As children, we all had superheroes who captivated our attention. While I loved to watch Sesame Street and Spiderman cartoons, nothing captured my imagination like the pixie-dust wielding fairy called Tinkerbell. Her allure lay in the fact that she was light and agile; could flit in and out of situations at her whim and will; and was always surrounded by glitter. Her mere presence ignited a dream inside the privacy of my child’s mind: one day, when I was old enough to leave home, I too would possess that level of freedom.
Fairy tales aren’t simply fun stories to read aloud or portray in a film; they are building blocks in the architectural foundation of a child’s psyche, templates from which they will draw for the rest of their lives. During the first seven years after birth, the main caregivers in a child’s life are laying the foundational belief system that will underpin every decision in adulthood. If this foundation is solid, we have what we call a well-adjusted person. If not, we have a disorganized and dysfunctional mind whose symptoms will be diagnosed as a disorder.
A disorder can be brought back into balance by introducing the missing order, in this case by taking apart those portions of the foundation that were not laid properly in the first place. By giving the individual what they missed out on as a child, we give them that solid foundation that they never had.
My childhood heroes still call out to me, reminding me how much I understood, long before I could articulate it.