The first time I saw a therapist, I was 5 years old. I was a nervous wreck because my mother was a narcissistic rageaholic, but of course, my mother thought there was something wrong with me. After speaking with both my mother and me, the psychiatrist said to me, "Tell your mother to stop yelling at you." I remember so clearly what I thought: You tell her. I'm only 5 years old and she doesn't listen to me. And my next thought was, I can do a better job than you. That's the moment I decided to become a psychologist.
The next time I saw a therapist was when I was 13—another psychiatrist—because my mother still believed there was something wrong with me. Dr. Cassidy and I spent many hours playing pick-up sticks. What a waste of time and money.
For my next trip to therapy, I was a very unhappy young woman in my early 20s. I spent four and a half years, four days a week, on the couch in psychoanalysis. Then I tried many other forms of psychotherapy—Gestalt, Jungian, Transactional Analysis, Humanistic–Existential. I joined spiritual groups, had a guru, read voraciously, and attended many different kinds of workshops.
Not once, in any therapy, book, or workshop, did anyone tell me that I was responsible for my own feelings. Not once did anyone show me how to take responsibility for my feelings or how to stop abandoning myself and how to start loving myself. Looking back, I'm astounded at this truth.
My life completely changed 32 years ago when the inspiration for Inner Bonding came into my mind and the mind of Dr. Erika Chopich, my co-creator. Our clients tell us the same things every day, things like, "I've been in self-development for nearly 20 years, but I have to say, this is the most effective method I've ever used."
Or, "I worked on myself for 30 years. I spent huge amounts of money on counseling and therapy. But I've only really begun to heal through Inner Bonding. Typical therapy focuses on the wounded self rather than on self-love. I believe for me that's why Inner Bonding is helping me heal more deeply."
I've come to realize that none of my therapists ever told me how to love myself or how to take responsibility for my feelings because they didn't know how. They, like me, didn't even know that they were responsible for their feelings and for loving themselves. In my first 17 years of working with clients, I didn't know any of this either.
After all my therapy and training in school to be a psychologist, I had no idea that it was my job to learn to love myself and take responsibility for my own feelings. And I didn't know that this was the secret to healing.
Amazingly, even in graduate school to get my master’s and doctorate in psychology, they never taught us anything about self-responsibility for feelings and self-love. Just as doctors in medical school are not taught about what creates physical health, therapists—at the time I was in school—weren't taught about what creates emotional health and healing.
The secret to emotional health and emotional freedom is within you. It's self-love and acceptance. It's taking responsibility for your own feelings. And it's totally up to you to make it happen. So, empower yourself. You're the only one who can.