If the good memories come back easily, the less good ones, buried, repressed, sometimes have trouble resurfacing.
In some people, especially those victims of post-traumatic stress, the consciousness of the shock is there, but the circumstances remain unclear.
Others feel bad, anxious, without knowing why.
Then emerges, sometimes, the desire to find the cause of the trauma, or to clarify it, to finally overcome it and start on the right foot.
And to satisfy this need, to find a logic to their misfortune, some people then use hypnosis.
In the popular mind, it would have hypermnesic virtues and would make it possible to bring back memories by soliciting the brain through suggestion.
The cinema gave credit to this idea: in
Sherlock Holmes attacks the
released in 1976, the detective, who has become depressed and cocaine addicted, is hypnotized by Sigmund Freud to allow him to access a dramatic childhood memory.
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Outside the dark rooms, is the use of hypnosis for reminiscence purposes a good idea?
Absolutely not, for Dr. Jean-Marc Benhaiem, head of the university degree in medical hypnosis at the University of Paris-VI-Pitié-Salpêtrière.
“It is absolutely necessary to avoid consulting for this.
We cannot give credit to what comes to us in hypnosis.
First, because neurologists have clearly shown it: memory is not stored in hard disks that just need to be found to remember better.
Everyone has their own way of memorizing and recalling a fact, depending on their personality, their emotional state, their expectations or the context when perceiving the information or when recalling it.
In short, memory is constantly modified and is under the influence of multiple factors.
Suggestion techniques can, voluntarily or not, manipulate it, increase the sources of errors and even create false memories.
The result can be disastrous.
Only certain non-health professional hypnotists
stray down this path.
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Are we all receptive to hypnosis?
That is clear !
However, in the United States, hypnosis has long been used in a legal context, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s. However, its use, by generating false memories and erroneous testimonies, resulted in false accusations, creating human tragedies and sensational defamation lawsuits.
Consequently, American justice definitively abandoned its use in 2006. In the meantime, a series of scientific studies have made it possible to show the limits and the dangers of the practice.
An analysis of the scientific literature dating from 1994 thus reveals that hypnotic hypermnesia is an unreliable process, difficult to reproduce, and that its use favors the production of errors while reinforcing confidence in the accuracy of memories, whether those either true or false.
Change the emotion associated with the memory
On the other hand, tempers Dr. Benhaiem, hypnosis can help reshape memories to relieve discomfort.
“We suffer more often from a traumatic memory that comes back obsessively than from the absence of any evocation.
Through suggestion, the hypnotherapist can move the patient from a restricted state of wakefulness where thoughts and intellect dominate to an expanded state of wakefulness.
The memory can then take on a new face, and its emotional content may be modified.
We can then help the patient to find the solutions within himself to deal with it.