Inner-child work, sometimes known as inner-child therapy or inner-child healing, is a therapeutic process used in many forms of therapy to help clients address and recover from harmful, maladaptive experiences that occurred in early childhood. It focuses on assisting individuals in accessing and re-experiencing any repressed memories and emotions to cultivate awareness, acceptance, and healing. One of the goals of inner-child work is to allow “childlike patterns to gradually evolve into adult life,” or, in other words, to allow the “healthy integration of the inner child as part of a whole adult.”
The inner child may have a wide range of needs, experiences, personality traits, and ages. Even as a person ages, their inner child remains a component of their psyche.
This is an approach I integrate as needed and only when my clients show enough agency to process old painful wounds. We take a slow and safe approach assuring that healing will result. How the session looks always varies and depends at what stage of the healing we are at. What it could include or look like:
- Meeting and dialoguing with your inner child.
- Renegotiating old painful experiences.
- Journaling from your inner child’s voice and/or non dominant hand journaling and drawing.
- Meditating and connecting to your inner child
- Re-parenting tools
- Play – opening up the possibilities to reclaim your inner child’s playfulness and freedom.
Benefits of Inner child work:
- improved quality of life
- reduced symptoms of depression
- reduced anxiety
- improved responses that are proportionate to the situation
- improved functioning
- integration of ego states
- better interpersonal relationships
- improved vitality
- returned sense of child-like wonder
- improved emotional regulation and maturity
- greater authenticity and whole-person behavior