Our Inner Child Working on it In Counselling - How It Can Help & What Happens To Us When We Don't Listen To It?

ONCE UPON A TIME .........

We were all once children, and we still have that child simmering within us. But most of us adults are blissfully unaware of this. ?‍?‍?

And As Freud wrote about .... this lack of conscious relatedness to our own inner child is exactly where so many behavioral, emotional and relationship difficulties stem from.

The truth is that the majority of so-called adults are not truly adults at all. We all grow old but speaking on a psychological level, this is not adulthood. True adulthood or in other words a mature outlook is based on acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for loving and parenting one's own inner child.

The sad reality is for most adults, this never happens. Instead, their inner child has had a lifetime of being denied, neglected, disparaged, abandoned or rejected. We are told by family and society to "grow up". Does this sound familiar? ??

Transactional Analysis theory (TA) talks about the child ego state - this is what we all have the capacity to resort to when we feel threatened

WHEN WE BECOME ADULTS

To become grown ups, ??? we've been taught that our inner child-representing our child-like capacity for innocence, wonder, awe, joy, sensitivity and playfulness--must be stifled, quarantined or even killed. How many of us tell ourselves to stop being so sensitive? so childish? to grow a pair? To stop making a fuss and just get on with it?

This childlike part of us comprises and potentiates positive qualities. But it also holds our accumulated childhood hurts, traumas, fears and angers.

Most us "Grown-ups" are convinced they have successfully outgrown and left this child-and its emotional baggage-long behind. But this couldn't be further from the truth.

Adults are unwittingly being constantly influenced or covertly controlled by this unconscious inner child. The slam of the door in anger, the shaking of fists at another driver, shouting when in a disagreement, the throwing of plates and pans or anything we can get our hands on .... the list can be endless. We might look like grown ups , but inside is a scared, angry child old who trusts no one and is calling most the shots.

At times it may feel we have been possessed and controlled by this out of control being!


 

TALKING TO THE LITTLE PERSON INSIDE US

Working on our inner child can help increase self-efficacy

For many, it is not an adult self directing their lives, but rather an emotionally wounded inner child residing in our adult body. So how about taking a little time out -  just a couple of minutes even and have a little one to one with your inner child? You could try writing your inner child a letter. Or perhaps write a letter from your inner child to your adult self?

It must be pretty tough being the inner child ... always being pushed aside until it explodes. Perhaps a time for a pause and give your inner child a little loving? A hug even and just let it know you do understand? Let it know you do care enough to listen to what it is trying to tell you.

Just giving your inner child a little time and love can be life changing. Giving it some nurture instead of ignoring it.

TYPES OF THERAPIES THAT WORK

Working with your inner child’ can sound a Koo koo. But this is a psychotherapeutic concept that arose with Jung, and many therapists use forms of inner child work as a powerful tool to help clients.  
In psychology, this part of your unconscious that represents the child you once were, and manifests as a sort of ‘other personality’ in social interactions, is often referred to as the ‘inner child’.
Different types of therapists, counsellors, and coaches will have different approaches to this aspect of therapy. Some therapist might not even call the process ‘inner child work’, but instead something along the lines of ‘healing the child within’ or ’embracing your child archetype’.You might even be doing inner child work under the guise of ‘shadow work’. Often it is as a child that we learn to repress things like sadness and anger that then become the hidden shadow. Inner Child Work can take the form of

  • dialoguing (talking) with your inner child
  • photo journaling from your inner child’s voice
  • talking with a therapist from your inner child’s voice
  • meditating to feel in touch with your inner child
  • working with a pillow, doll or stuffed toy that represents your inner child
  • ‘play’ techniques in the therapy room
  • allowing yourself to be playful if real life and do things you loved as a child
  • learning to ‘parent’ yourself (nurture and care for yourself).
  • Sandplay
  • Writing a letter from your inner child's voice to your adult self.

WORK IT CAN HELP WITH

The issues that inner child work is known to be very suitable for include:

  • childhood abuse
  • depression and anxiety
  • anger management issues
  • passive aggressive behaviour
  • low self-esteem
  • abandonment issues borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • emotional numbness
  • self-sabotage
  • self-criticism
  • relationship difficulties
  • codependency and powerlessness.

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