Skillful Counselling 3: To clear unhelpful habits and patterns

Ask yourself:

Do your typical emotional responses give you the confidence and control you need to live a life where your essential needs can be met?

And if you answer no or maybe not, then know that effective and long lasting emotional healing requires that these unhelpful emotional patterns be identified and cleared.

My experience with many clients is very hopeful – that there may practically be just a small number of pathways to the identification and clearing of these emotional patterns.

Unhelpful emotional patterns and triggers:

  1. From a perhaps long forgotten trauma experience
  2. A coping strategy from childhood that still persists unconsciously.
  3. A childhood motivation for compulsive behaviours that lies hidden behind an experience of embarrassment or shame – molar memories.
  4. An understanding or interpretation that is neither helpful nor reliable – to be reframed.
  5. A life story or time line that just does not work.

The Affect Bridge in Counselling

The affect bridge is a useful means to find the origin of many emotional patterns. As the name the idea is to form a bridge between the original source of the emotion and the current emotion.

A current feeling will be activated that is unwelcome or confusing. You will be invited, in a relaxed and calm state to move back to the first point in time where this feeling was felt. Once uncovered, the emotion can then be dealt with, typically in trance.


Ivan Tyrrell (one of the Human Givens founders) said to a class I attended that reframing is the heart of all effective therapy and of course he is correct. The way in which a problem or situation is perceived, understood and processed can always be shifted – to offer the possibility of change and a sense of move or time limitation.

Reframing Exercise

Depending on where you are, you see things differently. And this applies to everything, not only to planet earth. And no viewing place is intrinsically better than any other. It is just different – and either helpful or unhelpful.

Are you seeing your challenges from a position that is helping you? And if you are not, then perhaps you can just change the place from where you view it.

Stories and Metaphors in Counselling

The creative use of metaphors and stories are another essential tool for shifting emotional patterns and reframing. This has been well understood down the centuries. Read what Indries Shah has to say – and enjoy my favourite stories here.

And understand how metaphors are used in trance.

And now, two sources of emotional patterns are described – and how to clear them.

Becoming Adult

As a child we felt sad, scared, angry, and/or bewildered. Our needs were not met. Usually, these unmet needs were one or more of the following: attention, security, love, friendship, feeling valued. As an adult, we attempt to “make it better” for the child. The simple truth is that our child cannot get its needs met today, no matter how hard we try.

The adult strives endlessly for the ‘unattainable’ and in the process, feels out of control, because control is in the hands of a child. This leads to immature behaviour with self destructive thoughts and behaviours.

This is “Chasing Rainbows’ behaviour”. What we want is an attractive, hypnotic illusion, but which, like the elusive end of the rainbow is always unreachable.

There is of course a big difference between childish and childlike behaviour. The latter is desirable at times, the former is not – ever.

In a sentence, emotional immaturity can be attributed to a frightened child hijacking the adult’s behaviour in order to attempt to complete a deficient pattern from childhood.

Rita Leaman (Human Givens practitioner)

For some though, these hidden and inexplicable impulses are damaging, humiliating and destructive and necessarily are kept hidden. These impulses could though be molar memory – and if they are, then they can be cleared quickly.

So, what are Molar memories?

They reflect the probable existence that the obsessive behaviour has two memory roots: of pain and pleasure. The pleasure is hidden behind the pain of an original experience, which invariably comes from childhood. It is that hidden pleasure and the unconscious desire to replicate it that drives the apparently inexplicable compulsion.

And to clear these patterns?
Clearing them is about uncovering them and then living with the awareness that comes from that.

None of us will have the same life experience of course but the source of most emotional patterns and triggers that need to be cleared can be identified surprisingly easily.

And perhaps I can help you find yours too.

Read these Six Case studies in this PDF file. Maybe there is a molar memory hidden in your past.