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article imageCounselor says 'It's not your fault' for difficult childhoods Special

By KJ Mullins     Dec 9, 2010 in Health
When James Krehbiel set out to write his latest book 'Troubled Childhood, Triumphant Life' he knew first-hand how troubling a difficult childhood can be for an adult.
His message to adults? "It's not your fault but it is your responsibility to move on."
When he's not writing James P. Krehbiel, Ed.S., LPC, CCBT is a practicing cognitive-behavioral therapist in Scottsdale, Arizona. His latest book "Troubled Childhood, Triumphant Life" deals with how a troubled childhood can short rail a person's life if they do not deal with it and learn the skills to move on.
During a phone interview Krehbiel discussed surviving a difficult childhood, avoiding the blame game and moving on to be a happier adult.
One of the key messages from the book is for those who dealt with difficult childhoods is it's not about blame and understanding that parents (most of the time) do the best that they could but it just wasn't enough.
"Often adults will minimize their childhood scars and the emotional impact of what happened to them as children blaming themselves. Blame leads to self pity. Taking blame out of the picture is one of the key steps into having a better life."
Krehbiel said that it is important to know that a difficult childhood is never about the child.
"In my work when I tell a patient that it wasn't about them it is powerful. When they realize that they had no control over what happened to them as a child the healing begins." Krehbiel continued, "Often people in these situations feel that they were defective in some way turning the anger of the situation onto themselves. You have to deal with that before you can move on. While the traumas a person experienced during childhood were not about you the healing process in all about you so that you can overcome the past."
Going forward in order for past wounds to be healed a person has to focus on themselves allowing for time to grieve, right the wrongs and to move on putting the past in the past and focusing on the positives of the future.
The power of words is an important subject when it comes to parenting and for life in general. Krehbiel said it is very important for parents to teach their children to be kind and compassionate towards others. Children and adults both need to be aware how extremely important words are and that the best policy is always to build others up not break them down. Krehbiel related an experience from a men's group he was leading:
"One of the men in the group didn't believe that words had power saying to the group that 'I don't believe in that power'. He then called me every name in the book to prove his point. When I told him that his words were powerful and painful he still didn't understand but the others in the group got it."
Krehbiel said that in the United States there is a strong current of hate going on right now. That pull of saying hateful things to one another is very destructive.
"These are learned behaviors. When we are taught these behaviours by the actions of those around us we tend to project that anger and hate to others."
Krehbiel discussed the problems about stigma when it comes to mental health. He said it is the job of a therapist to frame their profession in a way that patients do not feel a stigma when it comes to getting help.
"We have to do everything in our power so that we can get people to feel comfortable about being able to seek help when they need it. With mental illness it has been found that the more you talk about your illness the better it is to address issues stemming from it."
Krehbiel's message is positive throughout 'Troubled Childhood, Triumphant Life.' Having a difficult childhood does not have to mean that you can't move on and have a wonderful life.
"There is hope that you don't have to stay stuck in the same pattern. I want that hopeful message of being able to find your way out of the pain and going forward to be what others take away after reading my book."
'Troubled Childhood, Triumphant Life' available from, Barnes&, and
More about James krehbiel, Childhood, Mental illness, Author, Cognitive-behavioral therapist
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