Our subconscious has one role, to keep us alive. Within the subconscious is all the information required to perform all the automatic functions that we require, for example, breathing, digestion etc. We are not required to think about doing any of those functions they just happen because the sub-conscious comes pre-programmed with all this information. If I said to you ‘concentrate on breathing and control it’. In probably less than a few minutes your mind would have wandered off and you would consciously not be assisting your breathing. So it is lucky our sub-conscious is always alert and working for our survival. But the Sub-conscious has one major fault……
Learning new rules
As we grow, the subconscious creates new entries that will be stored as either safe or not safe. Unfortunately when we are very young our consciousness is still developing against a fully grown sub-conscious. This means that if a terrifying event, in the eyes of a child occurs, because our conscious is still developing our sub-conscious may store that entry as life threatening. Because the conscious level of a 3 year old isn’t mature enough to realise the threat wasn’t as bad as it thought as they had no frame of reference.
For instance the young child could hear a loud gunshot type noise and then loud shouting from the street, this could be interpreted by a 3 year old as a threatening event even though every adult in the vicinity is aware that it is a tyre that has just burst and an angry driver shouting at his now broken down car.
The child’s inner fight or flight is activated and that emotion may be repressed into the sub-conscious. From that moment on, that event will start to act as an instinct to avoid future danger.
Unfortunately what the subconscious sees as similar events is not what we may class as similar in the conscious mind. In this example the child has now grown up and now in his 20’s is walking through a field and he hears a farmer’s gun shot off.
The Subconscious believes this event is similar enough to that of the one when they were 3 years old. The fight or flight response is activated and the young adult now suffers an anxiety episode in the middle of a field. They then may associate being outside in open spaces as fearful and end up with agoraphobia.
What causes a lot of concern for the victim is that they don’t know why. The repressed memory is still just that, repressed. What we have learnt here though is that the current problem ‘agoraphobia’ isn’t actually the root cause but the symptom of the issue.
It can be a wonder why it takes, sometimes decades for an emotion to be triggered from the childhood but this can be explained by the fact that the subconscious doesn’t use the same pattern matching as the conscious mind.
Although two events might be very similar to our conscious mind the underlying blue print of the original event may be very different to that of current event in the way it was stored and interpreted in the subconscious.
The subconscious has no degree of grey and sees everything as black and white. It is threatening or not threatening. This is why when we experience anxiety it is often massively out of proportion to what is actually happening. The subconscious with no degree of safety just sees everything as either a threat to life or not.
Once this event has been triggered it ‘can’ stay with people for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately people do get worse and worse and what may start with not being able to go out in public spaces ends up with someone having to stay house bound.
Hopefully someone will seek therapy before the anxiety gets to this stage but often people attempt to fix themselves and often in the progress making their symptoms worse.
This is where therapy or hypnotherapy can create positive change. In hypnotherapy it would be possible to talk directly to the subconscious and bring that repressed memory into conscious awareness. Once in conscious awareness we can see it from a different view point and reframe it.
If you heard loud banging outside your house in the middle of the night, this may well worry you. If a family member went to investigate whilst you stayed under your duvet and returned to say ‘it’s very windy outside and the fence is being blown against the bins’. You would now have the ability to reframe that event as not scary.
As an adult with a fully developed conscious you can see an event for what it is. This is how hypnotherapy can work for you. It goes to the original root cause and allows you see it for what it is. We get to see the earlier trauma that the child experience no against that of an adult.
Educational Mind therapy doesn’t go to the root source as it’s not actually required to get over anxiety. Understand what is happening and what to do when it is happening can allow the emotion behind the repressed memory to be released without every knowing what the root cause is. Sometimes the root cause does pop into awareness but not essential to overcome anxiety.
The reality is we want to be rid of anxiety and both methods have the potential to get good results.