|Mind/Body Gender Issues Symposium 2012 Future of Psychotherapy William Doherty Community of Excellence Diets Mary Jo Barrett Great Attachment Debate Alan Sroufe Linda Bacon Etienne Wenger Narcissistic Clients CE Comments Attachment Trauma Wendy Behary Anxiety Mindfulness The Future of Psychotherapy David Schnarch Men in Therapy Attachment Theory Couples Therapy Clinical Mastery Ethics Brain Science Couples Challenging Cases Clinical Excellence|
|Complexity Choir - Page 6|
We process and encode our experiences in layers of memory. The first layer, implicit memory, begins in the womb and predominates throughout our early years. From our emotions, perceptions, actions, and bodily sensations, we create mental models that shape our expectations about the way the world works. All of this occurs without effort or intention, and our implicit mental models can continue to shape how we act without our awareness. The puzzle pieces of implicit memory are later assembled into explicit memories—the factual and autobiographical information of which we are aware. The more we can shine the light of mindsight on the free-floating puzzle pieces of the past—the implicit memories—and allow them to become explicit, the more we can free ourselves to live fully in the present and have new choices about how we live our lives.
Sometimes an overwhelming event, called trauma, can cause a person to remain in this unintegrated state, resulting in a tendency toward either rigid states of avoidance or intrusive states of chaos. Focusing mindsight's lens on these layers of memory can be an essential step in the resolution of trauma and the integration of the brain's memory functions.
We make sense of our lives by creating stories that weave our left hemisphere's narrator function with the autobiographical memory storage of our right hemisphere. Research has revealed that the best predictor of the security of our children's attachment to us is our ability to narrate the story of our own childhood in a coherent fashion. By detecting blockages to narrative integration and then doing the necessary work to overcome them, we can free ourselves and ultimately our children from the cross- generational patterns we want to avoid creating.
Research findings and clinical experience with attachment illuminate the varied forms of narratives we have and how strategies to promote integration can move these cohesive but constrictive life stories toward coherence and flexibility. When we are able to "make sense" of our lives in a deep, integrative manner, what emerges is a coherent narrative of our lives.
Each of us experiences distinct states of being that embody our fundamental drives and needs: closeness and solitude, autonomy and independence, caregiving and mastery, among others. These states may also conflict with one another—sometimes painfully and confusingly.
Mindsight permits us to embrace these states as healthy dimensions of a layered life instead of as parts of ourselves that we need to reject or suppress to try to achieve inner stability.
With state integration, we can move beyond past patterns of adaptation and denial to become open to our needs and able to meet them in different ways at different times. Facing some of our many states is an essential first step in differentiating our "multiple selves." The key to integration is then to embrace these distinctions rather than to attempt to deny their existence.