Friday, October 20, 2017

Psych Info: Healing Inner Wounds

Psych Info: HEALING INNER WOUNDS  

 Q. A friend of mine is seeing a counselor and she has been taught to identify her inner “wounded child,” her inner “critical parent” and her inner “adult.” This seems like a very helpful way to understand yourself. I often feel very hurt by what others say and do. Is this my “wounded child”? What do I need to do to heal this part of me? Where can I learn more about this approach?

A. There are many theories about personality and about therapeutic change. Many of these theories identify the broken part of us as the wounded child. Transactional Analysis was one of the earliest theories to do so. Dr. Eric Berne noticed that each of his patients moved in and out of various ego states. (An ego state is an identifiable system of feelings, behavior and physical reactions.) Dr. Berne identified three ego states that we all have and need: the Parent, the Adult and the Child. This is a very helpful way to identify the patterns in your own inner struggles and can help you heal your wounded child.      
         
The Parent ego state holds all the messages we have received from our parents and have internalized. This includes all the shoulds, oughts, expectations and criticisms from our parents and parent figures as well as all the nurturing messages they gave us. Thus, the parent ego state includes the “critical parent” and also the “nurturing parent.”

The Adult ego state is reason, logic. “Nothing but the facts.” It contains the facts about our day-to-day life and represents adult ways of dealing with life.
         
The Child ego state is our emotions and wants both now and through out our lives. It is the storehouse of all our past hurts and it is also the area in which we are free, spontaneous, and rebellious. Thus, the Child ego state contains both a “wounded child” and a “playful, free child.” 
         
No one has a perfect childhood. We all carry inner hurts into adulthood though we may not know this. We coped with these hurts by repressing them and they pop up later.

When we are hurt as very young children we cannot cope with our overwhelming emotions. We learn to freeze inwardly, to block out feelings, thoughts and memories, in order to survive. We are easily hurt as adults when something reminds us of a past hurt because this reservoir of pain has been tapped.
         
The wounded Parent copes by fighting. To ward off pain or ownership of problems the wounded Parent blames others. The wounded Adult has learned to flee and will avoid close relationships.
         
When we are in our whole Child we are spontaneous and playful. When we are in our whole Adult we behave as reasonable contented adults and we are interested in having meaningful intimate relationships. When we are in our whole Parent we will be very nurturing of ourselves and others.
         
Often our wounded parts are at war with each other. For example our wounded Parent may be critical of our wounded Child. You can help yourself by identifying which ego state you are in at any given time. When you become aware you are in one of your wounded ego states, tap into the whole nurturing Parent within and comfort yourself. This means no matter how childish your wounded Child is, you will comment from your nurturing Parent in a supportive, comforting way. 
         
For further ideas about healing the inner child read these classic books “I’m OK, You’re OK" by Eric Berne, M.D. and Your Inner Child of the Past by Hugh Missildine, M.D.  Counseling can also help. Resolving buried issues from the past often requires professional help.

A Christian counselor might use Transactional Analysis to help a client understand inner conflicts but would also encourage a Christian client to know God and turn to him for help and healing.

“Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

Blessings, Dottie



Thursday, October 19, 2017

LIVING WITH PAIN

 Q.  I’ve been suffering with chronic pain for six months. Medication relieves the pain some but the side effects of the medication stop me from using very much of it. My doctors have told me to remain as active as I can and “live with the pain.” Can you suggest anything that would help me do this?

A. There are a number of things you can do that will help you learn to live with the pain or better yet lessen or end the pain. The most important one is to develop a positive attitude. Our thoughts have a profound effect on our moods and on our pain.

Herbert Benson, M.D. in his book Timeless Healing cites the placebo effect as evidence of the power of our thoughts. Patients believe sugar pills will alleviate their pain and their belief makes this happen. A research study showed that patients with chronic pain were more likely to be handicapped, no matter the severity of their pain, if they believed pain indicated impairment. In other words, those who believed pain and disability were always linked became more crippled. When patients focused their minds on thoughts of being active and well, even though in pain, their health improved. 

Andrew Weil in his book Spontaneous Healing says the psychic aspect of pain can be modified by hypnotherapy, guided imagery, meditation and acupuncture. He also suggests that deep breathing exercises can help. Similarly, the book Nutritional Healing, a huge reference book, lists many of the same procedures and includes also biofeedback, chiropractic and more. It suggests that the physical and psychological can be intertwined. So for example a physical reduction of pain may decrease anxiety and improve outlook. The mind can also be used to relax muscles and effect other physical changes that reduce pain.
         
How can you do this? Notice what you say to yourself about your pain. Thoughts such as “I can’t stand this pain” Or “I’m never going to feel any better” can cause you to tense up, causing more pain. Thoughts such as “What did I do to cause this?” or “Why is God punishing me?” are common to most of us but can lead to guilty anguish about something you didn’t cause.  Pain is not a punishment for something we’ve done.

Express your feelings - your fears, anxiety, and anger about what has happened to you.. When we express feelings we feel relief. Write about your feelings and then let it go. Distract yourself from the pain. Focus on something other than your symptoms. Focus on what you can still do, rather than on what you’re unable to do. Listen to music, watch TV, work a crossword puzzle. 

Practice relaxation exercises. Use your imagination to keep your mind off your pain and to help you relax. Visualize a peaceful scene. See yourself in this scene and use all your senses to notice specific details such as a soft breeze, a butterfly, puffy white clouds. Learning relaxation exercises reduces the tension in your body. Concentrate on deep breathing and letting go. 

Use your faith to help you.  Meditation and prayer will relax you. The Psalms can comfort you. Ask God for help, healing and peace of mind.
         
If your chronic pain has isolated you from family and friends and from activities you enjoy, make it a goal to get involved again. You may notice your pain less if you’re out doing things. 
         
Exercise as much as you can. Due to the pain, many sufferers avoid physical activity.  This leads to a loss of strength and flexibility which can lead to depression. Gentle exercise will help decrease pain and strengthen muscles giving you greater mobility and independence. 

The responses of family and friends to your chronic pain can add to your problems. If your family misunderstands your pain, they may minimize or even dismiss it. They may not believe it’s real. Their seeming lack of support may lead to hurt or angry feelings and to depression. 

The opposite response - overprotection, also has its problems. When family and friends coddle and baby someone with chronic pain, the sufferer may become more dependent and more disabled. Talk with family and friends and tell them specifically what kind of support you need.

If you need help putting these ideas into practice, consider joining a group for people with chronic pain.

Focusing on positive thoughts in the midst of pain is not easy. The key is to monitor your thoughts and don’t dwell on how bad you feel.  Acknowledge your illness or pain but think about other things most of the time. We can’t control what happens to us but we can learn to control our thoughts.

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 NASB

Blessings, Dottie





Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the eighth section of Psalm 119 – the longest chapter and the longest Psalm in the Bible. There are 8 different terms referring to Scripture used through out. These are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances. I'm journaling through this Psalm and have found it very meaningful.

Heth. 

57 The Lord is my portion;
I have promised to keep Your words.

Father, You are the lover of my soul,
I promise to keep close to you and keep your words.

58 I sought Your favor with all my heart;
Be gracious to me according to Your word.

Father, I seek you with all my heart, most of the time. Help me give my all to you.
Be kind and gracious to me as your word promises.

59 I considered my ways
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.

Father, I think about my purpose now in life and seek your direction
I am studying your Word daily.
 
60 I hastened and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.

Father, I hurry and don’t linger
To obey Your commandments.

61 The cords of the wicked have encircled me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.

Father, an evil world view had trapped my world,
But I am now wrapped up in your your law, your church, and your love.

62 At 
midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You
Because of Your righteous ordinances.

Father, I give thanks to you every time I wake up during the night.
Thank you for your righteous laws and your righteous character.

63 I am a companion of all those who fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.

Father, I am friends with those who fear and love You,
And the true believers who keep your commands.

64 The earth is full of Your loving kindness, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.

Father, This world is full of Your unfailing love,
Teach me your commands and your ways.

Blessings, Dottie


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

5. REASONS TO BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

I’m continuing a series of blog posts with my sister Betty Haynie about what we believe. Our thoughts may be helpful to those who are uncertain about God. Betty wrote down her beliefs in detail several years ago. I’ll post her thoughts monthly and add my thoughts and beliefs to each one. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes.

WHY I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Betty Haynie
I believe the Holy Spirit lives within our hearts once we have accepted Christ as our Savior. He is the God that never leaves us nor forsakes us; the great Comforter who brings peace and joy.


The Holy Spirit is known as the Comforter. His role is to operate in time and space, but without the physical limitations of a body. His role extends through out all time so He can be with each person who accepts Jesus as Lord. It is at this time that the Holy Spirit enters into the new believer’s heart and becomes their Comforter.

From the time one accepts Jesus as Savior, he or she is a new person and the Holy Spirit is his or her guide and constant companion on the rest of life’s journey. As a coat cannot wave its “arms” on command, without a “body” on the inside to help it move, neither can a Christian function in Christ-like ways without the Holy Spirit on the inside directing his/her steps and activities from that moment on.

Bill Bright, in his book Blessed Child puts it this way:
“Everything in the Christian life involves the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ, to lead us into all truth, to convict us of sin, and to draw us to the Savior. We must be born of the Spirit. Only through the enabling of the Spirit can a person understand the Word of God and live under its power.”

Having had a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit on May 20, 1990, I can absolutely verify that the Holy Spirit is real. He came into my heart that day and I have not been the same since. I am a new creature, free from the sins of my past, (and present and future), free from all guilt, free from the burden of worry. The peace, joy and amazing love, through this grace of God fills my soul to overflowing.

The Holy Spirit is within each believer continuously, day and night, whether sought after or not; no matter what happens He is there guiding, protecting, directing the steps of the would-be righteous. He encourages us in every-thing that is of God - reading the Word, attending church, worshiping, praying, volunteering for church outreach or missions activities or any and all acts of kindness in our every day walk.

He is also there to remind us of our human, but “not-so-wonderful” attributes, especially our attitudes or tendencies, such as a short fuse with our kids or mates – or the guy who cuts you off on the highway! He is friend, advisor, assistant, comrade, instructor, - even a nuisance when you have your mind set on some counter-productive activity or mission (such as revenge or getting even!) He is a blessing beyond measure for all of God’s people.

THE MANIFEST PRESENCE OF GOD EXCEEDS OUR EXPECTATIONS WHEN THE HEART IS TRULY SEEKING GOD.

God is in control, and I am on His side, and that means: ALL IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!!!  How’s YOUR soul today? 

“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Blessings, Betty

WHY I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Dottie Parish

I love how Betty put it; "The Holy Spirit’s role is to operate in time and space, but without the physical limitations of a body. And a coat cannot wave its 'arms' on command, without a 'body' on the inside to help it move." The Holy Spirit is a great Comfort and Power for true believers.

Betty reported she had a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit on May 20, 1990. I also had a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit two months prior to hers - on March 18, 1990, and I, too, can absolutely verify that the Holy Spirit is real! The Holy Spirit led me in a variety of new directions.

For one, along with great joy and wonder at discovering God is real, I also felt great grief and sadness that I had turned my back on God and on his church for decades. I prayed for forgiveness and decided to make amends for this by giving a financial contribution to cover a small offering I might have given over 35 years. I also became more aware of others needs and more giving to others. The Spirit gave me an incredible lightness of being at times and great joy.

Over the years the Holy Spirit has carried out in me many of the activities Betty describes – restraining my need to control others, reining in my anger, and mostly feeding my soul. Two major leadings of the Holy Spirit impacted my life. In 1996 as we helped start a Christian Counseling Center at the church I felt God’s call to start The Third Option – a group that is designed to help couples with marriage problems. In organizing the Third Option I felt like I’d jumped off a cliff. It was so scary and beyond anything I’d done in the past. The Third Option helped many people with their marriages but it also taught me and grew me and ministered to me and led to many friendships. M and I led this program together and it blessed our marriage. We continued in this in two locations from 1996 to 2007. And we turned the two groups over to others to continue. The Holy Spirit also nudged me to write a book about changing churches. This, too, was a leap of faith and taught me much.

More important than a special call on your life to do something is the daily awareness of the presence of God and the comfort and assurance that gives you.

The Holy Spirit changed the disciples dramatically, too. Prior to Jesus ascending to heaven he told the disciples Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” Acts 1:4-5, 8 

After Jesus left them the disciples and followers, 120 men and women, prayed continually and on the day of Pentecost they were filled with the Spirit. This small group of ordinary people turned the world upside down. Following this these previously fearful men were bold and powerful. There is no limit to their hopes or their resolve. Read Acts Chapters 1- 4 to get the picture of this miraculous event and of the changes in the disciples as a result.

 “With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and abundant grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33

As a result of this small group of Holy Spirit empowered men and women, within a century half the then-known world came to Christ. 

Verses about receiving the Holy Spirit are thrilling to all true believers. Are you inspired by them? “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” Acts 1:8  These are the words of Jesus! Seek him and he will fill your heart with his joyful spirit. 

Blessings, Dottie

Watch for the next Reasons to Believe post on WHY I BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION in late October by Betty and Dottie





Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PSYCH INFO: CHILD WITH NIGHTMARES NEEDS UNDERSTANDING

Q. My four year old daughter has occasional nightmares. She will wake up crying and calling for me. When I go to her it is obvious she is terrified by whatever she has dreamed. Sometimes she will tell part of her dream, that a tiger was chasing her, for example. (I tried to convince her there was no tiger there, but she wouldn't believe this.) Often she remembers the nightmare the next day and seems upset. What is the best way to handle her fearfulness? What causes nightmares?

A. Dreams are messages to us from our unconscious. They help us solve a problem. A nightmare is an urgent message about something troubling us. Although some people are rarely aware of dreaming, everyone dreams four or five times each night. Dreams help us integrate the big and little problems or feelings we face on a daily basis. They help us stay asleep - except when they are nightmares.

The dream or nightmare is a metaphor for some feeling or conflict we have experienced the previous day. It may have more than one meaning and may also refer to conflicts or traumas in the past. Children often have nightmares when they are angry with a parent or a parent is angry with them. Hence the tiger might represent angry feelings. 
    
A dream is a picture of our feelings. It is not logical or rational. It also is not direct. It teaches us in the same way a story does and is as creative as any story ever told. Some early American Indian tribes taught their children to share their dreams every day. The Senoi Indians of Malaysia also used dreams in their culture. They were nonviolent, had no crime, no major family disharmony, no mental illness and no police force, perhaps for this reason! They resolved their dream conflicts rather than acting them out.
    
When your child has a nightmare it is important to comfort her until she is calmed down.  Respect your child's fear; don't dismiss it, ridicule it or punish it. A book titled Nightmare Help by Anne Sayre Wiseman details a fascinating approach to children's nightmares. 

She would suggest that the child ask the tiger not to come any more tonight because everyone needs their sleep. The book teaches how to help children face their fears and master them. This involves having the child draw the nightmare. Drawing it is easier for some children than telling it.  Also, details may be omitted verbally but included in a picture. Either drawing or telling someone the dream helps make the inner conflict conscious. And this leads to mastery.
    
The author emphasizes respecting the child's need to feel safe and then encouraging him or her to reenter the dream and find solutions to the problem posed in the dream. "Close your eyes and see yourself getting help. What do you see?"
    
Since there may be some stress in the parent-child relationship, your child may not be willing to work on her dream with you. The problem depicted in the dream may have to do with you! Don't press her to talk about it or to draw a picture of it if she doesn't want to do so. Also do not offer meanings for her dream. Listen carefully, instead, to any meaning she suggests. If your child has frequent nightmares and the ideas in this column or in the book don't relieve them, I recommend family counseling. Many pastors are trained in counseling or could refer you to a Christian counselor.

“All your sons shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13

Blessings, Dottie





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

God’s Will, Change and Letting Go of Stuff

God surprised us this year! Our life has changed dramatically. My husband and I just began a new chapter in our life. After living in family homes all our life we have moved to a retirement community. This is a surprising and unexpected decision as we’d always said we wanted to live in our home ‘til the end of our life. I wrote a book called Changing Churches published in 2012. Now I could write a book called Changing Houses! 

We had not thought of moving, yet I prayed in my journal on January 1, 2017 “Father, let me live more simply in the coming year.” Also on January 10th I wrote “Let me know what you want me to do at this point in my life. Guide me in getting rid of stuff and in leaning on you.”  Be careful what you pray for!

The decision to move had to be God inspired as we made the decision out of the blue and both of us felt good about it. (Most of the time.)

Well, if you decide to go into a retirement community you HAVE to get rid of stuff big time. So for the last four months – from April 21 to August 31st we got rid of 50% of our belongings. This is no exaggeration. It has been quite an interesting process of letting go. And it has mostly felt good.

Of course I let go of clothes that no longer fit me properly. Why do we delay this when we have lots of closet space? We weeded out every category of belonging. It never occurred to me before this that we didn’t need four or five casserole dishes, or we didn’t need to keep a set of 36 glasses we never really liked. It never occurred to me we didn’t need ten individual wooden salad bowls when we only used them when eating alone.

I was surprised to realize how much stuff we had. For example we had 15 lamps and used them all in our former house. We let go of four of these (our new house has fewer windows so we still need many lamps). We also had twelve small rugs to wipe your feet on at entries. We kept six.

Some adaptation is required with any change and especially when you move to a new home. Usually a new place is arranged differently. Well, I discovered the new place has only two drawers in the kitchen. My former kitchen has eleven drawers!! So…I’ve had to adapt. I made sewing kit out of a very sturdy box and things fit in their perfectly! Similarly, I made First Aid kit to hold band aids, gause, ointments,and so forth using a sturdy I-Pad box.  

I enjoyed giving away things that we could not take with us. I had friends over for lunch and gave away several vases and two pitchers. Another friend is now enjoying my Precious Moments figures. We provided some furniture for our grandchildren’s college apartments, and for our daughter and a missionary couple. And a neighbor loved a pair of my pajamas and my ivy plants growing in water. It felt great to have someone else enjoy the use of these items. Good Will also received many items from us!

We no longer need so much stuff, nor do we need such a big space. We have used our house to entertain and to help a few people over the years – using all the finished basement space for wedding party guests twice and for storing missionary furniture. We are so glad we could do this.

God led us to our last house and blessed us with it. I’m convinced he led us to our current home and we already feel blessed to be here. It is especially freeing to me as the detail person in the family. I have so much less to take care of now. I can be more relaxed and more involved with others. I believe that’s what God wants for now.

Blessings, Dottie

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21 NIV


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the seventh section of Psalm 119 – the longest chapter and the longest Psalm in the Bible. There are 8 different terms referring to Scripture used through out. These are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances. I continue to meditate and journal on this amazing Psalm.

Zayin. 

49 Remember the word to Your servant,
In which You have made me hope.

Dear Father, Remember your promise to me, I’ve been rejoicing in You for many years – your word gives me hope and joy.

50 This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me.

Father, You are my comfort in every trial and affliction, big and small,
When I’m down Your Word lifts me up and fills me with your Spirit.

51 The arrogant utterly deride me,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.

Father, the arrogant world derides my belief in you and love for you,
But I hold fast to my belief in your word, law and promises.

52 I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O Lord,
And comfort myself.

Father, I do remember your ordinances from of old. But do I really think about them much? The Ten Commandments are sure needed in our culture where killing and sexual acting out is rampant and people have NO God. It’s sad, Lord. I do know and study your commandments. Help me grow in living these and especially when I fail to keep them. Your Word is a comfort to me. Your Word is Truth.

53 Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked,
Who forsake Your law.

Dear Father, I am very upset about the wickedness in our culture and around the world in many places. My country used to know your law. Now they have forsaken it and forsaken you.

54 Your statutes are my songs
In the house of my pilgrimage.

Dear Father, Your statutes are my songs – I love to think of this. Trust and obey – When we walk in the light. We sing songs from your Word in my church, my house of pilgrimage.

55 O Lord, I remember Your name in the night,
And keep Your law.

Dear Father, My Lord and Savior, I recall your name at night as well as during the day,
And I cherish and keep your Word.

56 This has become mine,
That I observe Your precepts.

Father, your Word has become my inspiration,
I follow your precepts. Keep me close.

Blessings, Dottie