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Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families
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Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  3,312 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Have you ever heard of your inner child? Well, this is the classic book that started it all.

In 1987, Charlie Whitfield's breakthrough concept of the child within--that part of us which is truly alive, energetic, creative and fulfilled--launched the inner child movement. Healing the Child Within describes how the inner child is lost to trauma and loss, and how by recovering
Paperback, 150 pages
Published April 1st 1987 by Health Communications
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Jul 31, 2013 Bryan457 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I managed to get on the same mental wavelength as the author 3 or 4 times during the book and really identify with what he was saying. The rest of the time I was lost in a fog of vague psychobabble.

The concept of the book is still quite intriguing, but the book itself did not deliver a whole lot that I could really understand and use.
Dec 13, 2015 آسية rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: مهارات
الكتاب ممتع. يتحدث عن المشاعر ويحللها بطريقة جديدة.
يمكننا الاستفادة منهر غم أن موجه للمجتمعات الغربية.

من أجمل ما توصلت اليه بهذا الكتاب أن مشاعر الخوف والغضب والخجل وما شابهها هي مشاعر للذات المزيفة بداخلنا لذلك حين نشعر بتلك المشاعر نحس بعدم تفهم مع ذاتنا الحقيقية التي تتسم بالأمل والتفاؤل.
Jan 31, 2009 Susie rated it really liked it
The was a really good book. The first few chapters were jam packed with great information. The last few chapters I found a little more difficult to read and more pscyhology heavy...

One particular part in the book that was really an a-ha moment for me was Chapter 13 Transforming. This very same thing had happened to me already so it was really refreshing to see it described as common:

*****Joe came from a troubled family. During his recovery, he was assertive and stood up to his mother who called
Chua Shuyi
Apr 23, 2016 Chua Shuyi rated it it was ok
It reads more like a personal account, someone sharing his personal experience, than a well-researched book. So there are many claims without evidence or backing up. Interesting is how he transfers ideas from alcoholism recovery to any kind of emotional struggle growing up in a family that did not give enough support. I feel the book lacked impact, or depth of ideas. While it had a breadth of ideas, it did not go into depth for any of them. I found the personal bill of rights interesting!
Dec 13, 2015 أغيد rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
ببساطة موضوع ﻻنعرفه عن أنفسنا حتى نقرأه
هناك طفل في داخل كل منّا.. وقد تأذى عبر الزمن وربما من أعز الناس عليه دون علم منه
ﻻبد أن نكون واعين بهذا الطفل
Jun 09, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-work
Excellent book about recovery from trauma. It's unfortunate that some have misused, ridiculed and misunderstood the concept.
Joseph Ranseth
Jul 22, 2012 Joseph Ranseth rated it really liked it
This book is a great read for anyone getting started on their personal journey to finding more happiness. I found it a great return to the beautiful basics of emotional healing and would recommend it to anyone wanting to understand why their life patterns, especially in relationships, are the way they are, and how to make them better.
The book is comprehensive in tools for the discovery of how our early life experiences shaped us in the behaviors and thinking we have now. It helps identify the wa
Jun 02, 2013 Amber rated it it was amazing
This book has truly withstood the test of time! It was originally released in 1986 and then revised in 2006.

While I don't really get into self help books much, if at all, this one had me entranced the entire time. Fantastic doesn't even begin to describe how amazing this book is. I will be reading it and referring to it again for years to come.

This is a book that EVERYONE needs to read from start to finish at least once in their lifetime.
Tom Britz
Jan 19, 2016 Tom Britz rated it really liked it
This book's first half dealt with describing the various ways trauma affects children, citing professional journals. It was a bit dry reading and tedious in spots. The second half dealt with treatment. Dr. Whitfield is a proponent of the various twelve step programs that are available such as the ones used by A.A. and other groups (Al-Anon, ACoA, etc.) Basically finding safe people to tell your story to.
Oct 25, 2014 Pixismiler rated it liked it
Not nearly as good as I thought it would be. Basically you read the whole book and the gist is he thinks you'll get way more out of it if you go to group therapy. Don't get me wrong, there are a few good things in here, but I was expecting blow me away amazing and I definitely did not get that.
Laura Garrett
Oct 01, 2008 Laura Garrett rated it really liked it
One of the first self help books that I read back in 1990. It helped me understand about the little girl inside me. I may have grown up on the outside but I was not grown up emotionally and this book was the beginning of that transformation.
Dec 13, 2015 Sagar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
قرآت الكتاب بناء على ترشيح سلمان العودة لمجموعة من الكتب اعجبني العنوان وقرآته.
الكتاب يحتوي مفاهيم و اساليب جيدة وان كانت موجهه بشكل خاص للمجتمعات الغربية لكن ممكن الاستفادة منها هنا ولو بتوفير الجو المناسب للابناء لكي لا يقتل الطفل داخلهم
Abo Nabil
ممتع. يتحدث عن المشاعر ويحللها بطريقة جديدة. يمكننا الاستفادة منه لأقصي مدي شيق لا استطيع وصفه رائع بكل المقاييس
Nov 26, 2016 Cat. rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Suggested for my husband to read, so I flipped through it very quickly. I remember doing the same thing about 30 years ago when my boss was losing her mind. It hasn't changed. Helped me with some of my stuff back then. I hope it helps him. Gave me a new view of some things in his past for sure.
Dec 01, 2016 Dawne rated it really liked it
Great book that has been around for a long time. Enjoyed the insights!
Dec 04, 2016 Samy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Life is a process, force or flow that lives us. We do not live it. When we surrender to it i.e it flow with its process, we become co-creators.

Remembering, forgiving, surrending

We can use our bodies ego minds to reinforce our seperation and suffering or we can use them as vehicules for our higher self to return home.

The repetition compulsion. It comes from unsolved internal conflict that we carry in our unconcious, the place within us of which are not usually aware.

So I'm practicing recognizin
The child within looks at the impact of early development on our psyche, specifically our child within which is analogous to concepts such as inner child and the real self. Whitfield covers the conditions that stifle our child within which leads to the myriad of suffering and difficulties we face in later life. There is particular attention paid to grief and loss work as core to healing, which from my experience is accurate.

Good introductory book for those just coming to awareness of their own
Rhonda Rae Baker
It doesn't matter where you came from or what has happened to you in life, this book has the power to transform who you are.

I was taken back by the wisdom and insight to such an extreme that I read it twice, back to back, and will be reading it again in the near future. Almost every page is marked in some way and I have a plethora of inspiration for not only my own life but for sharing to encourage other's.

Seeking healing from wounds of childhood isn't the only topic discussed here. How about p
Judy B. Burford
Thanks to Charles L. Whitfield, M.D., and his book, Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, I was able to move on to a healthier way of life. When my children were teens, it became abundantly clear that some of the dysfunction I lived with as a teen was filtering into my parenting. That was the last thing I ever wanted to happen. Dr. Whitfield provides a clear and concise way to heal your inner child, the one damaged by your dysfunctional ...more
Nov 08, 2015 michiri rated it liked it
The book only gives some introduction information about the child within (You can find even more in-depth information around the web.) I was hopeful to find some strategies to heal the inner child but sadly, the author gives no more than one solution: going to the therapy to receive treatments, which is almost impossible for people like me - living in a psychology-undeveloped developing country.

I suggest people who wants to research more into the child psychology, dysfuctional families, toxic pa
Suni Jo
May 10, 2015 Suni Jo rated it liked it
Charles L. Whitfield explains the differences between one's false and real self, or inner child, in this self help book for children that grew up in dysfunctional families. Telling one's story to safe and supportive people is one way to detach from the dysfunction of the past and move into connecting with ones real self. This book gave some helpful suggestions such as following a share, check, share sequence to determine if a trusted friend is someone ready to listen to ones story. This book ...more
Any Length
Jan 23, 2015 Any Length rated it it was ok
Although there is some really good information in this book I found it incredibly difficult to read and found some of the tables to be even more difficult to understand. The frequent references inside the text did nothing to make the book easier to read.
I think if someone has a psychology degree and is used to the language used here they might have a better chance of making sense of the book.
I found I had to take the snippets that were clear to me and leave the rest for another "re-incarnation
Wannie Michelmann
Aug 21, 2013 Wannie Michelmann rated it really liked it
This is a pretty old classic. It talks about how each of us has a True self, an inner child that is spontaneous, creative and happy. However with much conditioning, from our parents, schools and religion, we inhibit that part of us. It explores many negative consequences of how we shut our true self up by traumas and dysfunctions in the family - Don't feel, Don't talk, Don't see, etc and how to heal over time, through Group Therapy (the best option), counselling, spiritual seeking, and other ...more
Aug 02, 2013 Simon rated it really liked it
A very good self-help book that is mainly aimed at adults who were children of alcoholics, but it can be used by anyone who has suffered child abuse. The main negative is a somewhat simplistic juxtaposition between a “true” and “false” self. However, the positives far outweigh the negatives. One thing that struck me strongly was the idea that the sufferers of PTSD should not be made to feel that have to rid themselves of their psychological defences (e.g. shutting down emotionally). Rather, that ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Nicky rated it really liked it
This book could've been a lot shorter. The message was good and it really helped me understand the importance of sharing our lives with other people who we trust. It also reminded me that all the emotions we feel, or hopefully feel (unless we're numb), are okay...we just have to work through them. And working through them is faster overall than if we try to ignore them, or worse, get mad at ourselves for feeling (like I used to). The thing I liked the best were the list, graphs, and figures ...more
Oct 01, 2014 Lryan rated it it was amazing
Was the first thing I ever encountered that gave me hope that I wasn't just irreparably BROKEN. There were words, people know about this, others feel the way I was feeling! Led me on a road to recovery and saved my life when I was early 20s.
Sandra M Krahn
Mar 15, 2016 Sandra M Krahn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Eye Opener

This book really helped me to understand things about myself because I've gone through almost all of what the book talked about. I realize just how much work I have to do but I understand more about myself! Thank you!!!!!
Jul 01, 2013 Livia rated it really liked it
This is really a great book. It can be a difficult read because it brings up a lot of old wounds. I'll definitely refer back to it, because sometimes you finish reading something, but you're not really 'done' with it.
Feb 24, 2015 Angela rated it liked it
This was quite the eye opener in how to deal with buried anger and pain. It also really opened my eyes to how I parent and has taught me to keep an extra eye out to make sure that I nurture my children and fulfill all of their needs :)
Aug 04, 2009 Paul rated it really liked it
This book has been very insightful. It has labeled and identified a lot of things I have felt, thought, or experienced, and it was affirming in that regard. It also had many helpful tips for recognizing, feeling, and healing from the prior messed up views of life which I had.
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Charles Whitfield is a physician who specializes in helping people who are alcoholic, chemical dependent or co-dependent, and adult children of troubled or dysfunctional families. He has also worked, and continues to work on healing his own child within.

More about Charles L. Whitfield...

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“Cermak said, “Those therapists who work successfully with this population have learned to honor the client’s need to keep a lid on his or her feelings. The most effective therapeutic process involves swinging back and forth between uncovering feelings and covering them again, and it is precisely this ability to modulate their feelings that PTSD clients have lost. They must feel secure that their ability to close their emotions down will never be taken away from them, but instead will be honored as an important tool for living. The initial goal of therapy here is to help clients move more freely into their feelings with the assurance that they can find distance from them again if they begin to be overwhelmed. Once children from chemically dependent homes, adult children of alcoholics, and other PTSD clients become confident that you are not going to strip them of their survival mechanisms, they are more likely to allow their feelings to emerge, if only for a moment. And that moment will be a start.” (58)” 9 likes
“The observer self, a part of who we really are, is that part of us that is watching both our false self and our True Self. We might say that it even watches us when we watch. It is our Consciousness, it is the core experience of our Child Within. It thus cannot be watched—at least by anything or any being that we know of on this earth. It transcends our five senses, our co-dependent self and all other lower, though necessary parts, of us.
Adult children may confuse their observer self with a kind of defense they may have used to avoid their Real Self and all of its feelings. One might call this defense “false observer self” since its awareness is clouded. It is unfocused as it “spaces” or “numbs out.” It denies and distorts our Child Within, and is often judgmental.”
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