top of page

A Date With Inner Child: How Authenticity Therapy is Shaping My Life

After coming back from our training for Authenticity Therapy (AT) in Costa Rica this January, I got to learn first-hand how tending and talking to my inner child (IC) kept me grounded and helped everything else going on in my life fall into place. I began using this powerful technique with some of my long-term clients, and lo-and-behold! They became ready to discharge! They began to trust that they could navigate life without my support because they carried their own deep font of wisdom with them at all times- the innocent, truthful (sometimes loud) voice of our younger selves.

That was January, and this is April. As we are ramping up to launch our new trauma treatment center, there has been so much to do. And so much of it has been fun! But also anxiety-provoking! Back and forth like a ping-pong ball. Gradually, I noticed that my little girl had gone quiet. And when I called for her in the mornings or evenings for a cuddle and heart-to-heart in bed (this makes absolute sense for those who have experienced AT), I was met with silence. I was grateful that my teacher, Yudit had planned a one-day retreat in May in my own town that I could attend to get reacquainted, but nervous that maybe I needed to rely on events like this in order to not lose touch.

In supervision, Yudit advised me to start from square one with the AT protocol. Without judgement, I would go through each step, and hear the wisdom of my body and soul, and define the exact steps that would be required to put my inner world back in order. Even this was tricky... I found excuses for not wanting to do it "right now". "Soon", I'd tell myself. When I finally allowed myself the space to do it, I noticed I was doing steps out of order, or not at all. That bond I used to have with IC was so strong that I didn't need to do each step before. Although it was always easy to do the steps in order for my clients, my mind became cloudy, distracted, sleepy as I began to do the work on myself. I brought my mind into order by envisioning the exact script we use in therapy sessions, and little by little I felt the technique take effect.

I noticed the (many) places in my body where I felt something: breathing hurt my throat a little bit. My stomach was clenched. There seemed to be butterflies in my lower belly. I breathed into the sensations, reminding myself I was safe, allowing myself to be grateful for the truth they carried. What were they telling me that I felt? Fear. Overwhelm. Isolation... I recalled these same emotions from a big majority of my life. Always on the go. Always onto the next big thing that excited me, and brought something to the world. Chasing those highs. They were healthy, so why not? But... what if even after I achieved the next thing... the next successful art project completed, the next object of intellectual curiosity mastered, the next business built... what if the feelings of emptiness still lingered?

In the past, I would keep on the go. Keeping busier and busier. After all, if I never stopped, I would never have to know if the empty feelings returned. People would notice back then, and I would laugh it off. "I'm like a shark," I told them. "If I ever stop moving I'll die." Of course it was a joke... but there was a hint of real fear behind it. And now IC had separated from me as the cycle began to repeat. She hid in fear, or perhaps I pushed her into hiding for her own safety, preparing for yet another build-up-then-burn-out experience.

I had thought that going to the pool as often as possible kept her happy each day. That's what she said she wanted in January. But I was operating on old information. This time, she wanted something different. Something specifically child-like: a warm, sweet drink. A pretty picture to color. ("Of what?") Kitties and unicorns. A cat with a unicorn horn, even better. Rainbows. Pretty things. With crayons. ("Oh, nice idea! We could get some paints out and-") NO. CRAY-ONS! She was very specific. I agreed, and noticed that the uncomfortable physical sensations had diminished, allowing me to sleep again that night.

After I got dressed in the morning, but before doing anything else, I followed her instructions. I made us some hot bubble tea. I looked up an image on the internet: "unicorn cat rainbow coloring", and found a pretty, but unusual image generated by AI. I broke out the crayons (feeling her light up at the sight of the bright colors, many of the crayons brand new). As I sat in the sun and colored with my crayons, I felt my insides glow, and my mood lift. My mindscape was soothed, happy, and I felt ready for the new challenges of the day, from such a simple, specific activity. I finished my using my non-dominant hand (to further give up control), and wrote words that made IC smile around the edge: Pretty. Joy. Whimsy. Nonsense. Magic. Colors.

A part of me thought "Well, now. With that out of the way-" and heard "NO" in response. No. This should not be "out of the way." This should be very much IN the way. Somewhere visible where I will see it often so I don't forget how important this kind of thing is. I needed to display it somewhere, proudly, just like I would the artwork of any other child I loved. This agreement made, I began my work day with a renewed sense of purpose and self-assuredness.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page