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“Nearly two decades of research on memory distortion leaves no doubt that memory can be altered via suggestion. People can be led to remember their past in different ways, and they even can be led to remember entire events that never actually happened to them.” (Loftus, 1995)

It’s official the human memory is plastic. How does that work?

You know when you are talking to a family member about something that happened in the past, how come they remember it differently to you? How come witnesses or victims making statements about the same crime recall different aspects of the same event?

Well it’s simple really, the conscious mind has to delete a certain amount of information otherwise it would overwhelmed with data and wouldn’t be able to function. How each of us does this varies hugely. It can depend on your sensory preferences, visual, auditory or kinesthetic. It can depend on what you believe to be true, your prejudgments based on experience.

When you see a teenager walking around or hanging outside of a supermarket looking uncomfortable, what do you make of it? Most people will be concerned maybe even threatened, maybe even believe there is a danger. That was me before I had teenage children myself who used to hang out in front of our local shops with his pals with his hood up. There was no threat at all then!! I was filtering out different information on different occasions and not seeing the full picture.

This is very useful when working with clients who are wanting to boost self-confidence or overcome anxiety or even obsessive compulsive behaviour and thoughts. You weren’t born with these issues so what you’ve learnt you can unlearn. You can’t change the past; it’s over but your can change your relationship to it.

Cognitive hypnotherapy enables you to make the past whatever it needs to be for it to be helpful to you in the present and future. In doing this we work using the fact that memory is plastic. When you begin to see and experience the past differently, you can let go of unwanted thoughts, feelings and beliefs and enjoy the differences this can make in your life.

Jill Tonks

Jill Tonks

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