As a clinical psychologist (now retired), I have long believed (and there is strong evidence to support this assertion) that many significant emotional issues are rooted in unprocessed powerful emotional experiences in early life. Common examples are when youth are unable to process experiences of grief and loss (death, divorce, rejection, etc.) While a certain percentage of current emotional pain can can be addressed by “changing one’s thinking” as in cognitive behavior therapy, CBT, (which has a good research track record ); there are also many emotional problems that are not ameliorated by CBT-like interventions that seek to lift us up “by our own mental boot straps.” Like many of you, I have had numerous instances were I could not talk myself out of emotional pain by changing my own thinking or even when a therapist tried to help me do so.
In this compelling book, The Portal To Your Inner World, Rich McDaniel offers a method of helping us to process what he calls “Stored Feelings” that occur when we are unable to work through and discharge painful life events at the time that they occur. They may be too stressful to talk about, or they may be confusing or incomprehensible. These Stored Feelings are related to early experiences that are typically currently outside our conscious awareness. Furthermore, current life events that feel similar, through the lens of these Stored Feelings, often engender emotional pain that is similar to what we experienced at the time of the original incident. In addition, the emotions are typically accompanied by powerful “Concluding Messages” (e.g. “you are unworthy”) that are stored along with the emotions.
Since Rich is a friend of mine, and we live in different states, he was kind enough to guide me through this process over the telephone. Beginning with some tenacious emotional issues that I could not seem to shake through cognitive means, he guided me to Stored Feelings related to early life experiences that were long forgotten. Through the process of reintegrating these experiences (and journaling about the process, which Rich strongly encouraged) these Stored Feelings lost their power to reduce the quality of my life in the present. The process also helped to dissolve the Concluding Messages that accompanied the Stored Feelings. Needless to say, I am very grateful.
This book offers many examples of the reintegration of Stored Feelings from others with whom Rich has helped. I hope that this clearly written book will help many to proceed down this path without assistance. For some, especially those whose early experiences were traumatic, professional help may be necessary. Since this is a an approach that is relatively new and not researched, the usual cautions apply. However, based on my own experience, I think this volume is compelling reading, and may well afford a new direction for readers who have tried cognitive approaches unsuccessfully. I commend this volume as a very worthwhile read.
Doug Sprenkle, Ph.D., is a retired Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy/Human Development and Family Studies, Emeritus, Purdue University, College of Health and Human Sciences, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist