Are you struggling with negative thoughts, feelings of anxiety or irrational fears? Read on to discover the root of Emotional Memory Images, they may just be the cause of your troubles.
Who created the term Emotional Memory Image?
The term ‘Emotional Memory Images’ was first coined by me, Matt Hudson in 2015. At the time I was studying the work of the famous hypnotist Hippolyte Bernheim (1840-1919) [i]. Bernheim had successfully worked with many different presenting human conditions, both physical and mental. He described the cause of these illnesses as ‘Sensitive Memory Images’ which pointed to the sensitivity a person may have toward these mental pictures, stored inside your mind. However, Professor Mark Johnson[ii]and I concluded that the term ‘emotional memory images’ was more fitting, as the emotions are triggered by the mental image that the mind produces. We now have an academic paper specifically on Emotional Memory Images, undergoing peer review.
How do Emotional Memory images drive anxiety or other psychophysiological dis-eases?
Emotional memory images are stored inside your mind, they act as an alarm for your safety and survival. Whenever you come into a similar situation or context, this triggers your natural stress response, causing your body to flood with stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). Your heartbeat is raised, and you are now at the mercy of your imagination. Oh dear! If this process roles out for several years, then it’s not difficult to grasp how damning this can be on your physical and mental health.
How are Emotional Memory Images created?
Emotional memory images are created when you feel emotionally overwhelmed or threatened in first-time situations. Maybe you have a fear of public speaking or being in a crowd. If you consider for a moment, the first group you will have mixed with outside of your family will have been at school. The classroom holds many emotional memory images for us all. If your teacher was angry with you, or even with another child, your mind would absorb the anger. I still remember my teacher’s tone when they growled, “Someone is in trouble!” and even though I hadn’t done anything wrong, I still thought I was about to be punished. These are the kinds of experiences that create emotional memory images. Now, 30 years later, if you are asked to give a speech the emotional memory image appears, switching off your smart brain, allowing panic in. The flood of stress chemicals may even lead you to believe that you are having a heart attack! This is by no means a fun experience!
Why can’t I remember my first-time emotional experience?
Your subconscious mind is designed to keep you safe from harm. Most of your first-time experiences will have taken place before you learned to talk, that’s one of the reasons why you can’t remember. However, just because you can’t remember them doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk wrote the book ‘The Body Keeps The Score’[iii], full of case studies, where the client’s body would emit signs of trauma many years after the event.
Our work aims to show the cause of psychophysiological dis-ease. We point to the speed at which we learn fear, i.e., a split-second. Within the blink of an eye, your mind has appraised the situation, taken a snapshot recording, and stored it for future survival. Therefore, the chances of you remembering are pretty slim, as it happens too fast. Check out our theory of Split-second Unlearning for a more in depth understanding of how your mind works.
Why does an Emotional Memory Image need to be cleared quickly?
The process of unlearning your fears must happen as quickly as your mind first took them on board. Many talking therapies go hunting into your past to help you uncover your traumatic childhood, this can be very painful for you, not to mention the time and money. By capturing your split-second access to the emotional memory image, we are able to interrupt the informational flow between your mind and your brain. Now your entire system is able to reboot, restore and rebalance.
Also, I discovered that if I listen to your story then I cease to be objective in my role as facilitator. Having you focus on the initial split-second allows you space to explore and get curious about the possibilities. The moment you are curious, you begin to create a space inside your mind. Curiosity brings dopamine and increases your potential for change[iv]
Why haven’t I heard about this before?
I have been working to develop my theory for over 25 years, so it’s not new. My work is self-funded; therefore, it takes a lot longer to get things published and into the mainstream. My life partner Lisa Mcloughlin has encouraged me to find better ways to help you, quickly, easily and affordably. This is how we came up with MindReset.
MindReset is a mobile app that uses eye tracking to locate and interrupt your emotional memory images. Although still in its infancy, we have had amazing results. We even supply a free stress relief program to help those for whom money is a barrier to accessing help.
The good news is, you are here now, and I can help you. Check out my other publications to realise that change really can happen in a moment.
[i] Bernheim, H.1899 reissued 2018. Suggestive therapeutics: A treatise on the nature and uses of hypnotism. Berlin: Franklin Classics.
[iii] Bessel van der Kolk https://www.amazon.co.uk/Body-Keeps-Score-Transformation-Trauma/dp/0141978619/ref=asc_df_0141978619/?tag=googshopuk-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid=310865071345&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4912944520683583540&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1006906&hvtargid=pla-452579060347&psc=1&th=1&psc=1
[iv] Gruber, M.J., Gelman, B.D., and Ranganath, C. (2014). States of curiosity modulate hippocampus-
dependent learning via the dopaminergic circuit. Neuron 84(2), 486-496.