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Offering Attunement – Healing for our Deep Wounds

I do a lot of work with clients that involves healing from the wounds of childhood. While there are certainly many who have tragic stories of abuse and violation in their early years, every single one of us has entered adulthood bearing the scars of childhood wounds. For those of us who, gratefully, don’t have stories of what we might call “Capital T” traumas, let me share some common examples of childhood wounds that continue to impact us and our adult relationships:

  • Being berated or scolded for making messes or mistakes
  • Being pressured to “get it right” or “do it perfectly,” receiving affirmation only when achieving or exceling
  • Receiving scorn or disdain when unable to do something well
  • Being dismissed or disregarded by a parent who perhaps favored a sibling
  • Growing up in a household with a parent who is ill or with a large number of siblings or other circumstance that led to your needs not being met consistently (or at all)

As we work with coaching clients to identify – and heal from – the impacts of these and other traumas (both “Capital T” and “little t”), a crucial step in the process is called Witnessing. Witnessing, means deep listening or attunement: listening to one’s story, seeing the pain on his or her face, witnessing the experience he or she endured and the impact it’s had on one’s life.

Imagine a little boy or girl who was consistently told he/she was too much, too moody, too emotional, perhaps by a parent who didn’t have the time or the skills to help her appropriately express her emotions and instead, just wanted to make the emotions and/or the child go away. Imagine that child having an experience of finally being listened to. Really listened to, by someone whose only desire and intent is to hear and understand. Someone whose response is compassion, validation, perhaps even tears. I can’t adequately express how powerful these three words can be in the healing process: “I hear you,” “I see you.” That is attunement.

What often happens next, in the safety that’s been created through compassionate attunement, is that our little child selves can express what may have gone unexpressed for decades, be that tears, anger, sorrow, frustration…and can receive what the little child self needed, be that acceptance, acknowledgement, or unburdening. The healing potential of this process is profound.

My friend, and one of our inner healing coaches, Betsy Leon understands very well the power of witnessing and attunement. Betsy is certified in “Narrative Informed Trauma Care” by the Allender Center at the Seattle School for Theology and Psychology. Every Fall and Spring, Betsy facilitates 8-week healing experiences that we call “Sacred Story Groups.” Each group, under Betsy’s guidance, becomes a safe community within which each participant will share a story of harm or heartache from their childhood years. Individuals write their story outside of the group and then each has a turn to read their story aloud during a group session, while Betsy and the other groups members listen, becoming attuned witnesses for one another.

Following the reading of a story, the group will engage the story, meaning each member, beginning with Betsy will share what was stirring in their heart as they listened, witnessing to their groupmate’s pain, heartache, betrayal. It is a beautiful healing moment to look up from one’s own story and see a handful of compassionate and loving faces looking back. Groupmates typically experience a sense of reverence at being invited into one another’s lives in such a moving and personal way.

I invite you to consider joining Betsy this Fall and experience the power of witnessing and attunement! You can learn more about our Sacred Story Groups at this link and by watching the video introduction there: https://youaremadenew.com/sacred-story-groups/

You can learn more about Betsy here: https://youaremadenew.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/Betsy-Bio-2024.pdf

Copyright 2024, De Yarrison

Denise (De) Yarrison guides women along the journey to spiritual and emotional healing, through inner healing coaching, deliverance prayer, and healing retreats. She is consistently awed at how very present our Lord is and has witnessed, again and again, the healing power of His deep Love for each one of us.

“I am humbled and privileged to walk alongside my sisters in Christ, to be invited into their stories and life experiences. I pray we will each know – really claim in our bones - how deeply, unconditionally, and extravagantly we are loved by God our Father. May we open ourselves to His love and allow it to change our lives!” – De

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