Early memories and psychotherapy

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Early memories and psychotherapy

In my previous article early memories and personality i explained how the analysis of sample early memories can help you understand a person's personality accurately.

I said that by analyzing few early memories of a person you can come up with a clear idea about his current psychological makeup.

For example if all the early memories of a child reflected his bad relationship with his father then this could help us understand why that person now has problems dealing with males as a grown up.

Now the question that many people ask is, why are early memories a good indication of the person's psychological makeup? and what if the person forgot about most of his early memories and only remembered few ones. How can these few memories describe his current psychological goals accurately ?

And why do some psychologists depend heavily on the analysis of early memories during psychotherpay?

Why early memories are effective and accurate

The reason early memories are accurate is that people selectively remember the memories that best matches their current psychological makeup.

Our mind always does its best to prove our existing belief system true and as a result it will only recall old memories that match our current view of the world. If a girl believes that all men are not trust worthy then she will never recall an early memory of a loyal man but instead she might recall an instance when she saw a man lying to his wife.

That's one of the reasons why psychotherapists use early memories to analyze people's personalities with a high degree of confidence.

Even if the person was unsure of his early memories or even if he was constructing things that never happened without knowing still this wont make any difference to the psychotherapist because these constructed memories will also be aligned with the person's beliefs and view of the world. (see How beliefs affect behaviour)

The use of early memories in psychotherapy

During psychotherapy the client might become reluctant to exposing himself to the therapist either because of ego issues or because he unconsciously wants to prove that he can't be treated.

In all cases the use of early memories helps the psychotherapist overcome this problem because the person telling them will never understand the connection between his early memories and his current personality.

Because of that the client will talk freely and as a result he will reveal accurate information about himself without being able to manipulate it in a way or another.

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