Marilyn vos Savant is a national columnist and author and has been listed in Guinness World Records for “highest IQ” (both as a child and an adult).
I was reading her Q&A column in Parade (Sunday newspaper magazine, readership 79 million) and was delighted to see a mental health question. The reader asked why, if we could hypnotize people to remember things, we couldn’t also hypnotize people to forget memories, especially traumatic ones.
Marilyn’s answer shocked me. She wrote that there would be no benefit to a procedure such as this because trauma is stored in the chemicals in our brain. It is stored in such a way that even if we could forget the memory, we could not erase the corresponding emotional impact.
What; really? Trauma is stored in the chemicals in our brain? While trusting one of our leading geniuses to state the facts accurately, I nevertheless checked in with my favorite genius, The Google (kudos to ex-President George Bush for that name). Sure enough, both geniuses agreed. I found many articles that verified that we do have evidence to support that trauma is, in fact, stored in the brain.
I have several clients who will be relieved to hear this as it explains why their PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms are especially intractable.
Another tidbit: the new psychiatric bible release, the DSM 5, has revised the criteria for PTSD to include emotional trauma as well as physical threats.
So whether it’s childhood trauma, physical or sexual abuse, the trauma of rape, a home invasion, complicated grief, the emotional trauma of a chronic dysfunctional marriage, or any other traumatic situation–your brain holds these negative events inside you, assuring you that you will have to find a resolution for them. The good news: It’s not you! It’s your brain!
Other good news–we do have proven mental health treatments for these burdens your brain carries. These include: cognitive and behavioral therapies, EMDR, exposure exercises, visualization/meditation techniques, and when needed: a calm and loving presence at the wheel (that’s your therapist!).
So please don’t suffer alone. In mental health, we’ve got your back. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, reach up, and let us help you if you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Many thanks to our world geniuses, both human and virtual. We love your brains!