10 Ways For Finding The Enchanted Self

10 Ways For Finding The Enchanted Self

In my years as a psychologist, I have come to believe that most people seeking psychotherapy are unhappy, not only because of earlier hurts and traumas as well as present frustrations and problems, but because they cannot access earlier happy moments often enough. This results in not being able to experience enough positive states of well being. It is these unique states of well being that I have come to label The Enchanted Self.

Many scientists of human behavior recognize that we do not yet, and perhaps never can, fully understand human nature. I have become more and more convinced that we do not. For example, what interests me is that we do not fully understand some people who have apparently fortunate lives but experience little joy, while others, apparently less fortunate, experience great joy. Perhaps we have tried too hard to understand pathology in our science of psychology, while we have not tried hard enough to recognize and understand what I call ego-states, or happiness.

When I first began to analyze the data from the women I interviewed, I kept trying to understand how their enchanted adult lives evolved from the childhoods they talked about. I found that although there seemed to be some clear connections, many others were not clear at all.

The capacities of these women to reclaim positive aspects of their childhood, while discarding the dysfunction that was often also present, was astounding to me. It seemed as if a magic wand had been tapped on the women's heads in their adult lives.

For example, when Edith talked about her childhood, she at first remembered only its dysfunctional aspects: the fighting between her parents and their constant criticality.

I suggested that we go back and look again at her childhood to identify times when in spite of the pain of family life, she felt excited about her own life and about herself. With the encouragement, she could separate out positive memories of herself from dysfunctional family experiences and she remembered some wonderful times: delightful family picnics, fishing with her grandfather, etc.

An activity you can do to start on the positive road of Enchantment:


 Get The Latest From InnerSelf


  1. What are some golden moments in your childhood when you felt particularly happy? These moments can be from any age, from your earliest memories through early adulthood.
  2. When you find a golden memory, enjoy it.
  3. See yourself at that age and experiment with letting different senses reconnect to that happy time.
  4. Can you remember the way your body felt?
  5. Can you remember what activity you were engaged in?
  6. Were there any smells?
  7. What was the weather like?
  8. How did things look around you?
  9. What did your mood feel like?
  10. Take time to really enjoy this happy memory of yourself.

I wish you a joyful journey. I hope that your life feels whole and that you find in your past, whether beautiful or painful, a repertoire of talents and capabilities that are uniquely yours.

I hope that your talents, capacities and potential will give you a sense of well being as they thrust you into the world in meaningful ways.

This article was excerpted from:

The Enchanted Self by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein.

The Enchanted Self
by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein.

Reprinted with permission.
Publisher: Harwood Academic Publishers.

Info/Order this book

About The Author

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self. She has been a psychologist in private practice and is licensed in the State of New Jersey and Massachusetts since 1981. Her book The Enchanted Self: A Positive Therapy, was published in 1997 by Harwood Academic Publishers. It is now in its second printing. Dr. Holstein has talked on the radio around the country about The Enchanted Self concept and has been on television in New York and New Jersey. She is also the author of Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is You! Visit her website at http://enchantedself.com


Related Books

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=Barbara Becker Holstein;maxresults=3}