Elaine Childs-Gowell, M.N., M.P.H., A.R.N.P., Ph.D., C.T.A.
This paper describes the “Healing Rituals” known as the Self Care Contracts. These contracts serve to close the escape hatches (Holloway, 1973, Boyd and Boyd, 1980) which people use to further their core beliefs and script behaviors. The article defines Escape Hatches, and Self Care Contracts and describes how the process of “Accountability Work”, “The Think Chair”, or “Time Out” help therapy clients think through their core beliefs and how to challenge them therapeutically. For people whose socialization was inadequate or meager, the process assists clients to think about feelings, feel about thoughts, and order their thought processes around their limiting belief systems. It is an empowering intervention for thought disordered, and other clients, and much appreciated by those who engage in it.
An article by Brook (1996) with regard to permission, reminded the present author that the use of Self Care Contracts is a form of permission. One of the regressive therapies developed from re-parenting over the past twenty years is a therapeutic process known as corrective parenting or rechilding. Permission and safety are provided in corrective parenting through a number of processes which are known as “Healing Rituals” (van de Hart, 1978).
A “healing ritual” is a process in which clients may re-experience archaic and traumatic events, and change the experience from the old system (trauma) to the new system (healing). These rituals provide the clients with a structure within which they can grow away from their old script behaviors. Many of these rituals provide the permission needed to break scripts and become “warriors of the heart.”