Your childhood made you what you are


Blog Post B1: Theory of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

2nd June 2021


Principle Number 1 (of 20):

We all begin as babies; and have our babyhood as our lifelong foundation

Dr Jim in North YorkshireHello and welcome to this, the first of twenty blogs about the basic theory of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy.

We forget our childhood at our peril. Unless we strive to remember our babyhood and childhood developmental experiences, and to “process it into a coherent narrative”, we cannot become fully human.

We are “grownup babies”, with all the scars and boons of our childhood hidden away in the basement of our brain-mind – unless and until we dig it up and make sense of it.

Most modern theorists of counselling psychology and psychotherapy make the mistake of “thinking” about humans as Adults; Adults who “think”, rather than former children who “perceive-feel-think” (or “perfink”) in Parent, Adult and Child-like ways.

Front cover, Lifestyle Counselling, 2020In our main book on emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy (E-CENT), I wrote about that problem like this:

“Firstly, I do not make the mistake of extrapolating from adult functioning in order to understand the psychology of human nature.  Instead, I begin with the baby in the mother’s womb (where the mother may be more or less stressed, and more or less well nourished, depending upon the actual circumstances of her life).  I then move on to the baby post-birth, which is colonized by a carer (normally mother) who may be more or less sensitive to the baby’s signals of comfort and discomfort; more or less responsive to the baby’s needs; and more or less caring.  And I also take account of how stressed the mother was, by her life circumstances, even before the baby was conceived.  These are the foundations of human emotional and general psychological functioning.” (Page 49 of Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching for the Whole Person, by Jim Byrne, with Renata Taylor-Byrne).

What are the implications of this, the first principle of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy?

If you lose sight of your own foundations; or the foundations of those who are closest to you; or of you clients (if you are a counsellor, coach, psychotherapist, etc.), then you will end up dealing with the following false construct:

“The wholly autonomous, wholly conscious, independent, stand-alone, Thinking Adult”.

But no such thing exists!

– You can read more about this subject in the following book: Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling for the Whole Person.***

– Or you can review a range of books linked to the emotive-cognitive perspective, here: ABC Bookstore.***

– Or you can consult one of the co-creators of emotive-cognitive therapy (E-CENT) here: ABC Coaching and Counselling Services.***


That’s all for now.

Best wishes,


Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***


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