Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Some years ago I held a workshop for therapeutic foster parents titled The Bright and Dark Sides of the Wounded Healer. In it, I defined therapy as “the response the child needed when she was first hurt.” I hold to this definition, which contains several meanings. One is that the essence of healing is neither science nor art, but nature: the good relationship that takes away a child’s pain. Another meaning is that dysfunction grows from pain and injury and that these must be “felt through” rather than reasoned, tough-loved, bright-thought, “spiritualed,” drugged or behaved away. And another is that this definition doesn’t change across the lifetime.
Look at the powers that help a child recover. The mother’s care and deep listening, full patience, the buoyant “arrived” strength to hear and contain pain and not flinch, believing her child not spinning his story, and her power to strive for real justice, or at least emotional justice.
Why should healing be any different for an adult? Especially when so many have been waiting all these years – since childhood – for it?