Reconsolidation Through Experience

by mr-hire 1 min read13th Nov 2019No comments

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At this level, you're simply sitting with the schema. Oftentimes, this alone can produce a dramatic shift through memory reconsolidation simply as a matter of re-evaluating the old schema when you get a look at it. I also include non-memory reconsolidation techniques in this category that work through extinction of the old association.

Experiencing Evidence

Memory Collection

Memory collection involves finding and allowing yourself to experience every time you can remember when you felt or acted through a particular belief schema. For each piece of evidence, you allow yourself to think and feel through the schema in that particular memory, then move on to the next one. By simply allowing ourselves to see all the evidence for a schema with our current perspective, we can often come to a more nuanced understanding of the belief. I first learned about this technique through PJ Eby,who calls it the Feeling Elimination Technique. The book, thinking things done, that it was included in, is no longer available as far as I'm aware.

Imaginal Exposure

Imaginal exposure is a process of taking a particular salient memory/fear/trauma etc, and simply running through the experience over and over. This can often trigger memory reconsolidation, and, even if not, can change your schema through simple exhaustion induced extinction. EMDR is a version of imaginal exposure that adds the modality of moving your eyes back and forth as you run through the memory. My current best view of the evidence is that EMDR has no long term benefit over imaginal exposure, but the data is confusing.

Experiencing Beliefs

The Acceptance Statement

An acceptance statement is a tool from Coherence Therapy, that involves taking a belief, and the choices you've made about a belief and saying them out loud. For instance I could state out loud "I should not express myself. If I do, I'll be ostracized. I've decided it's more important to not be ostracized than to be fully seen." Saying this out loud is often enough to trigger the schema, and hearing out out loud is often enough to automatically trigger the questioning of the schema.

You can enhance this process by (in your imagination or in real life), saying the statement outloud to someone who has been affected by the choices you've made. I could imagine saying to my partner: "I should not express myself. If I do, you will ostracize me. I've decided it's more important to not be ostracized than to be fully seen by you."

Emotional Freedom Technique is a process that combines saying acceptance statements out loud with tapping various parts of your body. It's unclear to me based on the evidence if the tapping adds anything outside of simply stating the beliefs.

Experiencing Felt Senses

Sitting With

A common recommendation is simply to spend some time sitting with your feelings. By simply sitting with the feeling, it gives you time to process it, allowing you to reconsolidate the schema with your new processed understanding.

Expressing

Another way to experience felt senses is to express them. Focusing is one process that allows you to express your felt senses, as are common forms of expressive therapy like Art Therapy.

Experiencing Metaphors

Clean Language

Clean Language is a series of questions you can ask yourself to start exploring your own metaphors. Simply by exploring our metaphors, we can often get a new perspective and reconsolidate them.

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