Home is where we start from. This is one of the main premises of the work of the hugely influential child psychologist Donald Winnicott. For many of us, by the time we reach adulthood, our connection with our inner child – the part of us that still feels like a child and has childlike needs – is tenuous at best.
Why? Our modern lives are busy, often overwhelmingly so, and we are often compelled to grow up too fast and so discount our inner child’s basic needs for nurturing and safety. How frequently do we get an opportunity to take some time and space to properly check in with ourselves, explore what’s really going on for us, deep down? And yet this kind of simple self-care is so important for our wellbeing.
Most of us maintain dozens of relationships – with parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers, colleagues… hundreds of busy interactions with other people every single day of our lives. But how many of these moments nurture our deeper selves and feed our fundamental need for security, belonging and connection with other human beings?
We all have thoughts and feelings that we fear to share with our loved ones. Sometimes it just gets to be too much and we’re compelled to reach out to someone who is not a part of our everyday life but who understands and cares about us nonetheless. Until we’re ready to create a society that has this kind of care and understanding built right into its fabric, counselling provides an important and life-enhancing experience of support during the more challenging chapters of our journey through life.