An Interview With Anne Diamond

The topic of conversation was of a six year old girl who, after refusing to get dressed properly for school was made by her teacher to go into school assembly wearing only her knickers and vest.

Anne … So tell me Harry, can this kind of thing really affect people in a serious way? And would you see children or adults for this kind of thing?

Harry … Hi Anne. I treat adults for anxiety and trauma, predominantly seeing them for what is known as ‘social phobia’ or ‘performance related anxiety’. And yes, this kind of event can have a lasting effect on someone.

Anne … So how can something as trivial as this affect someone in later life?

Harry … Well I’m not sure of his name spelling, either Pittacus or Epictetus, a Greek philosopher I believe who stated that we are not affected by events but by how we perceive those events. So in this case Anne; imagine the emotion of this event is bottled up inside her. In later life she now has two children and has gained a few pounds and is now on holiday for the first time in a few years. She’s about to go out to the pool, also for the first time in a few years. Her mind may link by association (how she’s dressed) and the emotion attached to that originating event and so feels all those feeling again.

Anne … But would that really be so awful?

Harry … Certainly it could. The important point Anne is that the emotion attached, or bottled up with that memory is still 6 years old, it never grows up, so it still has the intensity of how that little six year of girl felt, all those years ago. Imagine how that would feel Anne.

A simpler example would be something your listeners would easily associate with, and that is, being asked to come to the front of the class and read out loud. Some of you would find that quite traumatic and if so would quite easily link it in later life when the boss tells you that you have 10 minutes to prepare a Power Point Presentation for a host of executives.

Anne … So it’s all to do with how we feel things then?

Harry … Yes, and how we remember and re-act to them in later life. Just imagine for a moment Anne that you and I are walking down the road and we both witness a minor car accident. You may totally lose the plot while I remain un-affected by it. This may be because you have been IN a car accident in the past and so your mind AND BODY remember it as a reference for what you’re now witnessing. I’ve never been in an accident in my life. I’m a little upset about it but that’s all.

Anne … Oh I see.

Harry … We are an animal driven by emotion Anne. When those emotions get bottled up inside us, they cause us problems in later life.

Anne … So how do you get them out?

Harry … Well actually Anne, I don’t. I simply provide a safe place for my client to do that. I induce a light, lethargic state of hypnosis, something equivalent to you lazing on the couch on a Sunday afternoon. I then use free association, allowing my client to link one thought to another with the emotional content of the memory as the link. Each link is like a stepping stone, leading back to the originating cause. Once there, the bottled up emotion is released. Just like a match that is struck, it can only be burned once and so cannot now get back into the mind. Because there is now no emotion trigger the client is no longer affected by a similar event.

Anne … So they almost talk themselves better then?

Harry … Well just like Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalysis, it’s all about a talking therapy. The difference is how I approach it.

Anne … Thank you Harry, I’m amazed.

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