In early life, we made decisions about ourselves and the world, often outside of our awareness, about how to survive and get enough love and attention. Children are born helpless, and dependent on their caregivers for survival. This means that for infants and young children, their survival is dependent on getting the cooperation of their caregivers.
Children are masters at figuring out what they need to do in order to get cared for. When trust breaks down in the environment, we make early ‘decisions’ (outside conscious awareness) as babies about how to best survive in those conditions.
In some families, shutting down feelings was necessary to fit into the family system. Sometimes, we were only permitted to feel angry, but never scared, or only happy, but never angry. Hoping our overwhelmed parents would take care of us, we might have decided to stifle our own needs to not overwhelm them further. Others might attempt to get their needs met by escalating their feelings.
Whatever the decision, it was an attempt at getting needs met historically. The challenge is that these archaic decisions, acted outside of our awareness, are often what is now creating difficulties in our adult life.
Re-decision therapy is an opportunity to make new, life-affirming decisions and release the archaic ones that are no longer serving us. Using our grown-up capacities to get our needs met in the present, we can release these old patterns and free up our energy to live our best lives.
Therapy is a Journey
Therapy and the process of recovering mental health and wellness is a journey, not a destination. Progress can sometimes feel slow, and it can feel like starting at the beginning. Healing is really done in a spiral, coming around to a familiar place, but with additional insight and understanding.
Trauma and Therapy
Trauma is making headlines as a major component of mental illness, addiction and disease. We define trauma as any experience where an individual experiences an event as overwhelming and beyond their capacity to handle it emotionally or physically.
This definition includes loss of attachment experiences as ‘traumatic’. This can include abandonment, growing up with addicted, distracted or self-centred parents, neglect, abuse or any other experience as kids that felt unmanageable.
As kids, our brains properly develop when we experience secure attachment with caregivers. Secure attachment means being responded to, acknowledge, loved, and supported. When we felt scared, we were comforted, when we were happy and excited, we were celebrated. When we were angry, we were acknowledged and had someone to explain confusing things.
Unfortunately, for many, this was not their early experience. If you grew up in a family that wasn’t responsive in this way, many will internalize this ‘trauma’. Parents who were too busy, addicted, stressed or not able to regulate their own emotions have a difficult time doing this for their children. The consequence is the struggles that really are universal.
We all struggle in one way or another. At Therapy for People, our therapeutic techniques are designed to help anyone who is struggling – not just the mentally unwell. We help average people get where they want to be in life.
Therapy really is for everyone.