Growing Up #2

Thanks to John Bradshaw, and a host of other writers, the concept of the Wounded Child (ego state) has become part of the consciousness of many people over the last twenty to thirty years.  As an individual recognizes and acknowledges their wounded child, their understanding of their own and others’ behavior increases dramatically.  This understanding has led to deeper compassion for the wounding and pain that so often drives the difficult, confusing and sometimes destructive behavior we experience in ourselves others. 

At worst, the recognition of our own and others’ wounded child can be used to excuse or justify bad behavior and provide a rationale for not behaving in a grown-up fashion.  “After all, what can you expect of me?  I had such a terrible childhood!”  Also, part of the resistance to growing up can be the attitude that, “Look, given the cards I was dealt as  child, I am doing the best that I can.”

In brief, while we recognize the importance of the concept of the wounded child, we also recognize that this concept has led, in some circles, to a backlash against psychotherapy.  The thinking is, “It’s better not to delve into one’s childhood and wallow there, making excuses for oneself.  It’s better to concentrate only on goal-setting for one’s future.”

What is not understood in this frame of reference is that, when’s one’s present life is contaminated by unresolved childhood issues and survival strategies, any attempts to construct a better future will be built on a faulty foundation and likely will be unsustainable.

 From this understanding and awareness psychotherapists have evolved methodologies for addressing and healing the wounded child in themselves and in their clients.

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