Inner Child Therapy
What do we mean by ‘Inner Child’?
When something traumatic like sexual, physical or emotional abuse happens to a person as a child, part of that person can get ‘stuck’ at that age and as an adult they carry within them the hurt feelings, confusion and terrible memories of childhood. This ‘inner child’ still needs to be heard, reassured and comforted; often these things did not happen at the time.
“Getting in touch with our wounded inner children can be scary when it lets out feelings of fear, anger, pain, and sadness. The feelings seem huge because they’ve been bottled up like genies for all those years. But listening to the child-parts brings wholeness over time.” Jane Rowan, Caring for the Child Within – A Manual for Grownups.
To begin with it may feel like we are in an internal battle – the adult part of us knows what happened was not our fault and understands there is no need to feel afraid anymore, but the child part of us carries huge amounts of guilt and fear. It can feel like our head and heart just won’t match up.
It can be tempting to shout at or shut up the child part of us because we desperately want to move on with our lives. This won’t help though, because the child needs to be heard and understood before it can allow us to move on.
In working with the inner child in counselling I can support you to find ways to let the emotions from childhood out and be a sensitive and caring parent to your own inner child, allowing negative experiences to be processed and integrated. I always work with trauma at the client’s pace and with them guiding the way. Interaction between adult and child parts of you can be done through writing, speaking or visualisation.
Work with ‘inner child’ parts of the self can form just one part of a program of therapy or can be a very powerful focus of the counselling.