Triggers: A trigger can be viewed as a stimulus to a response pattern.
    1. Proust’s madeleine cake(see footnote) triggered his memories of times past.
    2. Rejection may trigger depression etc.
    Such triggers are usefully identified in clinical psychology so that strategies can be worked on to alter the response, so that clinical problems are avoided or managed more appropriately.

    In the most basic of layman’s term (into which class I fall), a trigger is something that sets me off.  A sight, a sound, a smell.  It is something which causes my brain to recall a memory I did not consciously intend to recall.  It’s effect often has negative consequences.  It’s because of a trigger things can be going fine one minute, then in the next the world is crumbling before my eyes.  A temper could go from non-existent to extreme.  What is a happy time can instantly turn into a period of intense anxiety or fear.
    Triggers recall memories.  Triggers can be a single word which then colors my current experience.  A bearded man or short woman can trigger something deep within me which makes me despise this person I have never met.  I see reality but a trigger alters that reality and tells me “this is the way things really are.”
    Memories of this type are often only partial and out of context.  Triggers change the context.  Others will look at us when “we’re triggered” and wonder what happened.
    So, does it take a clinical psychologist to identify a trigger?  I think not.  We’ve all been triggered.  We all see others triggered.  We knows it’s happened.  When it happens between two people, this is an ideal time to begin honest introspection and create unity by carefully dissecting what made me feel the way I felt when…
    I’m not saying the process is simple.  But a few strategic questions phrased as statements to be repeated can be a very useful diagnostic tool.
    Fill in the blanks: “I felt _____ when you ____ because ….
    Then in response, dig deeper by saying something like: “you felt _____ because….
    (Don’t say “why did you feel….”  ’Because’ is a much better word because it digs deeper than logic)
    Processing like this could help to understand feelings and thought patterns which seem entirely disconnected for the reality of current events, but are in fact the distortions to current events making something that is now seem like something that was then.
    When two go through this process it brings understanding to both parties and with time could diffuse the trigger bringing the relationship into the present.

    (footnote):  French writer Marcel Proust in his novel In Search of Lost Time made famous the concept of involuntary memory.  Proust contrasts involuntary memory with voluntary memory. The latter designates memories retrieved by “intelligence,” that is, memories produced by putting conscious effort into remembering events, people, and places. Proust’s narrator laments that such memories are inevitably partial, and do not bear the “essence” of the past. The most famous instance of involuntary memory by Proust is known as the “episode of the madeleine,” yet there are at least half a dozen other examples in In Search of Lost Time including such distinct memories produced by the scent of a public lavatory on the Champs-Élysées.
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