Pioneered by Pia Mellody and used in the world famous ‘Meadows’ treatment centre in Arizona this is the therapy received in ‘Survivors’ Workshops. It is a healing and re-parenting model that helps people heal from childhood abuse and childhood trauma of all kinds. It can be done individually and preferably as part of a group. I run trauma healing workshops once a month with Hilary Betts. The goal of treatment is to be able to be your authentic self, 60 to 70% of the time which is very good news for your relationships with self and others! This allows you to affirm yourself, nurture yourself and set healthy limits for yourself. Co-dependency is often the driving force behind addictions and for people in recovery from addiction who are still struggling with cross-addictions or relationship problems, it is regularly the ‘missing piece of the jigsaw,’ for their healing.
It is the therapy of choice for treating Co-dependency or ‘a dysfunctional relationship with self and others caused by childhood trauma.’ It is a healing and re-parenting model. First the client looks at their Family of Origin history to get a clear view about what was helpful and what was damaging for them as they grew up. This could be things that happened, (like criticism and attack) or things that did not happen (like not being hugged or told that you were loved) Then the client is taught how to embody their authentic self or ‘functional adult’ self more fully, before being guided through inner-child work. This will be with a ‘wounded child’ aspect of self and an ‘adapted child aspect’.
The wounded child will be a young ego state 0f up to the age of 6 and the adapted will be from 7 through 18. If someone goes into feeling ‘one down’ or worth-less than others this is usually the wounded child being activated and if someone goes into feeling better than or ‘one up’ towards others, then the adapted child has taken over (both are trauma reactions). If we regress into the wounded child part of us, we will feel overwhelmed or dissociate and be too dependent on others and if the adapted takes over we will treat or parent ourselves (our wounded part) through criticism, abandonment and indulging. We will be arrogant towards others.
What we need to be doing is healing and re-parenting ourselves through affirming that we are valuable (self-esteem), nurturing ourselves (self-care) and setting healthy limits for ourselves and towards others (boundaries/moderation and containment).
Then the client will do shame and feeling reduction work where she/he will give back emotions that they are carrying for their parents through imagery and empty chair work.
Then ongoing work/recovery around the core issues is recommended, which involves therapeutic work around self-esteem, boundaries/self-protection, knowing and expressing our reality and being accountable when we make mistakes by accepting that it is OK to be imperfect, looking after our needs and wants and being inter-dependent and having moderation and containment whilst allowing spontaneity.