We never escape our childhood. Do you think of this as a positive or negative statement? Statistics are unclear pertaining to this question. My personal experience as a counselor is that clients generally think of it as negative. They are resistant to my digging around in their pasts to try to find answers for their presents. Yet when my findings produce positive results for their present dilemmas, they appreciate the digging.

My professional opinion is that our not being able to escape our childhood experiences is positiive. Where is all that information kept about our childhood experiences? Freud called it the Unconscious Mind. Think about it. Every word you ever spoke as a child–or an adult for that matter–every event, every thought or feeling is stored in your unconscious mind. Certainly we will never access perhaps less than one percent of all that data, but to know that it is there brings me comfort. It is a vault where I can find out who I am, what I am, what I may still be able to accomplish in my life.

Childhood was a time and place where we began. Alfred Adler, contemporary of Freud taught that at birth the child chooses to believe if the world in which he or she is living is safe or unsafe, exciting or scary, boring or whatever. If the child is born in the warm comfort of a bed at home with a midwife, chances are excellent that the baby will believe that the world is a safe place to live. When the infant is born into the bright lights and clamor of a hospital chances are good that he or she will see it as unsafe, scary even. Adler taught that those first impressions mold the way each thinks and feels about his or her existence for the rest of his or her life. I believe that because I have witnessed it time and time again as a counselor.

Adler went on to say that the infant and child, then adult will cause their existence to become that first impression. The difficult job of counseling is to determine exactly how the infant viewed that first impression. Maybe the bright lights and clamor meant excitement and adventure, the life of a race car driver. The soothing of midwifery spelled introversion and boredom, seeking meaning in books as a philosopher or librarian. Then there are the variables throughout life that seem to change that original view of life, but they do not change the original according to Adler.

The point is that all of who we are is stored in our unconscious mind. It is a vault waiting for us to discover who I am, what i am and what I mayi still be able to accomplish in my life. The best therapies for discovering all this is the Psychoanalytic or Psychodynamic Therapist. When you want to know why you think and act as you do, all you have to do is hire such a therapist to dig around in your unconscious mind to discover what you want to know.

Lane A Stokes, LPC CounselingServicesAtlanta.com 404-487-1956