Elicia created the Core Emotional Healing® process as the culmination of 10 years of intensive training, personal healing, and empathic intuitive gifts. Based on her personal and professional experience, she developed a guided step-by-step process to address the emotional root cause of symptoms and suffering.
Elicia provides insightful, direct, compassionate guidance to inspire and support others to be responsible for how they feel, ask for what they want, and to set healthy boundaries. She helps others feel safe and supported so they are empowered to freely express their true selves.
She is the author of the ebook Detox 101 and coauthor of the books, One Crazy Broccoli and What’s Left to Eat. Her new book, Your Symptoms Are A Gift, to be released in 2019, is an inspirational guide to help readers realize the emotional connection to their symptoms. The book details the Core Emotional Healing® process to help anyone heal from physical, emotional, and relationship challenges.
Along with her husband, Psychologist Doug Miller, PhD, Elicia offers Core Emotional Experiential Therapy Private Healing Immersion for individuals and couples in Costa Rica.
Tell us about the work that you do and how you started on that journey.
Elicia grew up with a rageaholic father who controlled all of the emotions in the household. Elicia knew what was happening was wrong but when she would try to stand up to him, she would be shamed by her mother for doing so. Elicia coped by numbing herself through drinking, drugs, and sex. She had a lifetime of repression and shaming of her emotions.
When she was 38 she had been healing herself for 8 years using every healing modality she could find. She realized that the pain she had been feeling was connected to her childhood. She knew she needed to take care of her emotional needs from the past and the present. And then everything went away. Her addictions, eating disorders and relationship patterns. She found a deeper connection to herself to take care of herself on an emotional level.
There were several years where you were struggling with addiction. It sounds like there was a point where you shifted from drugs and drinking to detoxing and spirituality. When did that shift happen?
Elicia left an abusive marriage after 3 months when she was 30. That was when she decided to stop living an unconscious life. She asked herself - ‘what made her choose him?’ An experiential therapy course helped wake her up. She realized she could take care of herself and make decisions for herself. She didn’t need somebody else to do that. She started taking lots of courses and connected with helping people in that way. She left her corporate sales job and became a journaling coordinator. She started creating after telling herself she wasn’t creative all her life. She started to feel real happiness. From this deeper connection within herself, she stopped partying and going out. It didn’t stay that way though, things came up which threw her back into her old coping ways.
You mentioned that you had all these symptoms in your life but were then able to get to the root cause. How do people access the root cause in their lives?
It’s not just healing and going back and feeling these repressed emotions. It also working from your experience. What did you believe about yourself? What did you do to protect these wounds and feel love? We live from this false sense of self that formed from the core wounds. Addressing the core wounds can help shift everything but we need to be aware of what we really need and what we do to get our needs met. But some of the ways we get these needs met are preventing us from living life fully.
Let’s use the example of your story. You had a dominant, controlling father and knew this from a young age. Often we can see that somebody mistreated us but what is the actual wound?
There are many wounds. We struggle with the emotional disconnection from our vulnerable self. We don’t process our feelings and take care of them. The disconnect is what causes the problem. We have to reconnect to the vulnerable part of ourselves. Elicia calls this our wounded inner child.
If somebody is listening to this and wondering about their wounded child is, what’s a question they could start with?
The wounded inner child is a part of ourselves that we all carry. It is the wounds we are trying to compensate for. It is the part of ourselves that doesn’t feel good enough or needs to be right or always feels sad. It gets triggered. Or wants to find a way to feel better instead of feeling what it is feeling. The wounded inner child is the part of you that needs you to go into these feelings and take care of them. It is underneath all of the adaptations we form to cope with the world. Things like people pleasing or perfectionism.
Is there a specific question that can help access the hurt or the wound?
Triggers can be a way into the wounded inner child. How do I feel? When did I first feel that way? A trigger is when you feel disproportionately angry or sad or you withdraw from what just happened. Ask yourself - ‘When did I feel that way as a child?’
What’s your relationship with your dad like now?
Elicia has managed to heal her relationship with her father. It took until she was 38 and she had to stop talking to him completely. After her father divorced her mother he went to therapy and did a lot of healing himself. He has become a more loving and supportive person. Elicia has also worked out what she needs and where she can get it from, so she is no longer looking to her father to give her that.
Can you tell me a bit more about experiential therapy?
Experiential therapy is more of an active process than talk therapy. It uses other people to act out roles and situations. Someone might act as a parent and this helps draw the true feelings out of you. It can help bypass our defenses. Elicia and her husband developed a process called Core Emotional Experiential Therapy which uses over 100 objects to work someone through this process. They use the objects to lay out relationships which can bypass defenses and bring out the subconscious.
Sometimes we can get caught up on this never-ending ‘fix-it’ mentality. Do you think this could be another part of the wounded child?
There are a few things that could be going on. Never feeling good enough comes from toxic shame and can drive people to continuously want to improve themselves. Reading self-help books can be a way of bypassing what is really needed which is emotional healing. Books can support the process, but focusing on them can be about bypassing the emotions.
There are a lot of layers to this.
The process is about reconnecting to your emotions and wounds, and then learning how to take care of yourself. Then when you do that you can handle more things. Then more things come up but you know how to work with them on an ongoing basis.
What does it really mean to be self-aware?
You are the observer of yourself. You notice when you are in a pattern. You notice when you don’t feel good. You notice that something keeps happening. To be self-aware is to continue to seek help when you are in some kind of pattern or are triggered by something. The more we heal our emotional wounds the more we integrate our true self. From that place, we are really able to be our true selves.
It’s funny how we think we can know ourselves. We think ‘I am not a creative person’ and then realize that we are that way. It’s a huge shift in identity.
Elicia used to say that she wasn’t a writer. This comes from wounding. Now she writes all the time. But as a child what she had to say was dismissed, especially by her mother. Her true and authentic voice got blocked. And the protection of that was to say - ‘I’m not a good writer.’ Once she healed herself she was able to write and connect to her creative authentic voice.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Just keep writing.
Do you feel that because you have done so much work, the depth of beauty, joy, and peace has expanded?
Absolutely. When she had really connected and healed with her inner child, Elicia started singing and making up songs. That is a part of her natural expression which came out as a joyful playfulness.
Tell me how we can get in touch with you.
Healing The Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Charles L. Whitfield M.D.
The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You by Karla McLaren