Can PTSD and Traumatic Memories be Healed?
Exploring the Power of the Brains’ Ability to Heal Itself
Deep in our limbic system (our emotional brain) we store memories from the terrors of our personal experiences to the threats to our survival. Trauma may have many faces whether it is one of being a soldier at war, enduring unspeakable things or being a small, powerless child at the hands of an angry adult. Although it is your neocortex (the left brain, which has logic and language) that helps you tell the story of what happened, it is your limbic system (the emotional brain) that stores the memory of sound, touch, smell and emotion of the event: Guns firing, metal crashing, shrieking voices and the helplessness that hangs in the air, all mixed up with other sensations.
Often, PTSD and trauma survivors have unbearably vivid, yet fragmented images, smells and distinct sounds lingering in their psyche, beneath the language brain. Fragmented because when data comes into our conscious mind as traumatic, unprocessed sense fragments of trauma such as sounds, smells and physical sensations are registered separately from the story itself.
Later, similar sensations may trigger a flashback that brings it all back into consciousness, unmodified by the passage of time. When those who have experienced trauma are reminded of the past, the right brain reacts as if the traumatic event were happening in the present because trauma and PTSD interfere with processing.
This is precisely why talk therapy offers little comfort because the memory is stored in the implicit (unconscious) part of the brain. Telling and retelling the story only serves to live and relive the incident, which does not heal or clear the incident from the implicit memory. Thus one continues to be triggered by emotions.
Physical Ailments Related to PTSD & Trauma
A traumatic wound can produce unsuspected difficulties that are not consciously tied to trauma: autoimmune disorders, physical ailments, learning difficulties, anxiety and dissociation, as well as, a whole array of ailments. Often we use coping mechanisms to help us hold down the trauma so we can function in the world. The coping mechanisms themselves become part of the issue.
Emotional Learning is learning that occurs in the presence of strong emotion- formed in the midst of suffering—then becomes locked into subcortical implicit memory circuits by special synapses.
Can Traumatic Memories be Healed?
So how do we heal the implicit memory? Neuroscience has discovered that the human brain itself has a natural process by which to heal traumatic/PTSD memories.
From 1997 to 2000, a major breakthrough occurred in our understanding of how emotional memory works. Neuroscientists discovered that the brain has its’ own process by which to heal traumatic memories. By following the brains own processes, traumatic memories can be cleared of emotional triggers and thus healed.
Neuroscientists have shown that through the process of Memory Reconsolidation, an individual will still remember the experience but the emotional response or trigger is no longer present when recalling traumatic experiences.
This was indeed an industry changing discovery. Now we know that we are no longer required to carry the disturbing memory with us, to live and relive the emotional experience and be triggered by seemingly unrelated situations.
Instead our minds can be cleared and heal from trauma and PTSD. We can reclaim our energy and focus to live our lives to our best advantage unencumbered by the trauma and PTSD we have experienced in our lives, unaffected by traumatic memories or emotions. We can now live our lives focused on only what has value for us and for our future. Neuroscience has concluded that Memory Reconsolidation is both effective and enduring.
For more about Memory Reconsolidation Treatment see https://www.inspiredbyhopecounselingllc.com/rapid-resolution-therapy
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