. Understanding that our behavioural patterns, personality, and identity are developed and shaped by early experiences, relational psychotherapy brings to light the implicit memories and unconscious processes from the past that are influencing the present.
Relational psychotherapy, being an insight-oriented approach, is of tremendous use in deepening self awareness, uncovering the unconscious roots of our mental and emotional distress, and alleviating self conscious emotions such as shame and self blame. But while insight is a key first step, true transformation comes not just from being aware of how the past has influenced the present, but from processing through the mental, emotional and neurological remnants of those past experiences.
When we are faced with overwhelming emotional distress or trauma, our brain's ability to properly make sense of our experience is greatly diminished. This leaves the experience unprocessed and emotionally loaded.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a technique that promotes information processing in the brain. When used during therapeutic reprocessing of a distressing experience, EMDR helps to integrate previously unprocessed information and resolve left-over emotional remnants.
Somatic & Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
Somatic psychotherapy is a nervous-system based approach rooted in the understanding that the body stores information in many ways, including non-linguistic forms. Where as cognitive and analytical psychotherapy approaches often reveal the narrative that our analytical mind has created, somatic techniques engage and work with felt-sense, directly accessing raw, unadulterated experience.
Drawing on the work of Peter Levine, the Hakomi Method, and sensorimotor psychotherapy, I utilize somatic techniques to help clients not just make sense of their experience on a cognitive level, but to reprocess it on an emotional and neurological level.
Ego State Therapy and Internal Family Systems
We all have different "parts" of ourselves. Technically, these are neural networks - interconnected brain pathways that are organized around different biological drives and form different aspects of our personality. While we all have these different parts, how they have developed and the beliefs they have internalized depend on our environment and are different for everyone.
Utilizing Ego State Therapy and Internal Family Systems theory, we are able to access and work with not just the adult logical brain, but the emotional parts of ourselves that often hold the key to moving from insight to transformation, from "knowing" to "believing." Because there's a world of difference between knowing every human has value and believing we are valuable.
Dissociation is a form of compartmentalization that often occurs as a result of intense emotional experiences and trauma. Such experiences can overwhelm our ability to process and integrate them, leaving us flooded with emotion. Dissociation helps us cope with the mental and emotional distress by creating psychological distance between us and the overwhelming material.
While dissociation helps us cope with difficult experiences, it also inhibits our ability to truly move past them. When the dissociative barriers that hinder treatment are dissolved, emotional processing is expedited and transformation is possible.