We were all at one time children. And the child you once were did not just up and vanish to be replaced by a perfectly formed, always responsible adult. Indeed, most of us act very much like children at least now and then. And some of us, if we had a tough or loveless childhood, are actually children most (if not all) of the time. We might look like an adult, but inside is an angry five-year old who trusts no one and is secretly calling the shots.
‘Inner child work’ is work you do either by yourself or with a therapist to resolve the childhood emotions and experiences the ‘inner child’ still holds, as well as harness the joy, innocence, and confidence that are your birthright.
Different types of therapists, counselors, and coaches will have different approaches to inner child work. Your therapist might not even call the process ‘inner child work’, but instead something along the lines of 'parts psychology,' ‘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.
Really, inner child work is any form of self discovery that helps you access the child you once were, along with the experiences and emotions that child was taught to repress. The general idea of inner child work is that if you make an effort to contact, listen to, communicate with and nurture your inner child, you can find and heal the roots of your issues as an adult.
What is the real benefit of doing inner child work?
The benefits are impressive and include:
Inner child work can address such issues as: