Hello, my name is Mary, I am 50 years old, live in the state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest of the USA with my three cats Beata, Artemis and Lady Gray.  I have an *Inner Symphony* of 8 voices other than my own......some of them speak up and out and others are very very quiet.........they range in age from a premie to a 15-year-old and there is one other adult in there as well.....her name is Johanna Marie..........she is our Protector.  I became a nurse because that is the dream that my grandmother held for me and I felt right pursuing it. I also went back to school in 1993, received my Bachelor's degree in Developmental Psychology and Loss&Grief, but most importantly I healed my childhood experiences around learning.  I coordinate a cancer research program here and I am also a nurse consultant for a residential boarding home where 50 adults with chronic mental illness reside; mental health nursing has always been my passion.  I love music (mostly women's and inner child music), love traveling (to meet my online friends and family), love standing at the ocean's door and hugging trees, love swimming and I love sharing my hopes, dreams, struggles and successes as a former *survivor*, now a ~thriver~, of physical, mental, emotional, sexual and ritualistic abuse.  I was in therapy from 1990 to 1995 doing what is called Corrective Parenting therapy........I have a new healthy mom, dad, grandmother, brothers, sisters and lots and lots of cousins and aunts and uncles. This particular type of therapy involves age regression work, lots of nurturing and letting go of all the old mistaken beliefs that were put into me all those years and replacing them with wonderful affirming messages and beliefs. I put the final piece of my childhood jigsaw puzzle in place in November 1997 and I am happy to say that all of my past has been seen, heard and believed and I am feeling more whole and happy than I have in my entire life.  I am finally thriving!

In 1990, after several years of trying different kinds of therapy, I was introduced to a kind of therapy that was to give me permission to learn about my childhood, all the feelings I had stored and never felt.   This therapy allowed me to go back in time and confront all of the mistaken beliefs I had formulated during my preverbal stages of life and learn my truth and make new decisions about me, my life and my life's work.  The particular type of therapy is called Corrective Parenting Therapy (CPT) and is based on Eric Erickson's Developmental Theory and Eric Berne's Transactional Analysis (TA), Pamela Levin's Prenatal Theory and Developmental Affirmations written by Pamela and Jean Illsley-Clarke. Corrective Parenting therapy was developed as a result of the efforts of Jacqui Schiff in working with severely psychotic clients with whom she developed the school of Transactional Analysis known as Reparenting.

The name Corrective Parenting was coined by Brenda Schaeffer. It is a term used to describe positive transference therapy which is a term well known in psychiatric circles. In corrective parenting as in contrast to positive transference mode, actual contracts are made around the functions of modeling healthy parenting, so clients often acknowledge the therapist as their "healthy parent" for the duration of their therapeutic contract, and in some cases beyond. TA is based on the belief that we have 3 ego states within us, the parent, the adult and the child.

Pamela Levin went a little further with Developmental and TA Theory and did some work on what she called the Developmental Cycle -- the theory of childhood stages repeated throughout adulthood. Her idea (in a nutshell) was that as adults we recycle our childhood stages (ie. Prenatal, Being --0-6 months, Doing -- 6-18 months, Thinking -- 18 mo-3yrs, Power and Identity -- 3-6 yrs, Structure -- 6-12 yrs, Sexuality and Separation --12-18yrs) throughout the remainder of our lives. She further theorized that each stage has particular developmental tasks and the child needs to be given certain developmental affirmations related to the tasks of each stage. And when we re-cycle these stages in our here and now lives the developmental tasks we did not complete or did not get positive affirmations for will still need to be taken care of or we will continue to find difficulty in doing those tasks. For example, "Being" tasks are to be here (with all my feelings), be fed, touched and taken care of; an affirmation for this stage is "I can feel all my feelings". As adults we recycle "Being" at times of illness, tiredness, hurt or vulnerability. If as an infant I did not get the message that "I can feel all of my feelings" than as an adult I may find it difficult to feel my feelings when I am vulnerable or hurt; so until I allow my infant to make a new decision about it being okay to feel my feelings I may have difficulty with with feeling my feelings each time I recycle my "Being" stage. In CPT, I got the opportunity to make new decisions and have new experiences for my child ego state and she does not have to wreak havoc in my adult life so much anymore.

So, when I talk about a "litul girl" or "litul ones", I am referring to the child ego state. And when I refer to my "new healthy mom" or my "new healthy sibs" or my "new healthy dad", I am referring to a therapist with whom I have had a contract to do positive transference work with in group or in 1:1 therapy or the members of my group therapy process. There are many kinds of work used in this type of therapy such as psychodrama, gestalt work, shock work, regressive work, birth work, prenatal work, redecision work, energy moving, sand tray, energy releasing, boundaring, nurture, drawing work, chakra work, breath work (an example of this is Reichian breathing [Reiki is an energy form and can be applied locally or a distant treatment could be successfully given. It is a hands on type of healing, much like that of the Hands On Touch Therapy that is used in North America, by many people today]) -- just to name a few!

In my experience I first needed to retrieve my childhood memories (all of them -- both positive and negative), share them (or tell my story), re-experience them and have a different experience or outcome with a healthy mom, dad and sibs there to provide safety, protection, guidance and most of all unconditional love.

Some of the greatest obstacles I had to overcome included feeling safe enough in this therapy group to allow myself to feel vulnerable, expose my shame and to acknowledge that I deserved better than what I received as a child. I had been 100% sure that I had deserved to be treated the way I was as a child and this was the greatest wall I had to break down.

After 4.5 years of group therapy, I emerged as a feeling and thinking woman who knew she had a ways to go on her journey. This beginning was indeed a blessing!

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About my cats:  In April 1997, I adopted a cat.....she is a Siamese, was 8 months old back then. I named her Beata (after a very dear survivor friend of mine)....she is off-white, with patches of black around her ears, paws and hints of it on parts of her body. She and I share the same striking blue eyes. When we first met at the pound, she did not want to be taken out of her cage there, she kept pressing her body up against the back of the cage, like she really wanted to get behind the wall of the cage, not be seen or touched; I think she was trying to tell me that she was a survivor. I gently coaxed her out, held her and she seemed content to let me do that. I had to leave her at the pound for a couple of days....protocol for lost pets, found.....gives the owner a chance to come and claim them if they want and when no one did, Beata came home to live with me.  It has been interesting to watch Beata...when she first came home, she immediately found a place to hide....I couldn't find her for several days....she only came out at night to eat....then she began to sit on a chair under the kitchen table.....hissing at me whenever I would come close....but once in my arms soaking up the love and cuddling I would offer. Then one day I noticed she had not been out to eat during the night and I began to worry about if she had somehow gotten out of the house.....but after 3 days her food dish finally emptied again. I was unable to find her to get her medicine in her ears (ear mites) so when I took her to the vet for her next set of shots, the vet suggested I confine her to one room so we could begin to socialize with one another. So, I moved her food and her to my bedroom with the litter box in the bathroom. She immediately made her nest under the bed.....waaaaay out of reach. She continued to hiss at me when I would lie on the floor and just talk with her. To get her to come out took my seeming as though I was going to reach for her....she would make a mad dash for the bathroom and hide behind the toilet. I would then go into the bathroom, pick her up and take her to my bed where I would hold and cuddle her while she purred contentedly. Then she began letting me reach for her and not needing to run to the bathroom. She would still hiss but not so much. Then after about 3 weeks ago, she began to inch her way close enough for me to reach for her and bring her out to me. Then she started crawling to me on her own and then finally she began to come out from under the bed all by herself when I came in either to sleep or to spend time with her. Then, she started coming into the bathroom whenever I go there, waiting for me to finish and come into the bedroom and get on the bed so she can get some loving! Eventually, she would climb up onto the bed at night and sleep at my feet. She still startles easily making me wonder what happened to her that has left her so easily frightened. When I went away a couple of times in February and March, upon my return it was like we had to begin at square one again.....but she usually got back to the level of trust we left off at fairly quickly. She also never played when she first came but now she plays (usually during the night when I am asleep!) with her balls and yarn and is even being a bit playful with me. We are both teaching one another about learning to trust and learning to socialize and learning to play. What a metaphor for my life she has been! Over the past year, I have learned that she knows that I love her; she just doesn't need me to hold to remind her of that!

Artemis was my best friend's kitten first but she decided that because her was so much older than Artemis (she and Beata are about the same age) that it would be best if she were with someone her own age. So, I adopted Artemis. She is jet black with patches of white on her chin, her feet and her tummy. She has striking green eyes. At first I kept her and Beata apart so they could sniff one another out through the doors. She is a quite the vocal cat.....she is always whining especially when I am in my computer room. I used to let her be in here with me, but she was chewing on my computer cords so I could no longer leave the door open.  Artemis likes my food more than her own....she loves ice cream and all the foods that I eat! Keeping her at bay when I am eating is a challenge sometimes! Sometimes I can ignore her whining and sometimes it reminds me of my own inner baby who is often crying wanting some attention and loving. I think Artemis is a metaphor for my own inner baby!

She and Beata kept one another company when I went in England in May 1997 and I am so glad they were both together. They play a lot together, put their arms around one another and yes they fight like sisters too! <G>

Over these past couple of years, Beata has grown more trusting, but is so independent, she tries to act as though she doesn't need a thing from me. Interestingly enough in November 1998, after I had been gone for four days, I was sitting in my recliner with Artemis snuggled into my right side on that arm of the chair, Beata suddenly jumped up on the other arm of the recliner and just sat there with us. I didn't reach out to her, I just talked to her welcoming her, letting her know that it was really me who was back home and that I loved her. Just goes to show you that healing does take time and we all do it in our own way and at our own pace!

LG came into my life in October 1999, she is a very soft gray kitten with deep brown eyes.  She was living next door and the neighbors couldn't keep her, so I said I would bring her home with me and see how she and Beata and Artemis got along and if all went well, I would keep her.  LG's personality is an interesting mix between Beata and Artemis; she is very very independent at times and very demanding for attention at other times.  She has made her presence known to the other two and stands her ground in all things around here!  I do believe for our home, she's what is called a *keeper*!

Mary D.