My earliest lessons in repressed memories came from episodes of Star Trek. As a child, I was glued to the TV set each week to watch the hunky Captain James T. Kirk boldly go where no man has gone before – usually with some buxom Babe.
The Captain had two trusty side-kicks – Scotty and Spock. Each week “Scotty,” an anxiety-ridden Scottish engineer, would face another crisis. And each time he would report, “It can’t be done! The dylithium crystals can’t take it!”(Man, could HE use some tapping!)
Then there was Spock . . .
In contrast, the pointy-eared Vulcan Chief Science Office generally exuded calm rational reason. Spock analyzed. Scotty had hissy-fits. (Not unlike the Conscious and Subconscious Minds.)
The creator of the Star Trek Series, Gene Roddenberry was a visionary. In the 1960’s he introduced us to space travel. But Gene’s legacy was not merely an imaginative future pacing experience. It was his wicked use of metaphor. The networks declared that those of us in TV-Land weren’t ready for social commentary, however. And that’s what Star Trek was.
Gene’s creativity (and gift to us all) was reined in by the networks for over 30 years. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that he was finally free to unleash his genius with Star Trek: Next Generation and Deep Space 9 series.
The Vulcan Madness
In the original Star Trek series, starring William Shatner, there was a particularly intriguing episode where Spock’s father went through the Vulcan version of male menopause. Vulcans are, as you know, very LOGICAL. It’s not that they don’t have feelings. They just value logic over feeling. (Not unlike Western culture.) The result, over multiple generations, was Vulcans perfecting the art of repressing emotions.
While using logic to override feelings is the Vulcan Way, repressed feelings, which have been denied expression over a lifetime, don’t go away. They build up pressure inside. This means that as the Vulcan male ages, feelings and emotions start pushing their way up to the surface. Over time, it takes more and more effort to keep those feelings under control. And eventually, uncomfortable emotions break through into consciousness.
When that happens, it ain’t pretty.
When the pressure reaches critical mass, the dam breaks. And a tsunami of emotions – both good and bad – overwhelms the poor, unprepared Vulcan. This is a very unpleasant experience. After all, what in the Vulcan way of life has prepared him for feeling his feelings? What resources has he developed to help him weather the storm? What happens when a lifetime of repressed, denied, disowned feelings (and the memories associated with them) break through to consciousness? The Vulcans call this “madness.”
Many of your hypnosis clients are like Spock. They have grown up in a family system and culture that values reason and logic over feelings and emotions. And like Vulcans, they have not developed their emotional intelligence.
When the unrecognized, unaccepted and rejected emotional content catches up with them, later in life – whether it be through mental, emotional or physical symptoms – they need help developing their ability to feel their feelings.
Next time you get an analytical client, who seems to live in their head and is out of touch with their feelings, remember Spock. Make it safe for them to feel their feelings. Then send a gentle prayer of thanks to Gene.
Thanks Gene. Live long and prosper.