Soon after leaving theological college in 1960, the opportunity came to study Clinical Theology under the late Dr Frank Lake, a Christian psychiatrist. This involved attending seminars over a two-year period. Dr Lake had developed a model for understanding the development of the human personality called ‘The Womb of the Spirit’ and emphasized the importance of what happened in the first nine months of an individual’s life. We looked at various types of personality and it was not long before I recognized myself as fitting into the schizoid personality pattern, someone shy and withdrawn who found close relationships difficult. I was very sensitive and tried to bottle up my feelings.
Following this I was generously given permission to attend a further course at Lingdale that was then the Clinical Theology centre in Nottingham. We met on alternate weeks from Monday to Friday over a six month period.
We were a small group of clergy, all Anglicans apart from me. The facilitator of the group was Brian Lake, also a psychiatrist and Frank Lake’s brother. We met together every morning with the same task: share what you are feeling. Metaphorically speaking, I would hide behind a newspaper and peer out occasionally to see what was going on.
One day my dam broke: floods of tears and the release of incredible inner pain. When the storm passed, I discovered to my surprise that my colleagues were still there, accepting and supporting me. It was a most wonderful experience of love and acceptance.
Why was I hurting so much, where did the pain come from? I began a search to find out.
Not long after this I became aware of the ministry of Wholeness Through Christ, a small charity offering training in prayer ministry through five-day training courses held at various conference centres up and down the country.
Each person attending one of these courses is offered time to explore their own need for healing and discover how the Holy Spirit can bring both healing and release from the effects of past hurts and sins as well as giving us the grace to forgive those who have hurt us.
Over a period of time I attended a number of Wholeness Through Christ courses and was eventually invited to join the team. I found them very helpful and beneficial but the question that set off my journey towards wholeness was still unanswered.
By now I had come to understand how the Holy Spirit, the revealer of truth, can enable people to recover ‘forgotten’ memory, even the memory of an unborn child.
I went on another course called ‘Journey into Healing’ with the express intention of finding out how I was feeling when my mother was carrying me.
I was encouraged to lie on a mattress, curling up into a foetal position and breath deeply. I began to experience some very powerful emotions, including murderous rage.
I realized that I could never be what my mother wanted me to be because she was hoping for a little girl.
At last I had found the answer. My pain stemmed from feeling rejected while still in the womb. I found that the discovery of the truth set me free, as promised by Jesus (John 8:31-32).