Our Personal Foundation
I believe there are three items that are important in regard to our personal foundation: our emotions, our personality development, and our attachment. These three items each play a vital role in each of us achieving our ultimate level of mental/emotional/physical health as adults. Therefore, it is vital that we understand how our biological and environmental surroundings directly affect our understanding of our own emotions. Certain regions of our brains develop early in life that play a role in distress, excitement, and rage - all of which we display starting at very young ages. Social relationships are also said to help set the stage for the development of a rich variety of emotions. For example, a toddler who grows up in a very laid back family, with limited arguing and a tendency to develop a lighthearted attitude about the struggles of life is likely to grow up as less distressed than another toddler who possibly grew up in a home where there was a lot of quarreling or yelling among others in the home.
Personality development is important because it is what often sets the stage for a child to trust or not trust others, as well as to develop a healthy feeling of being independent. Infants learn to trust when they are cared for in a consistent, warm manner and if the infant is not well fed and kept warm on a consistent basis, a sense of mistrust is likely to develop and be carried on throughout the rest of that individual’s adult life. Independence is also seen as a very important stage of development in the second year of life and sets the stage for an infant’s mental/motor development. It’s during this stage that a parent who consistently overprotects their child by criticizing the toddler’s accidents (wetting, soiling, spilling, breaking, etc) that they can cause the child to develop an excessive sense of shame and doubt about their ability to control themselves and the world around them - which can seriously hamper that toddler in their adult life and future development as well.
Lastly, I find attachment to be extremely important when it comes to our foundation because an infant’s sense of trust (that they gain from the physical comfort and sensitive care of their primary caregivers) ends up being the foundation for their attachment and also sets the stage for a lifelong expectation that the world. It is because of these facts that as a counselor, I strive to better understand each of my client’s backgrounds by asking them inquiring questions about how they attached to their primary caregivers as children, how they were punished/rewarded, how they learned to express their emotions and to what level they felt that they achieved independence.
When you seek out a counselor for your own issues, try to find someone who will alter their counseling practices to fit YOU. My personal goal while working with clients has always been to make sure they leave my sessions feeling understood, which is why I encourage you to remember the importance of working with the right therapist for YOU and YOUR issues - by finding someone who aims at helping you feel better about your situation as they gain more insight into the significance of your upbringing and how it has affected you today - as an adult.