Do you know where the expression “An Elephant Never Forgets” comes from? The story might surprise you.
Early elephant circus trainers discovered that they could confine elephants with a simple trick. When the elephants were young, trainers would chain a single elephant foot to a strong stake in the ground. These young and still relatively weak elephants would learn that they could not pull up the stake from the firm ground, and they also could not walk further than the heavy chain would allow them. They were trapped.
Eventually, these young elephants would grow bigger and stronger, but this early training would remain with them to the point that a simple thin rope, tethered to a foot, would prevent the now full-grown elephants from breaking free and escaping. Although these strong elephants could easily snap the rope or pull the stake out of the ground, the memories ingrained in them when they were young prevented them from achieving their own freedom.
Much like elephants, we too can become tethered to childhood trauma that keeps us trapped in a mental prison. There is nothing stopping us from breaking these psychological chains that bind us, but our own memories. We have to un-train our minds, forget to remember that we feel bound, which is no easy task, no matter how big and strong we may seem on the outside.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be used to help break these mental shackles that bind us from taking the first few steps toward positive mental health. These baby “elephant” steps, small steps that may appear big, help us identify and remove psychological barriers. Eventually, Schema Therapy can be incorporated to create life patterns of positive behaviors and healthy routines.
Elizabeth Lacy has been working for more than 16 years to help improved individuals lives through better mental health using the psychological assessment and treatment of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Schema Therapy. If you are ready to learn how you too can break free from childhood trauma to overcome your anxiety or addictions and learn to manage personality disorders, please contact Liz to schedule an introductory consultation.