Most personal growth approaches do not involve the clients’ parents. In general, their current involvement is not required for an individual to heal their past. On the other hand, when a parent is willing to participate, it can speed the healing of past hurts that are challenging to resolve on one’s own.
Regardless of your age, it is a powerful experience to be finally seen, heard and held by your parents. If you have felt chronically misunderstood or mistreated throughout your life, these feelings can be best resolved in a therapeutic environment where everyone is present. When a parent hears to complaints of their adult child, and offers genuine remorse about the unintended impacts of their behavior in the past, all parties experience profound relief, repair and resolution.
We have seen this repeatedly among our clients. Painful memories of estrangement, abandonment, or rejection melt away when an adult child is able to speak their truth to their parents. When the parents are open to hearing that truth, and are supported in the therapeutic environment, mutual understanding and forgiveness can happen spontaneously. This is transformational at any age. We have worked with parents in their 80s and 90s.
All that is required is the desire to heal. There must be a common agreement that all parties want a heartfelt clearing that works for everyone involved.
Specific agreements keep the environment safe for all participants:
- We will approach the process with genuine curiosity.
- We will care about the other’s side of the story.
- We will take responsibility for our contribution and impact, even if we did not mean to cause harm.
- We will avoid blame, shame, escalation, name-calling, contempt, and other negative reactions.
- We will follow “clean communication” protocols, such as Non-Violent Communication (NVC).
- We will do our best to understand how our past interactions felt to the other person, even if we disagree about the details.
It’s important that the parent recognize that their child is an adult, and that the old parent-child dynamic must be shifted to adult-to-adult. When a parent admits that they made mistakes, and apologizes for the impact of those mistakes, the adult child learns that much of the pain they experienced was caused by their parent’s confusion and ignorance – not because they were mean or uncaring. They simply lacked the wisdom required to love their child in the way the child needed. And because most children repeat the patterns of their parents, there is often a recognition of “I was only doing what my own parents did – I didn’t know any other way.”
When all participants bring mutual respect and genuine care, rather then defensiveness or anger, vulnerability and honest communication can occur. When this mutual healing happens, what remains is mutual understanding, love, and care. Both the adult child and their parents are guided to compassionately explore, resolve and grow beyond the early childhood wounding experiences, and restore the love that all parents and children have for each other.
For those lucky enough to have their parents still alive, there is a precious opportunity to resolve misunderstandings, to clarify and heal wounds of the past, and make new agreements regarding the way they can relate to each other going into the future.
We have seen these healing sessions transform every participant, relieve decades of suppressed truth, dissolve ancient conflicts, and bring light to dark places. We see deep love emerge from its hiding place, and a sense of wholeness return to all parties.
Our family healing sessions are custom-designed to help participants resolve historic unhealed feelings and concerns, including resentments and transgressions. We create a safe container that promotes sensitivity, empathy and mutual understanding. Once the past pain gets addressed and cleared, we support family members to take the next steps toward co-creation of a positive, loving relationship going forward.
Counseling sessions can be done in person or by Skype. Our preferred format is in 1-to-3-day intensives.
Contact Carista at Carista@ConfusedaboutLove.com for details.