In 1990, Oprah hosted a healing childhood trauma meditation that had people in tears in two minutes
Oprah had people opening up about trauma years before it was commonplace.
Oprah Winfrey was a pioneer when it came to breaking taboos surrounding trauma, therapy and self-help. She also put her career on the line by coming out about being abused as a child, years before it was commonplace for celebrities to speak about their trauma.
In September 1990, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” aired an iconic episode titled “Childhood Wounds Seminar,” featuring educator and motivational speaker John Bradshaw. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Bradshaw was a popular guest on television talk shows as a “psycho-vangelist” who combined elements of developmental psychology, touches of philosophy and theology, and a flair for the dramatic to help his patients and the studio audience.
Bradshaw wrote multiple bestsellers including, “Healing the Shame That Binds You” (1988) and “Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child” (1990). He passed away in 2016 at 82.
In this episode, Bradshaw led Oprah’s audience in a 7-minute guided meditation where he asked them to revisit themselves in their homes as children and rescue them from a traumatic situation. At the two-minute mark, audience members begin to visibly weep as they look their childhood selves in the eyes.
"I’m the one that wrote the letter and I'm coming to get you. I want you to come home with me. I know better than anybody what you've been through,” Bradshaw asks the audience members to tell their younger selves.
"And if it scares you to leave with me, then you can stay here, I'll come visit you,” he continued. “But if you're willing to leave, go get your little bag packed." He then asked the audience to visualize themselves taking the child from the traumatic house and bringing them into a life of safety.
“You have to leave that home.”
“You have a power greater than your parents.”
“Welcome to the world; I'm so glad you're here.”
"We're gonna have fun together, and I love you just the way you are."
Just because someone is “family” doesnt mean they can treat someone anyways they want. #chatswithchass
Even though the episode first aired nearly 33 years ago, it still affects people in a deep way. Recently, the clip was shared on TikTok by Anonymousally98 as a post titled, "How I healed my wounded inner child in 7 minutes w an episode of Oprah."
The video received over 4 million views and got passionate responses from viewers.
"Bawled my eyes out. I needed this. Thank you so much for sharing," Kayresha Naidoo-Martin commented on the post. "I balled like a f***ing baby!! I had my husband and 2 boys waiting for me. I now see that I raise them the way I always wanted to be but never was," Ashlee Marine added.
"I brought my inner child around the corner to meet my son and see his face and how much he would have loved little me," Erika Michele wrote.
In hindsight, it’s beautiful that Winfrey had the tenacity in the dog-eat-dog world of daytime television to create programming that was not only entertaining but healing at the same time. It’s a testament to her incredible talents as a broadcaster and producer that, so many years later, her work still resonates with millions.