Healing the Child Within

Healing the Child Within

“In 1986, when this book was first published, it was cutting edge and ahead of its time. Just as relevant today as it was twenty years ago, Healing the Child Within remains a ground-breaking book in trauma psychology and recovery.” (Foreward by Cardwell Nuckols)

The book’s author, Charles Whitfield, describes the child within as the True Self, Real Self or Higher Self. He contrasts this with the False Self, the co-dependent self, which is essentially a cover-up. “It is inhibited, contracting and fearful. It is our egocentric ego and super-ego, forever planning and plodding, continually selfish and withholding. It is envious, critical, idealized, blaming, shaming and perfectionistic.” (p. 11) The child within is stifled by trauma and/or the dysfunctional family. This results in a False Self that runs amok, doing everything to deny feeling and reality.

It is the reality of the alcoholic, addict and codependent.

In one of the many insightful chapters in the book, Whitfield describes core issues that need to be resolved in the recovery process, which include: all-or-none thinking and behaving; control; fear of abandonment; difficulty handling and resolving conflict; unresolved grief; difficulty giving and receiving love; and self-esteem.

Ultimately, healing the child within is a spiritual matter. “Spirituality is the last ‘stage’ in our recovery…. Spirituality is about the relationships that we have with our self, with others and with the Universe.” (p. 127)

Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Charles Whitfield, Health Communications Inc, 1986, 151 pages.

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