Holographic Memory Resolution
Holographic Memory Resolution (HMR) enables individuals who have experienced trauma to access memories of these past experiences and heal from them without becoming re-traumatized or overwhelmed by painful feelings.
This innovative approach to therapy, which is grounded in somatic psychology, emphasizes the mind-body connection, and trained practitioners can utilize this technique to help individuals release past trauma and emotional and physical pain.
HMR, which originated in the 1990s, is still a relatively new approach to therapy. Addiction counselor and clinical hypnotherapist Brent Baum combined elements of somatic, color, and energy psychologies, expanding on the work of psychologist David Grove to develop the noninvasive emotional reframing technique.
While the technique was originally developed as a strategy to support people in outpatient programs for addiction in resolve the painful memories and triggers that could potentially lead to relapse, Baum’s work with survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 showed HMR to be of significant benefit in the resolution of posttraumatic stress, whether the trauma was a single event or repeated instances of abuse.
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This person-centered approach to therapy employs techniques meant to encourage the rediscovery and visualization of memories in a safe and secure environment, and many mental health professionals now use HMR to help those they are treating resolve trauma without needing to relive or revisit it. Instead, people can identify and address specific memories and can often achieve healing.
Unresolved trauma can have a negative long-term impact at the physiological, cognitive, and emotional levels. Psychologist Milton Erickson suggested in the 1970s that emotional pain linked to past trauma could lead to a self-hypnotic state when triggered in the present: When an earlier emotional experience is resurrected, the body and mind attempt to prevent further pain by activating a state of self-hypnosis. These states, which are known as trance states, can form the basis of many psychological conditions and relational difficulties in adulthood.
The longer stress and trauma are sealed and stored, the more likely it is for related concerns to develop, both on the physical and the emotional level. The goal of HMR is to remove the memory storing—encoding—that has taken place with the formation of the traumatic memory. By redesigning the encoding, the emotionally charged response to the memory can be altered to allow a more positive or neutral reaction. Therefore, the person is freed from the negative emotional impact caused by the memory. The goal of HMR is to allow the person in treatment to be able to experience the memory without the pain it originally caused.
In an HMR session, the provider works with the person seeking to resolve trauma by providing support and neutralizing the pain through reframing. Typically, HMR begins with energy work. A gentle hypnotic trance is induced to allow the person's conscious mind to relax and access the subconscious. Therapists frequently use guided visualization to identify the history of the presenting issue and its emotional associations, making use of color in this process. HMR practitioners assist individuals in identifying areas of the body where difficult memories are stored and help them release these memories through emotional reframing. Individuals are encouraged to visualize events and describe the emotions experienced through colors and symbols, reimagining painful or challenging events until they no longer have the same traumatizing effect.
HMR practitioners assist individuals in identifying areas of the body where difficult memories are stored and help them release these memories through emotional reframing. People find this process empowering and usually report experiencing relief from longstanding problems as they find themselves seeing the world in a new and more positive way.
HMR is not typically a lengthy therapy. People receiving HMR often report a swift resolution to their symptoms.
Unresolved trauma can often have a negative impact on life. Not only can it have a harmful impact on a person’s mental and emotional state, side effects of unresolved trauma may affect physical processes as well. HMR theorists believe the restoration of properly functioning cellular structures can serve to increase the immune system’s effectiveness and prevent disease in addition to improving mental and emotional well-being.
Studies show HMR to be effective for the treatment of a number of psychological and somatic conditions, among them:
This technique can also address feelings of fear, powerlessness, and anger in people with unresolved trauma histories. Many people find it possible to recast their memories through HMR, ultimately becoming able to view these memories in a less threatening context. This process can positively impact mental and emotional health as well, as it can bring about the improvement of symptoms often resulting from unresolved trauma.
HMR may offer a number of benefits to people who have experienced trauma.
- It is a brief method of therapy shown to have long-lasting results.
- It can help people access traumatic memories where other treatment methods have been unsuccessful.
- It does not require people to analyze or relive past trauma
- It often has an empowering effect.
- It may be a good alternative for those who do not wish to pursue visualization or hypnosis.
HMR is offered by a range of helping professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and licensed counselors. To practice HMR, a therapist must receive training and gain certification as a Holographic Memory Resolution Practitioner. Formal training is also provided to those who wish to use HMR personally, but formal certification, which allows full implementation of the technique, is only obtainable by those who have the necessary credentials and have completed case studies and supervised implementation following the training. Personal trauma resolution is also required.
Currently, training is offered in several of the United Sates as well as in England, Canada, Japan, and Panama.
Research on the effectiveness of HMR is limited, likely because of the individualized approach of this method. However, the method has been used to assist more than 20,000 survivors of trauma, and Baum as well as a number of practicing therapists detail positive outcomes in a number of case studies, lending support to HMR as a beneficial therapeutic intervention.
Both practitioners and Buam himself emphasize the necessity of receiving appropriate training before attempting to provide HMR.
- Baum, B. (1997). The Healing Dimensions: Resolving Trauma in Body, Mind and Spirit. United States: Healing Dimensions.
- Baum, B. (2013, November). Holographic Memory Resolution Description and Summary. Retrieved from http://www.healingdimensions.com/about/HMRDescription.htm
- Brandman, W. (2005). Holographic Memory Resolution. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 41(3), 139-141.
- Doran, B. (2012, November/December). Holographic Memory Resolution. Energy Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.energymagazineonline.com/content_assets/archived_articles/holographic-memory-resolution-doran.pdf
- Zetter, M. L. (2004-2005). Healing Trauma with HMR. InnerSource, 1(1). Retrieved from http://www.innersource-inc.com/_pages/articles/newsletter/newsletter_2004_fall/zetter_healing_trauma_0904.htm
Last updated: 03-23-2016
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