10 August 2014 Memory

10 August 2014 Memory
Have just sent in a long letter to the British Psychological Society complaining about an article on memory in the June 2014 issue of the Psychologist magazine. It falls into the classic crime of reducing all memory to conscious recall, as if this were all that there is.
The controversies about memory in therapy might be eased if we accepted that there were four memories, not one.
1. Intellectual memory, cognitive memory, is located somehow in the brain, mostly in the cerebral cortex. The details are not yet all worked out, but nearly all of the work in memory in psychology has to do with this type of memory. And there tends to be a dogmatism that this is all there is.
2. Emotional memory also has a great deal to do with the brain, but here it is mainly in the limbic system, and takes the form of images rather than words. It is difficult to reach other than by actually re-experiencing the events concerned. This also applies to memories held in the muscles, as Reich and other body therapists have discovered. See Babette Rothschild (2000).
3. Bodily memory is held all over the body. Again it has to be re-experienced or relived, rather than called up verbally. Graham Farrant (1990) calls it cellular memory, and has written a good deal about it. Much of the primal work in psychotherapy (Brown & Mowbray 1994) depends upon this level of memory. David Chamberlain (1998) has given much of the evidence for birth memories being of this kind.
4. Subtle memory or soul memory is not located in the body or brain, but in the subtle body. It holds memories of previous lives and of lives lived at other levels of the transpersonal realm. It is not difficult to tap into once one makes the effort, as Roger Woolger (1990) has argued.

Each of these four has its own rules and its own mode of investigation. But 2, 3 and 4 are hardly studied in academic psychology. This is a great shame to psychology, which needs to open up more.

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