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Memory, trauma and moving on.

Counselling,Trauma — admin @ 3:20 pm

Here at Counselling Connections this week one event that stopped everyone in their tracks for a few minutes was a shower of hailstones. It was Tuesday afternoon and the weather was following a pattern which is normal enough for our little island on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean; we had sunny spells and scattered showers. This has become a well worn phrase for the men and women of the met office as they try to prepare us for what kind of weather the day might bring. The afternoon in question was following this well worn path, sunny and warm one minute and raining the next; nice soft rain mostly.

In a sudden change the clouds quickly became much darker. Then the heavens opened in a ferocious hail storm and even in our fine, solid old building it became hard to hear for the noise of the hail on the roof. It was quite a scene and we stopped what we were doing and looked out and listened to the falling hail. It being a June day in Ireland the sun appeared again within minutes and the streets quickly began to dry. So much so that we decided to take a break then and there and trust that the sunshine would last long enough for us to enjoy a walk around the block.

We love the seasons here and the different weather it brings and we like to play around with what it might be analogous with in our inner lives. Things that we normally don’t stop to notice because we are too busy with our day to day lives are our stock and trade here in Counselling Connections. Then we did stop and notice; we were walking along beside the river that runs past the end of our garden when we noticed that the runoff from the recent hail shower was causing a blockage as the water passed under a small, low-lying bridge. There was a grid there to catch leaves or branches or anything else that might float along.

Examining blockages and going about clearing them up are another of our specialties here. We got to talking about how we can get blocked up in life and in particular how memories can seem to become dammed in this way. Major life events, traumas even, like the larger branches caught in river can fail to pass quietly along with the flow of our memories. They can become stuck and block the flow of other memories behind them. How we remember things and how we later recall them are a big part of therapy. This is doubly so in the case where the therapy is about dealing with trauma.

In what can feel like real moments of revelation during therapy we can successfully come to terms with difficult memories. This can then leave us feeling like we are becoming more open to new experiences. Then we can suddenly experience a whole different set of memories. It seems that our focus on one particular memory or event has taken so much concentration that we failed to notice or to focus on other, perhaps happier ongoing events in our lives. We had become stuck and our memories and the emotions attached with them had become blocked.

By talking about memories and emotions and maybe even getting past our fear and re-experiencing them we facilitate the discharge of these events. They are then free to flow away and no longer cause us to feel blocked up and unable to fully experience our inner self and day to day life. This process is facilitated by slowly recalling and working through life events. There can be storms along the way. A bit like our unpredictable weather we can go through life experiencing both scattered showers and sunny spells. And if there is a bit of a flood after a particularly heavy fall well then a chance to talk it all through in therapy can help to let it drain away.

Counselling Connections, Dundalk.

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