What exactly does that mean?

It means that we all have been wounded in our childhood as well as earlier in our adult lives. At a minimum, we have been disappointed or rejected or were left out of a social group at school or told we were not good enough by someone important in our life (or at least got that message).

For some people, the wounds were more problematic whether due to more frequency or more intensity such as sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse, neglect or significant abandonment. The wounds could have been at the hands of parents, stepparents, siblings, other family members, friends, teachers, religious authorities or strangers.

When couples come to see me for their problems, I always look for triggers.

I ask them and myself what this current couple issue might be triggering from each partner’s childhood? I ask questions such as; “How does this feeling with your partner feel familiar to you?”

If we do not address the underlying childhood wounds, marital therapy is no more than a Band-Aid that will just erupt again.

Addressing the childhood wounds is the way to go deep enough to develop the awareness which in turn increases the internal motivation to handle one’s triggers without punishing the other partner.

Addressing the childhood wounds gives each partner the opportunity to see how they are projecting into their partner far more harsh perceptions because of the triggered emotional state from their past.

The couple can learn how to communicate these wounded parts not only to me, the therapist but also to each other.

The couple can then not only be healing agents for their current relationship; they can also aid in the healing of their childhood wounds just by their mutual willingness to communicate more maturely without the harshness they expressed before the awareness.

Healing of childhood wounds comes from processing painful memories that have not been fully processed.

One way to do that is for the couple to allow each other to make meaningful contact with each other as they discuss these painful times in their lives. Instead of acting out these feelings with each other, they now are attuning to each other and creating an interpersonal environment that can allow for healing.

I have been a joyful witness to many couples learning and going through this process and transforming their relationship.

Another way to process painful memories is doing individual therapy.

As I have mentioned before, one of the most efficient and powerful ways to help people process and heal from traumatic and painful past events is through the approach called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. (EMDR).

I have helped many committed couples by doing EMDR with one of the partners that allowed that partner to heal and then treat the current relationship issues without all the intensity of being triggered from one’s past wounds.

I have also worked with each partner at times. I have worked with each partner alone in my office and I have also worked with a partner while his or her partner was sitting right beside him or her. There are different ways to do this depending on each couple’s needs and dynamics.

The important point here is that whether the couple is doing interpersonal processing with their partner or individual processing using an approach such as EMDR, (or both), this creates behavioral choices for the couple that they could not have had before.

When a person heals from past wounds, that person is free to develop mature communication skills. That person is free to claim or re-claim his or her healthy sexuality. That person is more capable of separating out the partner’s issues from his or her own.

I have observed that once partners work on healing their childhood wounds, their relationship wellbeing can increase rather rapidly.

It’s as if they have removed the obstacles on the obstacle course and now instead of having to work so hard, they still have to run the race (i.e.-learn relationship skills, be courageous, be creative), but they can run this race with less resistance and conflict and with more motivation and ease.

If you think you need help healing your childhood wounds so you can have a better relationship or experience more joy in your life…I am here to help!

Author's Bio: 

He has been a keynote speaker and spoken in hundreds of venues to thousands of people. His main talks are:
The Art of Love and Money
How to Heal From Infidelity
The Secrets to Rekindling Passion
His book, The Long Hot Marriage has been highly acclaimed and has helped thousands of people who gave themselves the gift of reading it. His new book, Love, Sex and Karaoke; 52 Ways to Ignite Your Love Life, is about to be released in February of 2015. He has as well cd’s dvd’s and downloadable products that can be bought from this website.
Relationship Mastery connection
Are We Built For Monogamy
Todd Creager is an Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work where he teaches three classes to MSW graduate students:
The Art of Practice with Individuals,
The Art of Practice with Families and Groups
Mental Health and Human Development. He enjoys teaching as much as he enjoys his private practice and each enhance his skills of the other.
He attended the USC School of Social Work and received his Masters in Social Work in May, 1982. He obtained his licenses in Marriage and Family Therapy and Clinical Social Work in 1984 and 1985 respectively.

From 1991-1992, he did an intensive internship through the UCLA School of Medicine and Extension Program in Human Sexuality. From 2001 to 2003, he did some additional training in Business and Personal Coaching through MentorCoach, LLC.

His interests include meditation and Yoga, working out, hiking, pickleball and basketball. He is an extrovert and loves being with good friends and at the same time definitely loves his solitude. One of his biggest joys is watching his clients transform their lives to achieve what they may have previously thought of as impossible.

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