All You Want to Know About Therapy

For Therapy to work, you must have a good connection…

and that’s why        

self-help books don’t work.

Our emotional lives, with all their emotional cues, are on board before any verbal or conceptual ability appears. And the consequences of these experiences are unaffected by intellectual efforts to change them.

That may be because emotions, and our most powerful “memories”, seem to be stored in the right hemisphere of the brain. And yet our thinking (or intellectualizingis a left-hemisphere activity.

Books and conversations about why we act the way we do are certainly helpful, but they don’t seem to be enough to effect real changes in our interactions with the world and ourselves.

So how can we make real changes?

Only by recreating as much as possible the initial conditions in which the processes were created in the first place.

We are born wired to seek connection with others. 

You may have heard that your first loves (parents) create the models for every relationship there after. They become our relationship-blueprints. Our experiences, especially with our caregivers, will become unconscious, intuitive memories that form the basis of our emotional life.

So if you want to change the deep, unconscious patterns that define your reactions to life’s events, you need an environment that can mirror those earliest connections, while, ideally, re-writing them (“neuroplasticity”). The result is a more harmonious existence in your current situations.

A powerful way to do this is through a positive connection with a trained professional (i.e., a psychotherapist). Good therapy aims to create a safe connection with the client so that emotional healing can take place.

And there is more to it, of course. Techniques that require direct experience have proven effective, such as working with the “inner child , mindfulness meditations, Journaling and others. I believe these techniques work because they access the right-brain.

When my client opens up to me as much as they can in a session, I know that we are accessing the right-brain. In doing so, the chances for authentic change become possible.

If you’d like to contact me, have a question, or want to chat, please click the link:

Work and contact info

call, 801-252-6754 (private voicemail, 24/7),

or Email me:  JaneLCSW@gmail.com

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You Are AMAZING!

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“I questioned what I believed about you… and you transformed immediately. You are AMAZING!”

Remember when you were a child and every place and everything seemed magical? You could spend hours playing with toys and creating stories about their lives. In the wonderful world of our imaginations with no rules to define things, every place we went was somehow new to us. We’d live in wonder and awe of everything. Things like flowers, rocks, or coins absolutely enthralled us. And feelings just flowed. We’d fall, cry, get up and move on. We laugh and move on. There’s no dwelling, dwelling, dwelling.

And people were so fascinating! We were curious little beings – without a story of what things or people “mean”.To a child, life is completely uncomplicated. Their entire being is simply about the moment. They don’t hang on to conversations or worry about what so-and-so meant by that.

Then we became used to everything. We started to take people, places and things for granted and they appeared to lose their magic.

But what if?

As adults, we spend a great deal of time letting our brains determine our supposed “reality”. We project meaning on everything based on prior conclusions. But what if those prior conclusions aren’t true? Our brain is hastily moving along, “this is that… that is this…”. And it’s not personal – it’s what the brain is designed to do.

But have you asked? Is it true?

Here’s the thing – all we can know is what’s inside our heads. So everything – absolutely everything that we conclude is a projection. Some of those conclusions work just fine for us and others cause a great deal of unnecessary heartache.

•°•°•°•°•°•°

Lets say you meet a friend for lunch, and s/he is so loud, everyone is looking. S/he cries and blows her nose at the table.

“S/he makes me uncomfortable.”   Really? How can another person’s actions make you uncomfortable? Well, because people aren’t supposed to 1) be loud, 2) blow their nose at the table, 3) or cry in public. And now I’M uncomfortable because people aren’t supposed to 4) be with someone who does those things!  :)

Now imagine a 4-year-old at the table with the friend. I imagine the 4-year-old is curious, listening with every fiber of their little being, maybe even wanting to comfort the person who is clearly hurt.

Without my story, it makes sense that someone may be loud when they are so upset, and since crying makes your sinuses run, it may be a good idea to clear them out! This person before me transformed into someone AMAZING!

If we start to look at the world from new eyes, just like the eyes of a child we will find that the world really never lost its magic. It’s fascinating, unpredictable, and interesting! Without my story of “…same…same ol’…more of the same...”, I can become fascinated again!

 

Even Carl Jung Knows of the Inner Child!

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Learn more about the Inner Child :

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Those Familiar Issues…

Pain that seems Stuck on:”REPEAT”

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As you’ve gone through your life, have you noticed any familiar issues that just keep resurfacing? These are usually said to ourselves as a conclusion, after a disappointment.

Things like, “no one ever takes me seriously” or “damned if I do, damned if I don’t!” Recently my client said, “men always run away from me after a while”, and my good friend says, “I’m obviously not a priority to (them).” Of course you believe it – why else would it hurt so much?

If life keeps leading you to the same conclusions, then it’s about you, not them. What I mean is, you were probably wired/programmed to reach the same painful conclusion at a much younger age. Some people call this Inner Child wounds. Regardless of the name, we all have some of these earlier, mistaken decisions that unconsciously run our lives. Continue reading

6 Steps to Healing your Inner Child

Our past is a story existing only in our minds.

Look, analyze, understand, and forgive.

Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it.

~Marianne Williamson

 

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Marianne Williamson offers sage advice. John Bradshaw, author of Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Childtells how it’s done when the history we’d like to chuck is too deeply ingrained… Our childhood wounds.

1. Trust

For your wounded inner child to come out of hiding, he must be able to trust that you will be there for him. Your inner child also needs a supportive, non-shaming ally to validate his abandonment, neglect, abuse, and enmeshment. Those are the first essential elements in original pain work.

2. Validation

If you’re still inclined to minimize and/or rationalize the ways in which you were shamed, ignored, or used to take care of your parents, you need  to accept the fact that these things truly wounded your soul. Your parents weren’t bad, they were just wounded kids themselves.

3. Shock & Anger

It’s okay to be angry, even if what was done to you was unintentional. In fact, you have to be angry if you want to heal your wounded inner child. You don’t need to get outraged or “hate” those responsible for hurting you. But it’s appropriate to be mad about not getting what you needed and deserved at the critical times during your childhood. The consequences have reverberated through your life.

Part of your anger can also be expressed as a contract with yourself to be responsible and stop whatever ways you are continuing to act out the abuse –  with ourselves and others: “I will not tolerate dysfunction and abuse, like that which dominated my family system, in my ongoing life.” (See About core issues )

4. Sadness

After anger comes hurt and sadness. If you were victimized, you must grieve the fact that you were betrayed. We must also grieve what might’ve been– your dreams and aspirations. You must grieve your unfulfilled developmental needs: “It’s sad you (inner child) didn’t get to play in sports or join the acting groups because mom and dad didn’t give you the time and encouragement”.

5. Remorse

In grieving childhood abandonment (and all childhood wounds can be seen as abandonment), you must help your wounded inner child see that there was nothing S/HE could’ve done differently. And, there is nothing the adult you could have done differently before now – before your awareness of the inner child: “I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you…. I didn’t know you existed”.

6. Loneliness

The deepest core feelings of grief are toxic shame and loneliness. We experienced shame because our caretakers abandoned us. We think it was our fault and so feel we are bad – as if we’re contaminated – and that shame leads to loneliness. Since our inner child feels flawed and defective, s/he had to cover it up by developing an adapted, false self. The true self was alone and isolated. “I offer you (inner child) unconditional love”.

In embracing our shame and loneliness, we begin to experience our true self.

 

The Inner Child Who Won’t Be Ignored

There is a cause and effect relationship between what happened to the child that we were and the adult we became.  

Our relationship with others reflects how we see and treat ourselves. Eastern philosophy teaches that the world is as you believe it, and in the West, psychotherapists say our view of the world is revealed in the phenomenon of projection. To an unconscious mind, if we see it- we are it.

When we get into a new intimate relationship, all those earlier years of emotional conditioning come to the surface. These unconscious responses, developed when we were merely innocent children, are the result of our experiences with our “First Loves” – our mothers, fathers, or any other caregivers who were close to us. If, for example, your caregivers were affectionate, you are probably comfortable with affection as an adult.

If all your needs were adequately met as a child, the adult-you has a healthy, robust, curious, and spontaneous response to life. We call this a healthy Inner Child, and everyone deserves one.

If all of those needs were met properly, you won’t be interested in this article.

But if you had unmet needs, or were abused or neglected by one of those “First Loves” in a significant or recurring way, it left a wound. You may never notice this hurt but it is certainly there. It determines your actions and shapes your life. Or you may not think those things bother you anymore because, after all, you had to survive. But all you probably accomplished was to learn to mask those wounds, kind of like a Band-Aid, to get on with the task of growing up.

Without any conscious awareness, you created a core issue, and the underlying motivation of your life would be to avoid this hurt by building a good defense strategy. You tried to be perfect, or maybe you tried not needing anything. Whatever the defense, it’s not the real you.

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You can try to ignore this wounded part of yourself and most of us do try. After all, we are grown up, shouldn’t we act grown up? Who would want a sniveling little whiny brat hanging around the office, or in our grown up relationships?

But try as we might, the kid shows up anyway. It’s usually seen as an overreaction, or you may feel it as a freeze-moment: everything turns fuzzy and muddled and you can’t think straight. The next time this happens, ask yourself how old you feel. You’ll see. It’s the kid.

 The good news is we can heal this wounded part of ourselves by building a new relationship with our own Inner Child. If the messages we got as little kids were negative, then there was a misunderstanding. With supportive compassion, we can correct those mistakes.

How this happened is simple. Children feel responsible for the things that happen to them. Our caregivers were our God/Goddess. Since the all-powerful can’t make a mistake, we concluded that, when something was wrong, “it must be me”. This feeling of fault marked our earliest relationship with our selves. At the core of our being is the Inner Child who believes that he or she is unworthy, unlovable, defective, or not good enough

Take Betty for an example. She plays the ex-wife of Don Draper in “Mad Men”. In the latest episode, her partner couldn’t understand why she seemed to get so upset suddenly and for no apparent reason.

Of course Betty didn’t see it that way. She thought it was reasonable to be angry with her son, Bobby, because he “wrecked a perfectly wonderful day”.

Was it really so Angry Bettyhorrible that Bobby thought the lunch with two sandwiches was for him? Anyone watching the scene would know it was an innocent misunderstanding. He had no intention to cause harm. But for Betty, Bobby’s decision to share the lunch with another girl was a malicious affront! In a single instant she went from a Functional Adult to a sulking, fuming, and shaming Child. And like a little girl believing her own sad fantasy (“I’m not good enough”) she later says, to her partner “Why don’t they love me?”

I’d venture to guess that as a child, Betty’s parents believed “children are to be seen but not heard”. She probably learned that her needs were of no significance and were a nuisance. As Betty grew up, still believing this of herself, she learned not to trust the other loves in her life. I think Betty’s defense-strategy was to pretend not to care. And so, without awareness, she punishes her children when these wounds from her Inner Child arise. And she is passing on the wounds.

Like the character Betty, when we are automatically  triggered,  “out of the blue“, we  re-enact the traumas  laid down in childhood.

Here’s the kicker: We cannot be present in an authentic, genuine way in our adult love relationships if we are not aware of our childhood wounds.

Remember, little kids have a very limited amount of experiences to draw conclusions from. When we were 3 or 4 we couldn’t look around us and say, “Well, Mom’s certainly having a bad day. Since I just woke up, it can’t have anything to do with me!” We just felt awful, and we mistakenly concluded, “It must be my fault. I must have done something wrong.” If there are a significant number of these early misconceptions, we become wounded. We grow up wired to believe we are unworthy of love.

Repair can happen when we start to understand on an emotional level, on a gut level, that “It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong, you were just a little kid.

But how can we tell if it’s an Inner Child issue? The 1st step is to become aware. One way is to notice if we feel an emotion that is out of proportion with what’s going on around us, or when we get feedback that we are “overreacting“.

Next, we need to learn to become the Loving Parent to ourselves, who can hear the child’s voice within us and validate its pain and anger.

We can do this by focusing on a current hurtful situation while asking ourselves, “What could have happened in my childhood that would draw me to the same conclusion?” You might find a memory or it may just be a feeling.

Another method is done by journaling non-dominant-hand dialogues (asking your Inner Child what he or she needs). This may require asking for help. We all need some help at times to see ourselves more clearly. Look for a psychotherapist who is comfortable with Lucia Capacchione’s method, illustrated in her book, RECOVERY OF YOUR INNER CHILD – How to talk to your Inner Child and find what it needs. 

Once you have rescued the wounded Inner Child, there are other approaches to keeping yourself in tune with your authentic self that aren’t quite as intense. I write about them as well in other articles. Stay tuned!

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“Carry the spirit of the Child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” ~Aldous Huxley

 

“Live like a mighty river” ~ Buddha

The Universal Inner Child

The poet Ted Hughes (son of Silvia Plath) wrote a letter to his 24-year-old son Nicholas, and, quite exquisitely, advised him to embrace his “childish self” so as to experience life to its fullest. Here it is, in part.

“Dear Nick,

It was a most curious and interesting remark you made about feeling, occasionally, very childish, in certain situations. Every single one of us is still a child. It’s something people don’t discuss, because it’s something most people are aware of, only as a general crisis of sense of inadequacy, or helpless dependence, or pointless loneliness, or a sense of not having a strong enough ego to meet and master inner storms that come from an unexpected angle.

But not many people realise that it is, in fact, the suffering of the child inside them. Everybody tries to protect this vulnerable two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight-year-old inside. And we try to acquire skills and aptitudes for dealing with the situations that threaten to overwhelm it. So everybody develops a whole armour of the secondary self, the artificially constructed being that deals with the outer world. And when we meet people this is what we usually meet.

But when you develop a strong divining sense for the child behind that armour, they too sense when that is what you are appealing to, and they respond with an impulse of real life, you get a little flash of the essential person, which is the child.

It is the carrier of alPenguinWithChildl the living qualities. At every moment, behind the most efficient seeming adult exterior, the whole world of the person’s childhood is being carefully held like a glass of water bulging above the brim. And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them.It’s the centre of all the possible magic and revelation.

Since that artificial secondary self took over the control of life around the age of eight, and relegated the real, vulnerable, supersensitive, suffering-self back into its nursery, it has lacked training.

And so, wherever life takes it by surprise, that inner self is thrown into the front line — unprepared, with all its childhood terrors round its ears. And yet that’s the moment it wants. That’s where it comes alive — even if only to be overwhelmed and bewildered and hurt.That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when something overwhelms their ordinary, carefully armoured self, and the naked child is flung out onto the world.

That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best remembered.

But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self — struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence — you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself.

The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all. The beautiful vulnerability of our inner child and its longing to be seen, heard, and let loose, provides the absolutely most exquisite moments in life.

We measure out our real respect for people by the degree of feeling they can register, the voltage of life they can carry and tolerate—and enjoy.

As Buddha says: live like a mighty river.”

Excerpts from:  http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/09/live-like-mighty-river.html