Mindfulness Based Trauma Treatment (MBTT) is a simple self-help technique for healing the effects of psychological traumas. The technique has been developed by Philippe Izmailov, the author of the book “How I overcame my trauma & PTSD”. Key item in MBTT is meditation with components from mindfulness, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), Buddhism and psychology.

What is Mindfulness Based Trauma Treatment? Philippe Izmailov explains:

A psychological trauma is an intense negative emotional response like “fear, helplessness or horror” to a terrible event like an accident, a rape or a natural disaster. Our brain records our emotional response to a traumatic event and stores both of them in our memory. When we recall this particular traumatic event we also automatically recall our emotional response. As you see, there is a link between our emotional response and the traumatic event. This link is created by our brain by means
cxzvxcvof our limbic system and neural networks during the traumatic event. You could say that the link is “imprinted” in our memory. You see an image (traumatic memory) and feel anxiety (emotional response). This link is your fully automatized reaction on the image. Your automatized reaction not only consists of emotional response (like fear) but also of your behavior (like tantrum). When you manage to destroy the link between the image and your emotional response, your automatized reaction will disappear.

I asked myself: How is this link between a picture and my emotional response “programmed” in my memory? How can I destroy, replace or change the link? I found a solution. Because I’ve got a programming background, I will use the computer as an example to explain how it all works.

Database with emotions

Everyone has a database with emotions. This is a collection of all types of emotions like fear, happiness, sadness etc. As soon as we’re born, we do not have any link whatsoever between particular images (like traumatic memory) and our emotional response. For example: An American psychologist called Watson (1878-1958) performed an experiment on a child. The experiment is known as “Little Albert”. The child, called Albert, was only nine months old. Watson showed a white rat to little Albert. At first he reacted unconcerned and he wasn’t afraid of the rat. The experiment went on. Each time Albert saw the white rat, Watson made an unexpected loud sound behind the back of the child by striking a metallic pipe with a hammer. Albert was frightened by the loud sound and he started to cry. This way Little Albert began associating his fear of the loud sound (emotional response) with the sight of a white rat (the image). This association caused that later on he got frightened of a white rat even when the loud sound wasn’t there to be heard. In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) this process is known as anchoring.

So imagine a folder with images on your computer. These are your memories. Each image is linked to a particular emotion(s) in your database. When you recall an image, you experience an emotion(s) like fear. But sometimes this is even happening without recalling. How is this to explain?

Brain search engine

Our brain has a search engine like Google on the internet. All information and experiences which we are daily receiving or experiencing are being used by this search engine in order to find (a) similar experience(s) from our past. This process of searching happens unconsciously (automatically). In other words:  the search engine is looking for a similar image in your folder (memories). When it founds one, it’s using the link to present your emotional response which is related to a former image (traumatic event). This is called an association.

qwewefA simple example: Occasionally I meet someone who immediately evokes irritations and anger in me, without doing anything at all. What ’s the reason of this? In this case the reason is the very rude behaviour of someone else out of my past, who at that time evoked an enormous lot of irritations and anger in me. My brain is associating this experience with the person whom I met in the present. Both persons have something in common, as a reason of which I’m feeling a whole lot of irritation and anger. My nasty emotions more or less got stuck caused by my nasty experience from the past. They kept on “hanging” in that experience in the shape of an image (memory), which keeps evoking nasty emotions in my mind over and over again.

The role which the search engine is playing in our brain is aimed at the so-called limbic system. The limbic system among other things consists of the brain domains the amygdala and the hippocampus. The amygdala is making mutual connections among information from our senses and couples these with our emotions. The emotional information processing takes place in the amygdala, among which the observation of danger as well as the experience of fears. The hippocampus then gives meaning to that observation.

I also used my search engine to track down my repressed and forgotten traumas in my subconsciousness which I could not remember. I call this trauma-hunting. You’ll find more specified information on this subject in my book.

Elements of trauma

In my meditations I discovered that not the picture itself did influence my emotional response but certain elements of the picture, like someone’s behavior or something particular happening, sure did. These elements did influence my emotional response. When I adjust these elements to my memory, I automatically adjust my emotional response and my reaction. The HOW-I-OVERCAME-MY-TRAUMA-PTSD-PHILIPPE-IZMAILOV-extra-smalllink is changed or even destroyed. How did I do that? I recalled my traumatic events in a meditation which I named a trauma- meditation and reprogrammed my memories by adding or changing some elements of the image through visualization. Imagine an event (a situation) in which you are exposed to a danger. You feel fear, hopelessness and distress. What causes these feelings? What or who is the danger? Imagine you are sitting behind your computer, editing this picture in a photo editing program like Photoshop. What asdgdwould you change in or add to this picture in order to feel the opposite of danger (fearless, strong and confident)? What are you going to do when you see a little child alone on the street and it’s crying? What does it feel? What does it need right now? If you give it a hug, love and safety it’s going to quit crying and it’s feeling a lot better. You got the idea? Good. That’s what Mindfulness Based Trauma Treatment is about: Repairing, fixing and reprogramming our traumatic memories. You can do it all by yourself. Want to know how I have done it and how it all works? Please read my book.

Mindfulness Based Trauma Treatment (MBTT) is designed to support, not replace any professional medical help you may currently be receiving. You ought to consult a specialist before deciding to start with trauma treatment based on the principles of Mindfulness Based Trauma Treatment. Read more..