To fully understand the potential power of inner child work therapy, it is important to first be made conscious of what the ‘inner child’ is and how it impacts our daily lives. The term ‘inner child’ is used by therapists and healers to denote the aspects of childlike behaviour that are held within our subconscious mind. Our inner child has both positive and negative characteristics that influence our actions and personality as adults. For example, your carefree joy of life may be attributed to your inner child, but so may your impulsiveness and self-destructive habits. Inner child work therapy connects an adult with their younger self in an attempt to heal trauma and unravel emotional damage.
Why does my ‘inner child’ affect my behaviour as an adult?
It is common to believe that once we have reached adulthood, our childlike mentalities have been pushed aside by our mature minds. However, for many of us, this is not the case. Childhood experiences can cause us to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that are rooted in the hurt and anger of our youth. The negative aspects of the inner child can often manifest themselves in situations that prompt emotions like stress, anger, and frustration. This is because, for many adults, childhood was the period of life in which emotional repression was learned. Children are prone to react negatively to misplaced behavioural correction or habitual reprimands for expressing emotion. As a child, were you ever encouraged not to cry or show weakness when hurt or disappointed? Do you recall your expressions of opinion being met with ridicule or dismissal? While these situations may seem inconsequential, they teach us a lesson that we carry into adulthood: emotional expression is shameful and must be avoided at all costs.
This teaching sinks into both our conscious and unconscious minds and begins to influence our behaviour in ways we often cannot acknowledge without guidance. Do you feel panicked at the thought of socialising with strangers at a party? Do you have difficulty developing emotional connections? Are you prone to experience unprovoked bouts of anger? These behaviours are often linked to childhood experiences that left a negative impact. Your pre-adolescence and adolescence dictates many of the beliefs and behaviours that you exhibit as an adult; childhood emotional avoidance can create moments of internal conflict well into adulthood.
I’m frequently asked why emotional repression can manifest itself in adulthood as anxiety, depression, or anger management issues. One of the analogies I use to explain this conflict utilises the concept of repression as a splinter in the bottom of your foot. Initially, ignoring the discomfort of the splinter may be less painful than removing it. However, the longer the splinter is left in the skin, the more painful removal may become. Childhood emotional repression causes psychological wounds that inner child work therapy helps to uncover, identify, and treat.
Through hypnotherapy, we gently address these mental ‘splinters’ and use our natural resources to heal them in a safe and trusting environment.
What is inner child work therapy, really?
At its core, inner child work therapy employs techniques that unlock the voice of the inner child. As your intuitive life coach, my job is to help you release your feelings of doubt, hurt, and shame through guided meditation and increased suggestibility. Inner child work through hypnotherapy does not require the constant rehashing of painful memories. Hyperfocus and deep relaxation allow clients to explore their past from a safe mental ‘distance’ and experience profound healing without the misery of re-traumatisation. Our unconscious mind holds many of the negative emotions we feel, so it’s only fitting that this is where the growth and healing occurs. For us to heal our inner child, we must be gentle with ourselves as we seek healing.
Mindful meditation, both passive and active, is used to help retrieve memories that have been buried deep in the subconscious due to pain and hurt. The writing of letters to your childhood self aids in the recalling of feelings of innocence, excitement, and joy that were present before the trauma occurred. Internalising positive words of affirmation and kindness can be used during hypnotherapy as a comfort from elder-self to young self. These phrases are usually simple, but powerful, and can include: I see you, I hear you, and I love you.
Inner child work therapy is never ‘one size fits all’. Your experiences have made you who you are; every method utilised in healing must be tailored to mend the wounds from your own personal journey.
Why is hypnotherapy beneficial during inner child work therapy?
The ages of 0-7 are the most formative years of a human’s life. These years are often referred to as the “programming years” due to the high influence of children in these stages. Children spend the first seven years of their lives in the alpha and theta brainwave cycles, which are responsible for daydreaming, deep emotional connections, and utter relaxation. These are the brainwaves that are tuned into during hypnosis and, for this reason, hypnotherapy is the perfect tool for accessing and healing the inner child.
Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that directly deals with the subconscious mind and the subconscious thought processes. Unlike methods used in narrative therapy, which requires extensive verbalisation, my use of hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) does not reopen mental wounds or cause additional emotional scarring. As a certified hypnotherapist, I am trained to aid in the healing of trauma in ways that are both safe and calming to my client; inner child work therapy does not have to be scary or painful to be effective.
The key to unlocking healing is working in this suggestive state to relieve clients of their harmful learned behaviours and coping mechanisms. In addition to using hypnotherapy and NLP, I also use the ancient Hawaiian practice of hoʻoponopono (the practice of forgiveness and reconciliation) to subconsciously remove these negative patterns and beliefs. Using these techniques, I will guide you through activities that will aid you in the elevation of joy and gratitude in your daily life.
Similar to past life regression therapy, inner child work therapy allows clients to reach deep into their mind and reconnect with pieces of themselves they may have lost or never known. We often unknowingly internalise feelings of guilt and shame and carry these feelings into adulthood as subconscious burdens and insecurities. Inner child work therapy works to rebalance and reharmonise our inner child with our adult self by exposing, addressing, and repairing trauma.
Inner child work can be the ideal therapy for situations ranging from what to do when you feel stuck to the management of emotions from severe traumatic experiences. Acknowledging that your actions are influenced by events in your childhood may be difficult at first. Trust me, I understand! Before I began my journey to healing and my soul-purpose, I had to undergo the same process of admittance and acceptance that you may be struggling with now. In my 15 years as a life coach, I have aided in the healing and mental realignment of countless clients. The first step to a permanent, positive change lies in your intention and the strength of you; ultimately, it is up to you and your commitment to living your best life. I believe in your power to positively rewrite the story of your life – if I can do it, so can you!