Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families (Recovery Classics Edition)

Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families (Recovery Classics Edition)


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Dr. Whitfield provides a clear and effective introduction to the basic principles of recovery. This book is a modern classic, as fresh and useful today as it was more than a decade ago when first published. Here, frontline physician and therapist Charles Whitfield describes the process of wounding that the Child Within (True Self) experiences and shows how to differentiate the True Self from the false self. He also describes the core issues of recovery and more. Other writings on this topic have come and gone, while Healing the Child Within has remained a strong introduction to recognizing and healing from the painful effects of childhood trauma. Highly recommended by therapists and survivors of trauma.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780932194404
Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/01/1987
Series: Recovery Classics Series
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 40,338
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Charles L. Whitfield, M.D., is a physician, psychotherapist, and internationally recognized expert on mental illness, behavioral problems, and recovery. He has been on the faculty of the Rutgers University Summer Institute of Alcohol and Drug Studies from 1978 to 2003, and in private practice of medicine and psychotherapy since 1976. He has been voted by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America every year since 1994. He lives in Atlanta, GA.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Discovering Our Child Within

The concept of the Child Within has been a part of our world culture for at least two thousand years. Carl Jung called it the 'Divine Child' and Emmet Fox called it the 'Wonder Child.' Psychotherapists Alice Miller and Donald Winnicott refer to it as the 'true self.' Many in the field of alcoholism and other chemical dependence call it the 'inner child.'

The Child Within refers to that part of each of us which is ultimately alive, energetic, creative and fulfilled; it is our Real Self—who we truly are.
With our parents' unknowing help and society's assistance, most of us deny our Inner Child. When this Child Within is not nurtured or allowed freedom of expression, a false or co-dependent self emerges. We begin to live our lives from a victim stance, and experience difficulties in resolving emotional traumas. The gradual accumulation of unfinished mental and emotional business can lead to chronic anxiety, fear, confusion, emptiness and unhappiness.

Denial of the Child Within and the subsequent emergence of a false self or negative ego are particularly common among children and adults who grew up in troubled families, such as those where chronic physical or mental illness, rigidity, coldness or lack of nurturing were common.

Yet, there is a way out. There is a way to discover and to heal our Child Within and to break free of the bondage and suffering from relying on our false self. That is what this book is about.

©2008. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Healing the Child Within by Charles L. Whitfield. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street , Deerfield Beach , FL 33442.

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Healing the Child within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Until a close friend pointed this out to me, I never realized how empty I felt about my life and how bitter I have become toward the world. I noticed that there was defensiveness in everything I did and was spitting out sarcastic, critical, and sometimes even very angry and hurtful remarks at people left, right, and center. Then I realized. Where did it all go? The moments when I truly felt how beautiful some things, music, and people are. The trust and care I had for other people. The utter appreciation of life that I felt when I was little. Where did it all go? 'Healing the Child within' was a book that helped me figure this out. I looked back at my life, my history, and my childhood and realized that although I was never abused and never had any serious trauma, life keeps chipping away at us from a very early age. As this happens, our hearts begin to close little by little. It even learns to attack in order to protect itself from potential danger. Even though I still have lots of psychological work to do, I have been learning to open my heart again. It is scary but I can assure you that it is worthwhile. I started with this book and I think it is a great place to start. It is highly recommended. I now have another fantastic book I really like regarding this topic. It is called the 'Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato. It explains all of these things in a more simple way and places this process in the larger context of human development and evolution. It is absolutely awesome! I would highly recommend this one by Sato as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book with many important insights. It explains how our experiences in our life (especially childhood) shape who we are today. It explains the basic ideas of object relations and attachment theory in a way that everyone can understand. I really recommend this book to anyone ready to change their ways. It will help get rid of some of your psychological baggage from the past that you didn't even know existed. If you want a book that is less technical and dry but explains these things very well, read 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato. Its also very easy to read and exceptionally well written.
Smiley-in-the-Sunshine More than 1 year ago
one of the best books ever written, in my humble opinion, about the codependent tendencies of adult children of alcoholics, drug addicts, abusive parents, etc.-- used in training supportive psycotherapists in my younger professional days-- is as relevant and true today as in the 1980s, I refer to it for my own personal use and recommend it to anyone who inquires of this area of treatment-- compassionate and factual, easy-to-use-- keep it in stock at my house for suitable gift-giving-- BIGGEST VISUAL ASSET: table outlining emotionally healthy behavioral markers, codependent markers, and signs of progress from one (ususally unhealthy to improvement) to the other- a person can chart his/her journey and know the therapy is working, even in small ways-- very important this not be obscure or mysterious!
Ealasaid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wasn't terribly impressed with this book, but it did give me some food for thought. It's very compact, written concisely, and in a dry, non-engaging style. It was written 20 years ago and feels kind of dated.
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Very helpful!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book shows how emotional child abuse can lead to adult depression and anxiety- and teaches adults how to overcome their childhood trauma so that they can fully enjoy their lives. It's an excellent book, and one that would be helpful even to those who don't consider themselves 'mental'!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been in therapy for two years because I came from a dysfunctional family. I read this after one year of counseling and it was a tremendous help to me. I even gave it to my therapist to read. He said it helped him to help me. I would recommend this book to anyone who has been through any kind of abuse. Also, purchase A Gift to Myself. It will prove to be a wonderful adjunct to Healing the Child Within. It's important to recover your true self. Good Luck!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having to deal with healing the Child Within myself, I found this book to be real inspiration. You have to read it twice. Once to begin to understand who the Child Within is and why he/she is so important. The second time to begin to apply the steps to you life. Although it mentions alcoholism and drugs, this therapy applies to every child who never had his/her needs met. It truely opens a door to a whole new life and the choice is the reader's as to whether they enter. For me the rewards are beyond description.