Therapy, or growth by any other name or means, helps us to function in the present, unencumbered by the limitations of past perceptions that are no longer desired. Patients may ask their therapists,
"Will therapy help me change?"
It is a trick question, because the part the patient usually wishes to change through therapy is not the himself but his past. If the painful past were just a bad dream from which the person could be awakened, the pain would go away.
The notion of "healing the inner child" though poetically beautiful, is no more possible than giving someone a new past. That cannot be done completely, but it often constitutes the longing that is hidden in the agenda of a relationship, be it with a mate, a friend, or a therapist.
So how is change possible? Every child deserves to have a healthy, supportive, nurturing childhood. Too bad that this just does not happen often enough. Only by mourning what could have been, what one deserved to have had as a child but did not get, can the Adult emerge. Often we try to be whole by ignoring the hole in us, that part that feels painful and unfulfilled. Not surprising, then, that we are left fragmented.
Marcel Proust eloquently said, "There is no healing without grieving."
An analogy of a ship in a storm often tells a similar story of healing.
Imagine the captain of a ship caught in a terrible storm. The wave are mountainous, and the ship is in great danger. To survive, he must eliminate all the excessive and unnecessary baggage that weights down the ship. He must evaluate everything on board and determine what is necessary and what is burdensome.
In the process of therapy, or growth of any sort, we must similarly examine and risk discarding what we conclude to be excess emotional baggage.
All the old cargo from the past that is not of value in the present must go.
The process is one of recognizing, evaluating, and discarding.
Because we cannot jettison our pasts, discarding here means decommissioning the old ways.
The ship not only stays afloat but can now sail to new ports.
And once we raise the anchor, and do additional work towards the Adult, all the drag is eliminated. We can fully dedicate our efforts to moving ahead. A burst of creative energy, previously unavailable, empowers us and propels us forward toward new ventures.
Illuminating the past brightens the future.
Breaking Free ~ Kardener & Kardener