I have been working with people who have experienced severe trauma for over thirty-five years.
Neuroscience research states that memories that occurred during intense emotional situations are stored in ways that memories of a routine day are not. These situations include car accidents, many kinds of sexual assault, physical and verbal abuse, death of a loved one and many more.
One of the modalities I use is hypnotic regression. Some people remember small clips of things but often dismiss them as not having to do with them. There are a number of characteristics that people have in common that alert me to the possibility that these memories do exist and would warrant further examination.
Regression under hypnosis allows us to travel back through time to see where some of these memories are stored. For example,
“Do you remember 5th grade? Did you walk to school, take a school bus, or driven by one of your parents? What did the school look like? Can you remember what the halls smelled like? Do you remember the name of your teacher?”
These are simple memories that surround the time period that start to rebuild a broader tapestry of that time. Sometimes people will have no memories of a large period of time while being able to remember before and after. After getting comfortable with the regression process, some can remember back to early childhood. When I was working with a mentor Dr Milton Ericksonian I was able to remember the sound of the water near my ears when my mother was giving me a bath at six months in a bassinet. It was not a full memory, but a building block.
When bringing someone back up to present consciousness I give the individual the choice of leaving the memory in their subconsciousness or bring it to the present. Sometimes people are not ready to deal with it at the present time.