A former traditional therapist turned multidimensional healer, Cathryn Taylor has fine-tuned her approach to helping people beset by tragic occurrences in their lives — be it incest, divorce bankruptcy, illness and accident — to include much more than the inner child work for which she is best known. Author of The Inner Child Workbook, Cathryn is focused on helping her clients heal from the inside out.
“What I am offering people is a chance to look at the events of their lives through the eyes of their soul and from the perspective of what they can learn from these experiences,” she says. “In fact, I am inviting them to entertain the thought that perhaps these events were charted by their soul so they would learn a particular lesson. Is there a purpose to your pain?”
She spoke with The Edge about her process, and how new research on the brain is allowing her to help clients create a new paradigm through which to view their experiences and live unencumbered by circumstances of the past.
Your book, The Inner Child Workbook, was published in 1991. Since then it has been translated into four languages, most recently Korean and Czech, and is well into its 40th edition. To what do you attribute its success and longevity?
Cathryn Taylor: I think there are several reasons why this book has had such a dynamic shelf life, and it begins with the fact that The Inner Child Workbook was one of five books published in the late 1980s and early 1990s that really popularized the inner child concept. My perception of that is that the Universe at that time wanted that information to be communicated. I think it was just time for that material to come through.
That was not the first time inner child work was publicized. It had been addressed in Transactional Analysis, and in the late 1950s a book about the inner child had been written, but the concept was not really popularized until recently. I think that it was just a natural progression of the evolution of the human potential movement, which began in the 1960s.
Since then, a lot of research has been conducted and it continuously shows that whatever challenges we are experiencing in adulthood, they can be directly related back to what we experienced in our childhood and the coping mechanisms we developed as a way to survive.
For my book, in particular, it was truly the first time that I partnered with my Higher Self. During its creation, I got out of my own way. I really understood that this book was bigger than me and that my responsibility as a so-called channel for that was to really come into my writing sessions completely clear.
In the beginning of that process, I was being given all this information all at once, and I was overloaded. I was getting it in my dreams and while I was running and in the middle of conversations. Finally, I just stopped and said to my guidance, “Look. If I’m going to do this, you have to work with me and go according to what I can handle. So, you have to slow it down or I am going to burn myself out.” That was huge for me. I also set the intention that it be a grassroots book. I knew early on I did not want this to be an overnight bestseller, because I had seen a lot of my colleagues experience that and they were getting so ego-driven with the popularity that they lost their message, and I knew I did not want that.
How do you define the inner child and what was it in your own history that inspired you to make inner child work the focus of your professional career?
CT: The inner child simply gives a face to the feelings that we had in childhood. That is important because the difference between then and now is that we are now an adult who has acquired certain tools, experiences and skills to deal with life and are in a position to interact with that younger part of self — and that brings us into self-empowerment and self-accountability.
When we begin to do inner child work and look at our younger, more vulnerable feelings as the wounded children within us, it creates what I call “the vertical relationship.” Instead of projecting those needs out into our relationships — which is more horizontal, where we are wanting our partner to meet those needs or our boss to meet those needs — we are in a position to deal with our inner child and respond to the needs instead of collapsing from them. It is vital to see that inner child as a separate part of our personality that we can relate to.
My first experience was when I had to write a paper in a marriage and family therapy class called “The Family of Origin.” The paper was supposed to 5 to 7 pages long, and mine ended up being 54 pages. It became an outpouring of my reaction to my dad’s nervous breakdown when I was 17.
I was just getting ready to walk into adulthood, and then I saw the most important man in my life, someone I really modeled myself after, really cave in. I wrote my first inner child piece at that point. I remember sitting in that class and looking at the clock. It was 10:00 a.m. and I knew my dad was getting electric shock treatments at that moment. I remember thinking, “I wonder if this is going to happen to me?” That really affected my process of moving into adulthood — and it became my focus to resolve his nervous breakdown.
The first time I really heard the inner child was when I had a breakup at the age of 35. A psychic told me a little girl needed me to talk to her. That was the first time I went home and did the actual meditation, connecting with my inner child.
Around the time of my dad’s death, I really learned the value of inner child work. By that time I had developed the inner child concept and was working with the different developmental stages that we all go through. At that time, I was able to help every child within me prepare for dad’s death, so that when I went home I could separate from them. I went home as the adult and was able to participate in dad’s transition from an adult perspective and a higher self perspective.
How do we know if we have inner child work that needs to be done?
CT: If our life is not working. If there is a challenge in our day-to-day life that we cannot deal with in the moment, and if we are rehashing a conversation over and over in our mind, then that is probably an indication that we have triggered an old wound.
An energetic blueprint is established when we had a wounding experience in childhood, and that energetic experience follows us into adulthood. We may be having a conversation with our boss or our partner and all of a sudden, they say something that reminds us energetically or vibrationally of that past trigger. In that moment, we regress and are seeing that situation through the inner child’s eyes. Even though we may be in our thirties or forties, we are responding to that interaction with the same coping mechanisms that we had as a child.
If your life is not working, first look at the inner child and then pull that thread into what your soul wants you to learn from that experience.
You talk about the woundedness that draws us to look at the inner child. Can you explain a little bit about that?
CT: First, it’s important to differentiate between the wounded inner child and the Divine inner child. All of us come in our bodies with an innocence and an essence of trust. Then we have what’s called “The Essential Wound,” that first moment when we experience the world as unsafe. Some of us experience that in utero, so we don’t even make it into the Earth plane physically without having that energetic blueprint.
When that happens, our psyche begins to fragment so that we can develop and continue our evolution, even though it’s built upon a faulty foundation. At each juncture when we have to confront some sort of situation when we feel unsafe, we develop ways to deal with that. Those become what I call “the operating system of our psyche.” In childhood, they can be survival mechanisms or ways of coping.
When we move into adulthood, the self-sabotage is really not coming from an evil, misguided part of us. As we move into more of an adult vibration, that brings in more and more light. We become more expanded as human beings. What most people don’t understand is that the more illuminated we get, the more illuminated our shadow self gets.
For instance, when my book came out, all of a sudden I was in a position of having to appear before crowds of people. That triggered my 6-year-old inner child who was called Froggy in grade school because I had such a low voice. Every time I would try to speak in public or teach classes, I became anxious and my voice would shake. That 6-year-old was not trying to sabotage me. The intent was to protect me from being ridiculed.
It’s important for people to understand that when we feel self-sabotage, it is because we have collapsed into the inner child — an inner child who is looking for an adult to offer protection before we move forward.
Do we all have the capacity to overcome this woundedness?
CT: Oh, absolutely! I think the psyche is very kind. What I mean by that is that these issues don’t emerge unless we are in a position to gather the necessary components to heal, even though it doesn’t feel that way at times. Especially at this juncture in human development and spiritual evolution, there are so many techniques to assist people who are willing.
For all the different ways that we sabotage and derail ourselves, I believe it is essential to move from being a victim of our circumstances to truly being a student of them. Each person has to develop a recipe for that and be their own chef. The hardest part is when we’re in the victim stance and we want somebody to take care of us. We go to doctors to take care of us and tell us what to do. We go to therapists to take care of us and tell us what to do. We go to groups and hope that the group will save us.
It’s really about making a decision to heal. Once we do that, the necessary components start coming to us. It’s the old saying, “The Universe never gives us more than we can handle.” If it’s in front of our face, our higher self believes that we can handle it, and, in fact, wants us to.
Now I understand you are weaving the inner child focus into the task of one’s soul. How did that link occur?
CT: That happened quite accidentally. Shortly after The Inner Child Workbook came out, I started receiving a lot of requests to do workshops around the country. Fortunately, I was able to close down my house, buy an RV, and my dog and I took off for a year all around the United States. During that experience, I was able to work with hundreds of people from all different walks of life. That led me into the multidimensional perspective.
When we would do the inner child meditation, I would ask them what was not working in their current life. They would talk about that. I would get them into a relaxed state and then ask them to focus on the first remembered experience of that same tension in their bodies, because our body records these experiences. I began to see that they would describe situations that were not of this time and place, hopping from lifetime to lifetime.
Then I had my own multidimensional experience one night in a bathtub in Washington, D.C., when the circumstances of my current life and a past life collided. I was taking a bath and all of sudden I went into a spontaneous regression of a lifetime when I had slit my wrists in the bathtub. The experience was so real that had I not had my psychological background at the time, I probably would have ended up thinking that I was having a psychotic break and would have been put on Thorazine.
But by that time, I had done enough of the inner child work that I knew what was happening and I had enough support. That evolved into the sequel to The Inner Child Workbook, called, Which Lifetime Is This, Anyway? It was just another progression of my work.
You state that your modality works with the mind, heart, body and soul. Can you explain what you mean by that and why those four areas are so important?
CT: The importance of those four areas is that this is how the psyche processes information. When we have an experience, we develop certain belief systems about such experiences and we have a certain emotional response to that. The combination of the belief — about being unsafe — combined with the emotions that go with that lack of safety become what is called “the energetic blueprint.” That energetic blueprint is the vibrational frequency that gets stored in the cellular memory of our body — and it becomes activated any time we come up against a situation that holds that same energy.
Consider the example that I used earlier. If we had a father who was intimidating when we were children, then that energetic blueprint is recorded in our physical form, in our cellular structure. When we have a fight with a boss or a fight with a loved one, that energetic blueprint is activated.
To heal that, we have to deal with the belief system and the emotional component, where they are stored in the body, and then we explore where we first experienced that pattern in the history of our soul. That leads us to where that energetic blueprint originated in our soul’s history. The presence of that energetic blueprint in our soul’s history can generate a post-traumatic stress signal from another lifetime that gets activated in our childhood experiences, and then gets acted out in our present experience.
When we want to heal, we first heal in present time. We deal with the anxiety and the stress that our adult self is experiencing now. Then, when we have empowered the adult, we can go back and re-work that scene so the inner child is rescued. That’s where a lot of people stop in the process. But, we also have to go back and free that energetic blueprint, which is a suspended aspect of our soul. We get that aspect of the soul back to the light and then that post-traumatic stress signal is no longer reverberating.
Once we do that, we rewire our brain with new paradigms, heal our wounded heart, dissolve that energetic blueprint in our bodies and replace it with peace and calm. Then we have recognized the purpose of the pain for the soul and there is no longer any reason to hold onto it. We can release it in all dimensions of time and consciousness so it doesn’t weave back and continue to eclipse our current lifestyle.
How do you define your current modality and how do you describe what you do for others, briefly, if somebody asks you?
CT: I let clients know that my expertise is the inner child, and that I have added to my modality the ability to access one’s Akashic records — the record of the soul. I’m also certified in energy therapy called EFT and have developed my own brand of tapping, the self-administered form of acupressure that I teach people and use with people in my practice sessions to change these energetic blueprints. EFT is what really changes the energetic pattern, because it deals with the electrical circuitry of the body.
I’m also an addiction counselor and there is just not much that I have not seen, and so I work with helping them move from being a victim of their circumstances to being a student by empowering their adult self so they can respond instead of collapse.
How are new approaches in the understanding of the brain informing your professional evolution?
CT: It’s interesting you ask that, because that has been the latest addition to what I am offering my clients. I’m taking an online class right now with Dr. Richard Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain, who does a lot of work with hardwiring the brain for happiness.
I love this piece because when I mix it with my interactive tapping sequences, it really addresses the building of new neuropathways. All of the old memories from our soul and our childhood that are housed in the lower part of the brain can now be worked with and new responses can be created. We move from what Dr. Hanson calls the “red zone of reactivity” to the “green zone of relaxation.”
Neuroplasticity and the new research of brain science is really establishing hope and busting the belief that we are only who we are. I used this with my stepson the other day. He was responding to me about some behavior, and he looked at me and said, “Well, that’s just the way I am.”
And I said, “Well, aren’t you lucky that you live in a time when neuroplasticity has just been discovered, because you are not stuck with that behavior.”
That’s the truth. We used to get away with saying, “Well, accept me because that’s just the way I am.” Neuroplasticity pops that bubble, because there are dynamic ways to create and maintain a new paradigm in our brain. I think it’s the most exciting thing that has happened in a long time.
How have esoteric metaphysics and spirituality shaped your approaches over time?
CT: Most recently, the biggest influence for me have been the teachings of Abraham. I started out by following the Lazarus channelings and then followed Aurora and Betty Bethards on the West Coast. It opened me up into an expanded view, to parapsychology, to transformational psychology, and it made things possible.
That’s so important with the inner child work. I work with a lot of addictions and I work with a lot of incest situations and satanic ritual — and if the person does not have some motivation from a spiritual perspective to heal, then it is just too much for the psyche to deal with that kind of trauma.
One of my other mentors was Gregg Braden, because he takes the scientific and puts it in such psychological and spiritual terms that it was really easy for me to understand his model. That had a huge influence on me and opened doors for me to be more multidimensional in my perspective. The biggest feedback that I get from people, especially in the EFT community, is that I have expanded it beyond traditional tapping, which deals more with symptoms, and have taken it into a multidimensional perspective. So, it’s been monumental for me.
How do the therapy and counseling professions view the integration of cutting edge science and principles of spirituality that you are incorporating into your practice?
CT: It really varies, actually. One of the reasons that I no longer “practice” therapy is because when I started using the Akashic records and EFT tapping, I was moving out of being able to provide services that were “insurance-friendly.” I moved away from wanting to diagnose people, because that felt limiting.
Different veins of psychology embrace more of the spiritual perspective, such as transformational psychology and transcendental psychology, which invite that. But traditional psychotherapy, which you get in a hospital system, is really a challenge — and that’s where it is really the most evident that there is a gap between the pharmacological intervention towards distress and more of a spiritual intervention.
Earlier I referenced my first multidimensional bleed-through. At that time, I could have really gone down the wrong path, because if I would have explained that situation to a professional without the understanding of a soul wound, it would have been considered more of a psychotic break.
Do you find the primary use of pharmaceutical drugs keeps people where they are, without helping them heal?
CT: I had the privilege of working at Health Recovery Centers with Dr. Joan Matthew Larson in Minneapolis, and she treats addictions as well as depression and anxiety nutritionally and biochemically. I saw that she was able to heal some of these challenging cases in a more natural way.
Now, I do believe that the biochemistry of some people needs to be balanced, and for those who are fortunate enough to be able to do it nutritionally, that helps. If someone is in a situation where they only have access to getting on an antidepressant or other pharmaceutical drugs, my experience is that if it is short-lived, then it works. What was astounding for me when I worked with Joan was learning how Prozac or Xanax may be of temporary assistance, but they can turn on a person and the body starts needing more medication. When the body starts needing more, that’s the sign that this is no longer working and something bigger has to happen.
Certain cases, such as psychosis, can only be managed with a certain amount of medication — but even with that, in some cases people can resolve so much more with all of these new ways that I am presenting. The problem with that is it takes a lot of money to do that, to utilize alternative health interventions. So many people are stuck with the medical model because that is what Medicare pays, or that’s what low income people are able to get, or that’s what insurance pays.
I think the real tragedy is that many people have no access to alternative therapies that can really respond in a more life-giving way, instead of just applying a Band-Aid. Even if people want alternative methods, they’re stuck economically with the more traditional methods.
You developed an intriguing way of using Blog Talk Radio. How did you come up with that format and how does it serve your community — or your tribe, as you call it?
CT: I came into Blog Talk Radio in about 2008 and I really liked it because it gave me a way for me to take my message to a larger number of people — and I was able to just do that in the comfort of my own home. I had two shows on EFT Radio and my EFT show on Edge Talk Radio. I realized that within those three shows that were uniquely mine, I could present different topics that were pertinent to the work that I was doing. It gave me a way to educate people on this modality and to empower them.
What I like to do with people is what I call the “Rotor-Rooter” approach. I don’t want to be called for the maintenance. I want to be called when you are really stuck and we need a process to be facilitated. So what I do in my radio shows and my e-books and anything that I offer online for free is to give people as many of the tools as they can work with to identify what the problem is, to take it as far as they can, so that when they do call me and they actually put money down for my services, they have done their homework.
Because of the radio shows, and my YouTube videos, by the time someone contacts me he or she is familiar with my work enough that, to be honest, their inner child has already developed a relationship with me. So it takes us a lot less time to complete the work, because they come in and we’re starting in the middle of the process instead of at the beginning.
Blog Talk Radio has served me well and it is a way to give back to my community — to people who either are not inspired to do a one-on-one session or are not in a position to do a one-on-one session. It’s still a way for me to get my work to them.
What originally inspired you to want to help others? Does it relate to what you talked about regarding your dad?
CT: I think so, yes. It started probably when I was age 3 within the role I played in my own family. I was what I call “the conduit of feelings” in my family. Very early on I had to learn how to analyze feelings, how to identify feelings in others, and how to discharge feelings. I came in pretty clear that I was always going to be in this field and got into it very early. It was just a natural evolution and there was never much question about what I was going to do.
The bigger question was how I was going to do it. I started out as a social worker, and I think that was good because I could have gone more into the corporate world and that would have taken me in a completely different area. So my early involvement with social work is what really led me to the heart of my work, and the rest came just one step at a time in my own experience.
If you could say one thing to every soul on the planet right now, what would you say to us?
CT: This is the most exciting time for us to be here. There is some ingredient out there that will take you to the next step. Use the resources and continue your soul’s journey.