Autobiographical memory.

Autobiographical memory is a space in which our past experiences are stored, a function that allows us to recall past events. This function is often compared to the memory of a computer but, if we would take a closer look to the characteristics of memories, it would be easy to understand that we are dealing with a much more complex construct. While data recorded on electronic supports objectively and immutably record information, our memory is a creative process: it is constructive when the information is stored and re-constructive when it is remembered. This reconstruction is made on the basis of actual knowledge, expectations and beliefs, in other words, on the basis of the person’s current identity1,2.
We also have to consider that the information stored in a computer does not change the computer’s structure itself. This is not true for human memory that, on the contrary, constitutes the basis for the construction and evolution of our present identity. Therefore we are dealing with a two-direction communication: on the one hand, memory constitutes our identity, and on the other hand, our current identity influences the retrieval of memories, favouring or preventing access to contents and building interpretations that change with time and with the evolution of identity itself. Such considerations about the accessibility of contents explains why, in certain moments or periods of our life, retrieving certain events can be difficult or even impossible3,
In other words, we can state that identity and memory are two sides of the same coin, in continuous communication, which reciprocally modify each other; this process at the same time structures and limits the access to certain contents2.
The Ericksonian idea of subconscious confers to it the faculty to store everything that happened to us and, while in hypnosis, the subject is able to access these contents not only by recalling them, but also by reliving them 4. The experience can be so vivid that phenomena such as ablation (ignoring information acquired after the age of the memory), re-integration (the reinstatement of previous behaviour and cognitive modalities) and revivification (the reappearance of details or memories that were not accessible before the induction) may occur [ibid.]. That said, it becomes clear that hypnosis can be useful to retrieve memories that seemed lost, but the application of the so-called regression techniques can lead to other kinds of results too.
Taking our present self to the past, in fact, can favour the evolution of the individual in two ways. Firstly the retrieval of past material can promote the integration of aspects of our identity that were previously ignored. Additionally, especially when dealing with traumatic memories, re-accessing those contents with current acquisitions and information, while guided by an expert operator, allows the restructuring of the experience, that is, the re-interpretation of the event in the light of one’s current identity, in order to elaborate it and integrate it3.
In other words, through hypnotic regression techniques, the reciprocal influence between memory and identity can be put at the service of the individual in order to make him/her able to make use of him/herself at best during the course of his life.