Many of my clients have had their minds taken over in childhood. This situation is not one that might be reflected in a B horror movie – though there is something horrible and sad in it. Rather, it is a too often common experience from childhood of growing up with a dominant figure who infiltrates the child’s susceptible mind. Often this figure is a parent, say a father who controls the family with an iron hand and extends his will to others.
Such a father might be overly critical. A child’s experience of struggling with a teacher or receiving a poor grade may be experienced by this parent as an affront to him. And his reaction will be harsh and accusatory. In such a situation, the child’s mind and ability to think for himself is taken over and begins to function as the parent’s mind does. So whereas the parent is accusatory – “What is wrong with you?” – the child’s mind internalizes this thinking: “Something is wrong with me.” No longer is there a possibility of investigation to see what the problem was, why the child received a bad grade for example. The child thinks that there is something wrong with him; and this thinking shapes his personality and core belief in there being something essentially wrong with him.
Through our discussions, the client and I identify the process that occurred some years ago and start to think together. This is the process that didn’t happen when the client was a child: no one helped him to think. Rather someone much bigger and more influential put his thoughts into this child’s mind and set off the development of this sense of inferiority and insecurity.
The act of psychotherapy is intended to help the client, now an adult, recover his mind – to recover the ability to think for himself and in the process free himself from crippling negative core beliefs. To snatch back his mind.