how does a psychologist retrieve memories during therapy?

Postby mute » Sat May 23, 2020 7:59 am

so I keep hearing
work with your childhood trauma
you must have grown up in bad environment
etc

but what if I don't remember it?
almost complete blackout for 4-5 years of my childhood where I cant recall or place memories into that period of time
its blank
what do you do then?

are there any tools that could help me recall things and place them into the timeline?
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#1

Postby tokeless » Sat May 23, 2020 11:19 am

Most of us can only remember certain early periods of our childhood if it was a balanced one. Memory suppression can occur with trauma and it acts like a defence mechanism but leaves scars. The risk of trying to remember things you can't recall can leave you open to false memory syndrome and studies have shown these to be powerful, where false memories were created and the person suddenly recalls them and makes them real because it helps them fill in gaps. However, they aren't real so you get no benefit or understanding of yourself from these. I try and focus on what I can change, which is now. The future is unknown and the past can't be changed.
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#2

Postby mute » Sun May 24, 2020 3:14 am

so what do you do if you have traumatic experience but you don't know which one caused your current issue?
I mean I grew up in Russia and I have an assortment of possible traumatic experiences that could have caused my current issues from head trauma to suicides in the family among many others that I could think of that might have caused something..
lol how do I get rid of the effect if I cant find the casue?
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#3

Postby tokeless » Sun May 24, 2020 9:18 am

I'm slightly confused. You describe traumatic events in your life but need a specific event that you can't remember in a time period of 4-5 years. The assumption being what bothers you now must have happened then and that's what you need to identify as the cause? I would suggest talking about your experiences that you remember as this may open up other issues that you can't recall but may be triggered by that discussion.
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#4

Postby mute » Fri May 29, 2020 3:48 am

how would you identify if one of the issues I remember was the cause?
out of the ones I remember i have many that could be the cause.
or none of them and it could be something that i completely blacked out of my memory.
im just trying to understand how it works im curious.
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#5

Postby tokeless » Fri May 29, 2020 4:39 am

Hi,
I'm not sure it works the way you want. I guess you need to just talk to a therapist and see where it goes.
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#6

Postby Candid » Fri May 29, 2020 10:41 am

If I were working as a therapist I would probably start with the inevitable admin as soon as I'd greeted you and you'd sat down. That would include checking with you whether I had the right contact details, as well as what reason you'd given for requesting counselling at this time. The idea would be to 'ground' you before attempting to go deeper.

If, as your reason for requesting therapy at this time, you started by saying: "I have some bad memories and I think there's something I've forgotten", I would ask: "Do you want to tell me about the things you do remember?"

So mute, do you want to tell me about the things you do remember?
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