Therapy of dreaming- a photograph of the award for presenting at the 2016 International Hypnosis and Psychotherapy Conference

Improving Memory

Improving Memory is the third part of my presentation at the International Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy conference. Earlier parts are here and here.

Changing your outlook from ‘I am like this’ to ‘I can be different’ however – is a first step towards positive thinking. To do this therefore let’s focus first on memory.

Here are some points you need to know about improving memory;

Repeat – As humans we need to process information immediately and repeatedly. It’s why learning to play a musical instrument demands repetitive practice. Repeat to learn.

Match – Because when new knowledge comes along, we fit it to what we already know.

Picture it – We think in pictures and not words.

Slower – If we slow down,  we move information from our working memory into our long-term memory.

Structure –  we are meaning making machines, we search for meaning. It’s a classic part of the psychology of teaching. Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell it to them, and then tell them what you’ve just told them, therefore creating a structure.

Creative – our memory is both creative and re-creative, as in the movie ‘Inception’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio, where he implants memories to change reality.

Obviously (and ethically) therapists don’t do this, but many of my therapy clients are stuck in thoughts, one client for 20+ years.

We all know thoughts are important in therapy, take negative automatic thoughts in CBT. Thoughts and memories obviously connect, but importantly memories are not always fixed.

We think the memory works like a recording device

This is not true.

And changing this can create a new sense of possibility – a space where we can become

Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus is especially relevant in this area. She described memory as like a Wikipedia page because you can go in and you can change it, and so can other people.

As therapists we can’t plant memories, this is the reason that I don’t do Hypno-Gastric band work. If our memories represent our identity, it helps to know we can change it.

We can recreate a sense of self.

Memories are not cast in stone, there is room for change,  you are not painted into a corner. How many times have you heard people say “well, it’s just me, it’s just who I am”?

it’s because memories are a foundation to identity that if you can challenge them, then you can ask yourself, “what else can you challenge?”.

What can you change?

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