Stress from childhood
My client was a senior manager in a construction company. He came to me because he was getting more and more stressed. It was affecting his work, and it was beginning to show. He could nut understand why he was getting stressed so badly. His job was high powered, he had been doing it for many years, he was successful and had a great future. He was a big tough guy in an industry full of big tough guys. And yet, something was really getting to him. He not only had stress, he was getting distressed.
I started trying to find out exactly what he meant by "stress". He told me there was only one thing worrying him. He had personally championed bid for a big government contract, and had got it. That contract was going to make the company truckloads of money. If they could pull it off. It was going OK, but as it ramped up, he could see shortages of key components, and of the skilled labour needed. He worried he might not be able to source these. Somehow, this was really winding him up.
Stress from childhood feelings
He was not able to identify any specific thing about this contract that was different from any other contract. He had thought about it himself, but could find no explanation. I asked him, "How do you feel about the problems with that contact? How it make you feel inside?" I encouraged him to go inside, to allow the feelings to come out.
This immediately brought out a whole lot of unhappy memories. He was not close to his stepfather. His mother left his father and married his father's best friend, my client's stepfather. My client was distressed that he in fact had been named for this other man. The memories caused him to get more distressed and he started crying. His emotions were clearly right at the surface so I decided to go for a metaphor replacement therapy.
Exploring his feelings with Metaphor Therapy
I asked him "what are you feeling right now? What is it like?" He said it was like a ball about the size of a fist. A heavy weight. Black, cold, not smooth. He said it was all screwed up and smashed. It was dark and solid. I got him to think about how he could change that thing. He said that when he could get rid of it he could forget all that stuff.
I got into think about that ball. He said that he was carrying it around with him. And got him to make it bigger and smaller and to get it to change. It became full of colours and green. Eventually I got it to go away. But he was still upset.
I explored this remaining feeling. He told me that when he was a child his parents broke up. His mother left his father. She broke off all communication with him. The complete break meant that he was not allowed to see his nana anymore. He loved his grandma, and she was taken away from him. This was what it was all about.
Being unable to have his nana. This was the source of the feelings of unfairness, of the unhappiness, of the feeling of being cheated and deprived. This was what the uncertainty and loss of control of the contract was about. The feelings about the contract were triggering memories of the same helplessness. Every time he thought about the contract going wrong, it brought up those ancient feelings of despair and loss. The current stress was actually rooted in childhood.
Healing his inner child
So I did inner child work on his feeling about being taken away from his nana. I got him to go back to that little boy. He comforted the boy. I told him to tell that little boy that it was not his fault. "Tell him he did nothing wrong." He changed the boy's feelings and led him out of that place. Then I got him to watch over the boy as he grew up, and finally reintegrated and reconciled the adult and child.
I think this is the first time I've done inner child work with a man. But the results were spectacular. He said "I felt a great weight lifting off me. That feeling just isn't there anymore."