Holistic Depth Psychotherapy - Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC

Voices of the Inner Child

"Tales of a Lovable Bunny":

Small Bunny

"All feelings have colors and shapes like plants... envy is ugly lime green and has pointy, sharp leaves... joy is like bright pink, fuchsia azaleas- did you know they go 'pop!' when they bloom?" ~ small bunny

"I settle back in the big green chair, pull up the soft green blanket, preparing to engage in deep, experiential therapy with my inner child. I remove my glasses, close my eyes, and then take some slow, deep breaths. In my head, I climb the stairs of my childhood home, turn right and knock quietly at a door.

"Small Bunny?" I say aloud, "Are you there?"

"Is that you, My Bunny?" She answers aloud. She started calling me 'My Bunny' when she realized that we share the same first name and that she is the only child I visit. "Is Nicole with you? Can we go to the Castle Tree and the Garden? Now?!"


"The Castle tree was a place of sanctuary when I was a young child and still is today in my mind and heart."

~ My Bunny

"Yes. And yes." I open the door and smile down at her as she kneels on the floor surrounded by her Beatrix Potter books. She has fly-away blond hair, big blue eyes, and an anxious manner: myself at four or five years old, sent to her room once again for 'quiet time.' We've worked out these meetings over the months, getting together in her room, traveling through imaginary tunnels to the huge weeping beech tree behind my grandparents' large house.

The castle tree is a real tree in what was my grandparents' backyard. Three stories tall and as big horizontally as a house, its branches touch the ground all the way around. In my childhood it was a place of escape from demanding parents and perfectionist grandparents. There I rode the branches across the sage brushed plains of New Mexico and climbed dangerously high to sail in the rigging of tall pirate ships across the Caribbean. It was a place of sanctuary when I was a child and still is today in my mind and heart.

Beside our now imagined castle tree we, in our therapeutic journey, have dug and planted a symbolic 'garden of flowers and feelings'. There Small Bunny is learning about the power and pleasure of the whole gamut of feelings denied to her during the daily life of her childhood. Each plant in the garden has a feeling associated with it, and she is slowly discovering the texture and color of ones she has been taught to ignore or deny. She has also learned the importance of watering the garden with our tears of sadness and grief, another thing forbidden to her early on.

There are three of us who 'meet' and connect in the garden. Small Bunny is the most important member of the trio, the wounded one, who needs a great deal of healing. She is also the one with the most energy, the most expressed feelings. Small Bunny is exuberant, a true wild card. I love her dearly and ache for the pain she already carries, so young, too young, burdened in ways she can't imagine.

The next is me, Bunny, the adult I am now, who Small Bunny calls 'My Bunny'. Also deeply wounded, I am the one who speaks out loud for both Bunnies. It is difficult to explain, because on a very real level each Bunny speaks for herself. As the adult I am obviously more mature than Small Bunny, but still emotional and at times still flooded with traumatic feelings, though much less so now than in the past.

When Small Bunny first emerged, I was more than a little embarrassed, and wondered if I was somehow making her up to please Nicole. I certainly didn't think I needed- or wanted- a child in my head, let alone in my life. She emerged rarely and briefly, and I resisted Nicole's urging to take her home and read children's books to her or feed her cocoa with marshmallows-utterly silly! However, she began to emerge session after session, slowly becoming a vitally important part of my life.

I began to tape our sessions and could clearly hear the differences in our voices. Small Bunny's is decidedly younger than mine, and her outlook is more hopeful, less sad. Nicole tells me our body language differs as well. She is much more animated than my adult. She laughs more, uses her hands when she talks, and bounces around in the chair.


"Each plant in the garden has a feeling associated with it and she is discovering the texture and color of ones she has been taught to ignore or deny."

~ My Bunny

The third member of our oddball club is Nicole. She speaks for herself, binding us together with knowledge, understanding, intuition, wisdom, enthusiasm, real caring and concern for all of us, especially Small Bunny, who adores her.

"Come on," Small Bunny cries, "Let's go to the Castle Tree!" And immediately we are in the cool, leafy darkness of our intimate safety zone.

"Are you here, Nicole?" Small Bunny asks immediately.

"Is that you, Small Bunny?" Nicole's voice is warm and rich. "I'm glad to see you again. How are you?"

"I'm glad you came," Small Bunny responds, "because otherwise I have to stay in my room forever!"

"Forever?" Nicole responds, surprised, "Why?"

"Because I was a bad girl this morning and my mommy sent me to my room for the whole afternoon. I have to stay 'til Daddy gets home. That's a long time." Her voice manages to combine great sorrow and great drama. (cont'd on next page)

Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC, Holistic Depth Psychotherapist

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

Serving Rhode Island and Southeastern Connecticut