The goal of the therapist is to find the child. When we have found the child, the child has also made an attempt at being seen. So there we are, face to face with the obstacles and disturbances between us. The child has made some kind of meaning-filled decision to come out and find us. In this space between, this joint, we are charged with holding still and listening for the many forms of nonverbal language the child may use to speak about their hurt. Premature efforts on our part may add static that pushes the child back, away from us. We will be tested in similar ways that the infant needed to test the integrity of an adult, when they cried out with their sharp and sudden needs.
This book explores when something has gone wrong. But more so, ultimately it is about righting the relationship through the same trust the child requires at birth. When harm has occurred, the psyche endeavors to defend the self from annihilation by concealing it for the sake of protection within deep unconscious regions of the psyche. In this hidden place, the child suffers somatically and emotionally until the lost aspects can be safely found and re-embodied. In this, the child and the therapist enlist a third entity, the Us in the relationship, to reclaim lost aspects of psyche, or Self. Several chapters explore what us means to the child, with the child’s expressions revealing this need for mutuality.