Holistic Depth Psychotherapy - Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC

Voices of the Inner Child

Handprints

"Happy is 'she' who still loves something 'she' loved in the nursery. 'She' is not broken in two by time; he is not two men but one, And he has saved not only his soul but his life."

~ G.K. Chesterton

This Way to the Lost and Found
A Prologue:

"Child, knowledge is a treasury and your heart its strongbox." ~Hugo of St. Victor

Some people may view the idea of "the inner child" as being a patently absurd, pop psychology invention, intended to condone the rampant immaturity, narcissistic self-centeredness, and irresponsibility witnessed in so many contemporary 'adult' people. I have related intimately as a psychotherapist for over 20 years now with adults ranging from ages 20 to 72. The people I see as clients bend toward being bright, rather psychologically mature, and often overly conscientious. I have worked with a broad range of apparently well adjusted people: engineers and entrepreneurs, corporate executives and college students, professors and full time parents, artists and administrators, teachers and therapists.

The common thread between all these diverse adults is a history of once having been a child.

Although these adults were children who grew up under the shadow-weight of familial dysfunction, mental illness, abuse, addictions and neglect; they frequently do not wear their developmental wounds openly for the world to scrutinize. Their wounds more often live crisply ironed, folded, and tucked away inside the dark drawers of younger sub-personalities who shoulder the burden of feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, ashamed, anxious, confused and despondent. On the outside, these individuals are mostly competent, charming, gracious, well spoken and mannered. On the inside, however, with acutely private stealth, the damaged children are weaving on bruised knees, writhing in pain.

Frequently, nobody knows. Frequently, they do not, at least initially, know. More frequently still, it takes whole universes of tender cajoling, patient reaching, and plodding time to access their brutalized, rubbed- sore worlds hulking in child sized silhouettes beneath their "oh-so-together" smiles. These people are sometimes the cream of our cultural and therapeutic crop, flashing winning grins while milk teeth rot beneath their pearly whites. Who would sense the abscess?

The inner kids are buried and muffled thousands of feet down beneath social pleasantries, steely determination, cheerful chatter, obsessive concern with the details of other people's lives, boisterous busy-ness, and sometimes scintillating successes. All of the aforementioned are real and happening. They are speeding down the highway of their lives, able-bodied and more than capable. You would not think to look at the damage under the hood. Their shiny engines may be about to combust. The psyches of their inner children are likely stuffed away like dead weight in their psychological trunks.

Girl

"The most potent muse of all is our own inner child."

~ Stephen Nachmanovitch

The adults sitting in my green psychotherapy chairs could whittle away hundreds of session hours deftly describing their lives from a far flung continent. Who would ever see the fissures in their foundation? Who would ever feel the hot little hands and large eyes pulling like magnets for recognition beneath their cool and varnished veneer? Who would ever hear the voices inside them that are several octaves higher and scared stiff? Who would know that under their sophisticated power point presentations perch children who want to show me their lives ablaze with jagged oversized print and colored crayon scribbles?

They long to tell me stories they have lived but have never read out loud. These are the hidden narratives that burst at the seams with exclamation points that are not fictions of exaggeration but rather memoirs of truth. They turn the pages with stubby delicate fingers, pointing to hurts accrued from waiting forever in dark corners for alcoholic or absent fathers to finally pay attention or for simmering or depressed mothers to gaze with warm appreciation instead of sneers or vacant stares.

I see. I hear. I know. I collect inner children at the "lost and found center" that is my psychotherapy practice. There is nothing juvenile about my practice. I am the offspring of a long line of multilingual academics. If there were a more abstruse formula for dredging up a drowned life, I would have discovered the impossible equation in some romantically complicated and arcane book. It is my usual way.

My usual way has been bewildered and torpedoed by the sound of small feet skittering across the psychic divide. I am enthralled, enraptured, engrossed and engaged. Shall you join me then in this rich underworld? The once camouflaged big-little lives are ready to greet you...

Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC, Holistic Depth Psychotherapist

Voice Mail: (401) 573-6396  Email: info@holisticdepththerapy.com

Serving Rhode Island and Southeastern Connecticut