Healing your 'inner child'
What is an inner child?
We all have an inner child. It is who we are when we were born, our natural relational core self. That includes our natural feelings, personality, playfulness, intuition, spontaneity, curiosity, passion, joy, sense of wonder and creativity. Our inner child is our right-brain, inner experience as felt through our bodies. It is the place of our gut feelings.
So the question is, how do we work with our injured inner child; an individual whose profound needs have not been met at a young age and continues to feel alone, empty and struggle to relate in a safe and secure way with others?
This requires revisiting the history by accessing the primal wound that the self has experienced.
Overcoming defences/cognitive distortions.
However, as it is a painful experience, automatically your self is sending signals to activate your defences in order to avoid connecting with the pain. This can be done in by triggering negative automatic thoughts (NAT’s) or by removing you from the present moment in the form of thinking about the future by worrying or ruminating.
Negative automatic thoughts can be worked with thought diaries, behavioural experiments to challenge them and replace them with more helpful ones and rumination with distraction and relaxation.
Relating to the inner child.
However, it is a necessity to be able to bring yourself back to the present moment so you can get in touch with the wounded inner child, connect with the void, the loneliness that he had experienced and offer to that part of yourself re-assurance and comfort. Relate to that younger part of yourself from an adult position and engage in a nurturing dialogue. Therefore, the healing comes from acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for loving and parenting your inner child. Remember, if you had a critical parent, it is likely that you will have internalised that resulting to an inner critical voice towards the inner child!
Adult (present) -> inner child (past).
The more you visit that painful part of yourself the more you diffuse its intensity. You need to remind your inner child that you are safe now and that the pain will pass. As an adult you are more resilient, you have more resources to use and reach out to other people to meet your needs.
By engaging in an internal dialogue with that younger part of yourself as an adult to a child and offering to that inner child what you lack of only then, integration of the self comes and true adulthood and completeness is reached.
True adulthood hinges on acknowledging. For most adults, this never happens.
If you are interested more in this type of work, take action and book a therapy session.