I found this very interesting article on IFLscience.com. I love that website, I am very science minded with a good dose of spirituality mixed in. Anyways, this particular article caught my eye in a couple of ways.
For one, given the header of the article, it sounds like someone could have a very disturbing condition and can trigger a fair amount of fears if they all of a sudden realize they cannot visualize. Secondly, this is something that as a Hypnotherapist, I knew already. Which surprised me. (I highly recommend reading the article from here in, as I’ll be referring to a case study that is in the article. It’s short.)
Why was science just catching up on this?
Ahhhh… The assumptions we make.
Language, it impacts us deeply, and the words we use can cause a very different response when encouraging others to recall something. Ever notice how some people use the phrase “I see what you mean” or “I hear you” or even “ That doesn’t feel right to me” as well “I think we should do this.” These phrases all give a clue to how these different people interpret and interact with the world.
The first person, may be more visually inclined, they may have a vivid memory that involves pictures rather than feelings. The second person, may be more sound inclined, their memories could have more associations to the sound of a friends voice or the tone in which something was said. The third person may interpret the world more with their gut feelings, and their memories could be more along how people or experiences made them feel. Lastly I think you know where I’m going here, the last person may not get any of these things, rather they think about them, more of contemplation, and it can seem their mind’s eye is a void.
So it sounds like the last one got the short end of the stick hey? Not really, these are all classified as a type of visualization in hypnotherapy. Each person in their own way is recalling something. The silly thing about the word “Visualization” is it sounds like it HAS to be visual. It doesn’t. We recall things in our own way, and really it doesn’t matter how we do it. In the case study that the article lists, my question is, does he still have memories? For if he has no ability to recall at all, no memories of his past or ability to learn information and experiences in some way then that is not a visualization problem to me, that is a memory problem. Of course, that is gleaned with the limited information that is within that case study.
I have found this same confusion in meditation circles, where a particular teacher or leader uses their own language for guide the process, very often, a visual one, and some members leave the experience not being sure if they meditated at all or what they are supposed to do.
In hypnotherapy we get around this by using broader language, and as well checking in with the client. Listening for those key words and shaping the session to use them. When cultivating a session that uses some form of visualization we use the words, “think about, imagine, or feel” this captures the broad spectrum of how we can recall memory.
The beautiful thing that this really shows to me is that, there are so many ways the mind can work, even in one session a client can start out more visually inclined and then their subconscious mind may choose to communicate more with feelings or random ideas popping into their head. This is all wonderful. We have so many ways that we experience the world and interpret it, this just goes to show how much tuning in and listening to the words which other use can shape how they are able to relate to you and recall information.