I am apart of a powerful women’s entrepreneurial group where we read a book and have a discussion about the impact the book had us. Our first book is Iyanla Vanzant’s Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What Your’re Going Through. This book is an autobiography where Iyanla explores her past trauma and the generational pathology of her family. One of the questions posed by one of the group members was “which adult from Iyanla’s childhood we thought was in the best position to protect her and make everything alright.” My response to the question was “The adults in her life were not in a position to make everything right as they had never dealt with their issues and trauma. I run across so many families who want us (therapists) to “fix” children when the real issue is the parents. And when I say the real issue is the parents, I mean they have never dealt with their issues and that effects the way in which they parent continuing the passing down of generational issues.” Her response to me was “I see! Wow. Heal the parents which would enable them to support the healing of the child.” I thought, “Exactly! Somebody gets it!”
The first step to caregivers helping their children through issues that require therapy is to first deal with their own issues. One of the statements I make to the parents of the children I treat is “In order for me to help your child, you have to be a part of the treatment. That means there may be times when you have to meet with me alone where we may have to address things from your past that are impacting your relationship with your child. I cannot help your child without also helping you.” Many caregivers do not realize how their past issues have seeped into their current relationships and coping. Ignorance is not bliss! Ignoring what has occurred in your past is the breeding ground for pathology.
Caregivers for the benefit of the children you are raising, please face the issues from your past. Therapy is not for “crazy people” as it has been stigmatized in the past. Therapy is for everyone who is willing to face their past and want to change.