A mental block is an uncontrollable suppression or repression of painful or unwanted thoughts/memories. Also can be an inability to continue or complete a train of thought.

One of the tactics that are used when people with mental blocks are learning new information is repetition.

What causes mental blocks?

Mental blocks can be caused by physical disabilities or simply a lack of focus. Mental blocks are also often used to describe a temporary inability to recall a name or other information. A sudden cessation of speech or a thought process without an immediate observable cause is sometimes considered a consequence of repression.

Types of Mental Blocks

1. Incidental forgetting

Forgetting curve could be associated with mental blocking. The forgetting curve was first described as the natural loss of memory retention over time. Memories can also simply disappear over time from Trace decay which is the weakening of memories over time. This kind of decay stems from both the visual and verbal working memory. Although the triggers decay, some of the information remains stored. Interference is the phenomenon in that memory can be distorted due to the existence of related memories when it comes to Retrieval.

2. Associative blocking

Associative blocking is explained as the effects of interference during retrieval. Associative blocking can be caused by the failure of cues that a specific target, this is because the cue is being replaced by a new cue that grows stronger. This causes the initial cue to deteriorate because each separate memory is competing for first access to the conscious when the shared cue is presented.

3. Unlearning

Unlearning is associated with two separate stimuli that are attached to a memory trace, the trace is then weakened because it isn’t accessed often enough. When one attempted to recover said memory there is an error that happens when a different cue is presented.

4. Motivated forgetting

Directed forgetting is another name for Motivated Forgetting, meaning that one is forgetting consciously any recent experience that was unwanted.

What Then Can I Do?

1. Master Cognitive control – This is known as the ability to access thoughts and memories, but as well as the ability to have control over unwanted thoughts surfacing from the unconscious. This kind of Suppression can be linked to the Think/no-think (TNT) paradigm which is a practice that is designed to remind us of undesired life experiences that result in unwanted feelings, such as a first heartbreak, that we would normally try and avoid thinking about.

2. Practice repression a Freudian theory theorizes that it is a defense mechanism that destroys undesired feelings, ideas, and memories in the unconscious. This defense mechanism is due to the attempt to resolve and eliminate psychological hurt.

3. Make reframing a regular habit – reframing is a deliberate conscious act of removing negative thoughts and emotions and replacing them with positive ones.

Ref: Wendy Bruce Martin

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