As I’ve written, Western culture sees healing—it literally means “to make whole”—as restoring something or someone to an undamaged state; when something of value is damaged, such as a painting or other artifact, our practice is always to repair it in such a way that it looks as though the damage never happened.
That tends to be the mindset we bring to our emotional healing from childhood which is, of course, impossible. For that reason, I think it’s far more productive to think of healing using the Japanese art of Kintsugi as the guiding metaphor. When a valuable or cherished ceramic object is broken, the Japanese repair the piece with lacquer mixed with precious metals—gold, silver, or copper—so that the breaks are not only visible but form a pattern of their own, testifying to the object’s history while transforming how it looks. The repaired object remains its old self while becoming an emblem of resilience and newly envisioned beauty. Continue reading “What it means to heal from childhood experiences”
Under the broad umbrella of psychoanalysis there are at least 22 theoretical orientations regarding human mental developmentchild development.
. The various approaches in treatment called “psychoanalysis” vary as much as the theories do. The term also refers to a method of analysing
The basic tenets of psychoanalysis include:
- a person’s development is determined by often forgotten events in early childhood rather than by inherited traits alone
- human attitude, mannerism, experience, and thought is largely influenced by irrational drives that are rooted in the unconscious
- it is necessary to bypass psychological resistance in the form of defense mechanisms when bringing drives into awareness
- conflicts between the conscious and the unconscious, or with repressed material can materialize in the form of mental or emotional disturbances, for example:neurosis, neurotic traits, anxiety, depression etc.
- liberating the elements of the unconscious is achieved through bringing this material into the conscious mind (via e.g. skilled guidance, i.e. therapeutic intervention).
There is a pain so utter that it swallows substance up
Then covers the abyss with trance—
So memory can step around—across—upon it
As one within a swoon goes safely where an open-eye would drop him—
—Bone by bone
Often people ask me what it means that they can’t remember much from childhood. I don’t know why they can’t remember, of course. But I do tell them my experience: that there is a huge range of remembrance of our pasts—from hardly recalling anything before mid-adolescence, to very detailed memories even when very young. Brains work a variety of ways and not knowing your past may be totally normal.
These questions lie at the heart of the memory of childhood abuse issue. Experts in the field of memory and trauma can provide some answers, but clearly more study and research are needed. What we do know is that both memory researchers and clinicians who work with trauma victims agree that both phenomena occur. However, experienced clinical psychologists state that the phenomenon of a recovered memory is rare (e.g., one experienced practitioner reported having a recovered memory arise only once in 20 years of practice). Also, although laboratory studies have shown that memory is often inaccurate and can be influenced by outside factors, memory research usually takes place either in a laboratory or some everyday setting. For ethical and humanitarian reasons, memory researchers do not subject people to a traumatic event in order to test their memory of it. Because the issue has not been directly studied, we can not know whether a memory of a traumatic event is encoded and stored differently from a memory of a nontraumatic event.