All the preceding cycles as you have seen have been feeding off one another. They have gathered great momentum and have grown in intensity and misery. They have almost come full circle. They now feed memory. Memory and perception are closely linked. In her book, Dr Weekes states that there is no drug for memory. Memory in my view is the inadvertent prime mover in this continuation of misery. Why? Because as Dr Weekes states “good memory works in just the same way as bad. ” Without a memory we would be zombies. Life would not be worth living. So it therefore follows that we need memory and unfortunately memory is absorbing bad feeling.
It has been in my view, the inadvertent goal of psychologists, psychotherapists and hypnotherapists to alter memory. There have been so many varied techniques devised to do just that. Some successful, some not. Mostly working on one or a few stages of the cycle. But are they really necessary when you understand these cycles and realise that dealing with one of those cycles in isolation will not be enough to affect the others? In my view, even Dr Weekes fell into this trap by not directly challenging the perception and demands.
In fairness, and out of great respect to Dr Weekes, I feel that her most significant contribution in the battle against nervous over reaction was in that one statement. “Good memory works just the same way as bad. ” In other words the person’s senses are constantly able to pick up stimuli from the environment using sight, sound, smell, feeling, and taste. These senses are reacting to what the environment presents, whether that is in crossing the road, eating a meal, listening to music, walking past a restaurant or having sex. Let us assume that these previous memories have been good ones and that the person experiences satisfaction from them. They are also the templates to guide us towards happiness and unhappiness. For example, imagine a time when you crossed the road and nearly got run down, taste a time when food was bad, hear a time when the music was lousy, smell a time when the cooking was yuk, feel a time when sex was not great. These experiences tell us to change what we do, in order to have more pleasurable times. The person at the extreme end of the scale in a stress/anxiety circle is constantly being bombarded with bad memories and does not know what to do to have more pleasurable times and therefore create good ones. Who would? Naturally, the person feels helpless.
Given what we now know about the cycle, it is hardly surprising. We carry memory with us wherever we go, it is always there to remind, and if, there is a plethora of bad ones, we will react accordingly. This then feeds perception and here we go again.
If that were understood, we would be able to dispense with an array of time-consuming therapeutic techniques that are futile in their ability to heal. Whether we like it or not memories will always be with us.
Freudian psychoanalysis through its uncovering, behaviourism through de-conditioning, Cognitive behavioural, through thought disputing techniques, Gestaltists, through closure of unfinished business, Rogerian, through self-actualisation, Rational Emotive Therapists, through disputing demands will never claim the word cure (and they don’t) because by their therapeutic procedures they only achieve with any certainty, one thing, re-activation of disturbing memory. Memory not properly understood or explained will always be waiting week’s months, years down the line to restrict the person and make him believe that he is abnormal. Memory of the disturbed kind is not created or perpetuated by the unconscious; it is the conscience that does this, as will be described later.
I hope that by careful explanation of how memory has been inadvertently created and fed will be enough for the person to at this stage begin to understand and to be a little less fearful. My therapeutic techniques are yet to follow.
Memory serves as a reminder for good experiences and for bad ones. We have seen how it has been an unwitting accomplice from the foregoing cycles of misery because now, it feeds PERCEPTION and so the cycle continues on its merry way towards even more misery. This is what makes a problem so confusing, this is what makes a person perceive that he will never get better, and this is what encourages the person to think in an even more child like way. It is my experience that most of my clients can follow the cycle as I have explained it to you, and begin to find relief in knowing that they have been caught in a trap and that the cycle is reversible.
It is interesting to note that the client who has been experiencing the most intense symptoms is usually the one who recognises the simplicity of how their difficulties started and more importantly, how they are perpetuated. It takes time for the cycle to be reversed, but reversed it can be.
An extract from my book; Breaking the Vicious Circle of Psychological Misery