“With ‘the care that it receives from its mother’ each infant is able to have a personal existence.”

D.W. Winnicott, 1987

We are made to connect and relate with others

We humans live and develop by the grace of being able to relate to our environment. We are social creatures. We are made to connect and develop relationships. Relationships with our environment, the other and with ourselves. And we may even assume that this ‘drive’ to connect and establish a relationship with our environment is already present at the moment of conception. The sperm and the egg have their first ‘date’ here! They try to settle in the wall of the womb of the expectant mother and then start a relationship with her.

Our first relationship

When the pregnant mother can ‘confirm’ this relationship on her part, this new life can develop and a new identity is formed. An identity that already starts at this very beginning. Becoming aware of this early beginning of this development, then makes us aware of the enormous implications that a disturbance in this first relationship can have and the impact that we now have as adults on the young (including unborn) lives of our children.

A symbiotic relationship

Our own identity and the development of our personality has been shaped and influenced by these first experiences in the relationship with our mother. A relationship that we have entered into with her whole being. Her body, her feelings, her thoughts, her emotions. For a long time, this relationship with our mother was a ‘symbiotic’ relationship. We were one together. In this phase this young life is totally dependent on the mother and it is mainly the input of the mother that determines the relationship. Everything that is going on at and around the mother at that moment influences this young life. This is where the foundation of who we become is laid. A basis that does not start with our birth, but already at the moment of conception. A beautiful documentary film In Utero has been made about this influence, which clients of the practice are asked to watch. (They will receive a personal link.)

“With ‘the care that it receives from its mother’ each infant is able to have a personal existence, and so begins to build up what might be called a continuity of being…..If maternal care is not good enough then the infant does not really come into existence, since there is no continuity of being…”

Winnicott, 1987 Source: The Primal Wound, John Firman and Ann Gila, 1997

Your right to exist

If you have experienced that you have been seen, heard, wanted, loved and cared for, then you have experienced that you have a ‘right to exist’. Winnicott calls this a continuity of being, be who you are. It is the confirmation of your right to exist. The right to live. When this right to live, to be who you are, is damaged or obstructed, it is trauma. Life then becomes survival.

De Primal Wound

With almost all clients I meet in practice, there is damage or injury to this ‘right to exist’. An injury that becomes visible in the relationship the client has with himself or with his or her environment. This relationship often turns out to be a reflection of experiences in one’s own development as a child. For example, what I hear is: “I am not heard”, “I am not seen”, “I don’t matter”, “I am not good enough”, “Someone else is more important than me”, “I feel separated, I don’t belong “.

IoPT trauma constellations

In trauma constellations, the experiences with these injuries and the survival strategies attuned to them become visible and tangible to the client as he or she faces and encounters himself in these inner entanglements with feelings, emotions and behavior that has undermined their own right to exist. Where they were once not seen and heard in who they really are, they can now face themselves and become aware that they can accept themselves and be lovingly involved in their loss and desire.

There are reasons that reason does not know

What you couldn’t do as a child then, you can do now as an adult. This way of working with the constellation methode is mainly about what is experienced in the body. Emotions, feelings and thoughts that are reflected in attitude and behavior. The body has stored the ‘data’ of these early experiences and recorded them in patterns and emotions. I see that many clients have difficulty understanding their own feelings, thoughts or emotions. And that’s because we usually don’t have conscious memories of these early experiences. At that time, the brain is not yet sufficiently developed that it can store these experiences in memories. The body can. Only talking makes no sense in therapy. To keep talking and wanting to understand is often an expression of a survival mechanism to avoid facing ourselves in our own injuries.

Search for a mirror

Every child has a legitimate need to be seen, understood, taken seriously and respected by their mother. It must have access to the mother in the first weeks and months of life, it must be able to use her, be reflected by her. The most beautiful one can illustrate this with a picture of Winnicott: the mother looks at the baby she is holding in her arms, the baby looks into its mother’s face and finds herself in it … provided the mother does indeed have the small, looks at a unique, helpless creature, and does not project onto the child her own expectations, fears, plans that she makes for the child. In the latter case, the child does not see himself in the face of his mother, but his mother who is in need. It itself is not mirrored, and it will search in vain for such a mirror in its later life.

Alice Miller, The drama of the gifted child, 1981

Practice for Psychosynthesis Amsterdam

How are you reflected in your first relationship with your mother or caregiver? Do you feel understood, taken seriously and respected? Do you experience your right to exist in who you are and what you want? Are you perhaps still looking in vain for such a mirror that reflects your loss and desires?

I cordially invite you to face yourself and meet yourself in a safe and reliable way in the practice for Psychosynthesis Amsterdam. This is possible both online and in practice. Feel free to make an appointment for an introductory meeting for Psychosynthesis guidance and / or to research your own trauma biography in an individual IoPT constellation.