Ph.D. Psychologist and Therapist

Psychologist and Therapist, Individual and Couples Therapy,  Bellevue, WA

Seattle Area Psychologist and Therapist

Design By:

Family of Origin Issues

Each one of us was powerfully shaped by the family and the environment of our developing years. Our family was the place where we first learned about every important part of human life and human relationships.  We learned our first sense of whether we are lovable, whether others will be there for us.  We learned a sense of whether we should share our feelings or keep them to ourselves.  We learned whether it was OK to be vulnerable, to apologize to admit to being wrong.  We learned what it takes to be admired and desirable.  Is it our appearance?  Our smarts?  Our kindness? 

And we don't learn all of these things in a dry, cognitive way.  All of these things are tied to our deepest emotions.  They are tied to the question of, am I good enough?  Will people want me?  Can I trust people?  Is it safe to be really vulnerable a close to someone?

The lessons from our family of origin aren't just ideas that we have, they are deeply coded emotional beliefs and assumptions about how the world works.  And some of them may be partly conscious, but many of them are so deeply learned and automatic that they are beliefs we hold without being aware of them. 

Freud and his followers believed that we keep things out of our consciousness when we are conflicted about them.  That may be true of certain kinds of issues.  But learning theorists also point out that there are things that we are not conscious of simply because it is a view we hold that we have never questioned. 

 A part of the point of looking at your development in your family of origin is to become more aware of who you are and how you came to be who you are.  This often gives a person a much greater sense of self-understanding and self-acceptance. Exploring these things is a powerful way to change the way your life works now, especially by understanding and changing some of the habits and patterns that you may act out without realizing it.