Trauma and Finding One’s True Self

Donald Winnicott describes the “true self as a sense of self based on spontaneous authentic experience, and a feeling of being alive, of having a real self.”

Wouldn’t we all like to feel that clear and connected to ourselves??

Wouldn’t we like to shed the pain of the past and live in the present with clarity and confidence?

It is possible to feel that way about ourselves.

It involves some work -the work of unearthing our past and reconnecting to our real selves.

We have to unearth our past because almost all of us have experienced some kind of childhood trauma. As Alice Miller writes “oppressions and the forcing of submission to another’s will begins during the very first weeks of an infant’s life,” and it is that experience which is trauma. Children are naturally happy and curious beings, but their inner and outer life is strongly directed by their parent’s desires.  (The parent desires for smiles or obedience, for ‘being good’, for not crying, etc. often supersede the child’s own sense of self.) It is this ambiance which creates the loss of a child’s sense of self. It is this that needs to be worked through with the help of a sensitive and caring guide.

Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and unique history of our childhood. – Alice Miller

Unsticking one’s self from one’s past is not easy but it is the way to go. Knowledge of the influence of one’s past on one’s life in the present opens the door to choice (and control). Knowing this is freeing as it allows for more objective and intellectual control of one’s decisions.

Having a good guide in this process of unearthing (the past) and connecting to the present makes all the difference.   A good guide for allowing this process of change to take place, as Irvin Yalom describes, “ensues from a genuine, authentic engagement.” It is this that I have to offer you for re-claiming your true self.

By working through the issues from our past, we are able to become our authentic selves. We will then laugh with pleasure and cry with pain, have good relationships and enjoy our lives.

If you feel that your life is impacted by a past trauma, I would like to help. Please consider contacting me for a free 15-minute consultation. You can reach me by phone at (215) 317-8855, or by email at