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Coaxing Lost Soul Parts Out Of Hiding

by Deah Curry, PhD

ave some of your life experiences sent parts of your psyche into hiding? If you resonate with that question, it’s possible that in your past something has happened that caused a part of yourself to split off from your core personality and become separated from further psycho-spiritual development.

The world of psychotherapy has various diagnostic labels for this. I prefer the more shamanic explanations for understanding and, more importantly, locating and re-integrating these aspects back into the whole self. Shamans call this soul retrieval.

In my work I see many women who approach life from a place of feeling rejected, abandonned, and fearful. In each case, something has happened — sometimes profound or traumatic, although even more often something subtle but nonetheless life-changing — that left them feeling chronically unworthy, unwanted, unsafe, alone, nervous, bored, and/or incapable. Some who have been forced by circumstances to grow up too quickly, or who have had their young creative efforts ridiculed, feel unable to create true inner joy and happiness for themselves.

Soul Split Can Be


Juanita’s mother died when she was 6 years old, and her father was incapable of taking care of her and her younger sisters and brother. They were reliquished to an orphanage and eventually adopted by 3 different families. Throughout her lifetime Juanita has struggled with feeling rejected, abandoned, and fearful. She has constructed her life around a search for people and situations that will provide her with safety, security, approval, and confirmation that she is doing the right thing.

Unfortunately, Juanita never had the opportunity for therapy much less a soul retrieval. When her own children were born, she had only her wounded self to bring into her own parenting. With the best of intentions for their happiness, she focused on ensuring they (and thereby, she) would always have the approval of others.

This misguided intention, however, only served to reinforce the subtle message to her children that they weren’t good enough the way they were. Sadly, they both gew up with the psychospiritual legacy of expecting rejection in various ways, and being fearful to be completely their own uniquely authentic selves. Their mother’s lack of wholeness created a lack of wholeness in them.

Juanita’s daughter Talise sought therapy for a combination of professional burnout and personal anxiety. In reviewing her psycho-spiritual history, she realized that she had taken on the fear and expectation patterns of her mom. She knew she needed to let those go in order to discover her true self.

Talise started by identifying two parts of herself that had split off in her own childhood from simple repetitive exposure to Juanita’s lack of wholeness. One part was the playful, spontaneous, joyful inner child. Without her, Talise was too easily prone to overwork; hence, her existing sense of burnout.

Another part Talise termed the intrepid teen, an aspect that felt courageous, faced fears head on, and took calculated risks. Without this soul-part — the absence of which contributed to her anxieties — Talise was timid and overly cautious.

How to Start a

Reclaiming Process

Although each person’s process for coaxing their lost soul-parts out of hiding will be unique to their central personality, life history and current circumstances, here are a few basic self-help steps to use.

1. List the emotional or relationship difficulties you currently experience.

2. Search your memory for a time or event when the difficulties started. Note what happened then, how you felt and any decisions you made as a result. Decisions might be revealed in the effect they’ve had. Decisions can also be in the form of unquestioned agreement you held with someone else’s warnings. For example: parents often exclaim "Don’t do that, you’ll get hurt" to young kids. That warning gets internalized as a decision, then shapes many responses to choices faced later in life. Nothing traumatic has to happen for that warning — especially when repeated often enough — to turn into nervousness, social anxiety, fearfulness, difficulty with motivation, taking initiative or following through on commitments.

3. When you find a time, event, or decision that altered how you thought, felt or acted from then on, write a lengthy description of who you were just before that time. Start with your factual memories: how old were you and what did you look like, what was your personality and life like then, who were your friends, what were your activities, etc.

4. Then imagine what your life might have been like if you had continued to be the person you were then, before the life-changing event or decision. How would things be different now? What would normal be like for you, what can you imagine it could have been, if you were still that person?

5. That person you could have been is a lost soul-part. Ask her name. Begin a dialogue with her in your imagination. Find out where she went when she separated from you. Ask if she’d like to return, and what she needs from you to do that. Make a solemn promise to work on providing what she needs, and keep your word. Do something to address that need everyday. That’s a major part of the reclaiming process.

With 17 years experience as a psychotherapist and the perspective of a life coach, I’ve helped many people reclaim their authentic self. For appointments and Kirkland WA, location call 425-814-9083 or send email to DrDeah@deahcurry.net. For more details see www.DeahCurry.net


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