We Must Deal with Our Past to Receive Healing

Monday, April 07, 2014 @ 3:10 PM

People will use scripture ...forgetting what lies behind, a new creation, remember not the former things...  as the reason they don't want to look at what happened in their past in therapy. They just want help on what is happening RIGHT NOW! If only it were that simple.

I think we can all agree that, in a physical sense, everything which has happened to us from conception forward contributes to our physical strength and capability. If our genetic makeup was sound from the beginning, if our mother was careful of us before we were born, if we ate and slept and played well as kids, if we managed to avoid injury and disease as teens, if we take care now to eat and exercise, then our bodies are probably pretty healthy. But, if there was interference anywhere along the way, then our physical health can be compromised for the rest of our lives. When we go to the medical doctor, she inquires about our background and family history in order to facilitate a diagnosis of what is troubling us today.

Our emotional health is much the same. From the time we are conceived, we are subject to things that can affect us emotionally. (Did you know that babies born to women under a great deal of stress during pregnancy are more likely to be diagnosed with depression and other mental health issues as adults?) If we grew up in an abusive home, if we were victimized as children or teens, if we have suffered trauma, we carry the effects of this into our adult lives. And we don't forget because the scars they inflicted on our souls remain, whether we think about those events or not.

“We must name the troubling past truthfully—we must come to clarity about what happened, how we reacted, and how we are reacting to it now—to be freed from its destructive hold on our lives. Granted, truthful naming will not by itself heal memories or wrong suffered; but without truthful naming, all measures we might undertake to heal such memories will remain incomplete.”

Miroslav Volf, The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World

This what a relationship with a trusted therapist can give you the opportunity to do—name your troubling past truthfully. The goal is to be freed of the destruction that was done to your soul by the pain you suffered. Only by addressing these difficult things will you be able to recover from them and live your life healthy and strong.

Christine Brown, MA MFT