The concept of the ‘inner child’ and ‘inner child healing’ has gained popularity in recent years. Find out more about how this metaphor can facilitate emotional healing and what to do if you are struggling with the concept.
Healing your inner child
Inner child healing is one of the core techniques in Analytical Hypnotherapy. A client who comes across the memory of traumatic childhood experience in hypnosis can be encouraged through the power of therapeutic re-enactment to go back and rescue their inner child.
I often invite clients to right past wrongs by blowing up schools, teachers, jettersing neglectful parents to black holes, or giving them a public telling off! It's amazing how effective this type of creative visualisation is in helping people to resign painful incidents to insignificance and stop them acting on emotional impulses in their real life.
I also use the technique to facilitate ego strengthening and positive self belief by gently showing clients how to embrace their inner child and awaken a more playful, creative part of themselves.
What if you can't find your inner child?
What if your inner child has gone AWOL and no matter how hard you try you just can't connect to that part of yourself?
I’ve had conversations with people upset because they had been unable to connect with their inner child using guided visualisations. They were worried because no matter how hard they tried, when they were invited to meet their inner child the image just wouldn’t come. They felt that part of themselves was totally absent. They felt like they just didn’t get it.
Does this mean they have failed?
Is there something seriously wrong with them?
Are they beyond the help of therapy?
This isn’t unusual. I’ve worked with lots of clients who can’t connect with the inner child metaphor. There are a couple of possible reasons why:
It's not the right technique for you
The inner child is simply a metaphor. Like most things mind-related, it's just a theory we use to understand something that we cannot see.
I teach inner child healing on the Practitioner diploma because it is a tried and tested approach that is extremely effective in resolving childhood trauma and issues like depression, anxiety and low self esteem.
BUT inner child doesn’t work for everyone.
Your mind is as unique as your fingerprint. You have your own very personal inner language, a library of images, symbols, memories, thoughts and sensations.
In Analytical Hypnotherapy we use analysis and hypnosis as tools to facilitate healing. If a particular metaphor or technique doesn’t resonate, it’s the therapist’s job to recognise that and reach into their metaphorical toolkit and find something that does work. For example, past life regression, dream analysis, psycho-spiritual healing, symbolism, free association, ego states - each session is an eclectic blend of many different techniques that are as unique as the client.
A cookie cutter approach to therapy just won’t cut it.
HOW your mind goes about the process of resolving trauma and emotional wounds doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that your mind has the opportunity and tools to heal.
This is where Analytical Hypnotherapy is so different to more prescriptive approaches and why it is such a dynamic, creative and truly client-centred discipline.
On the last practitioner training course weekend, students learned to blend therapeutic techniques using their newly acquired knowledge, intuition and experience to create a unique treatment strategy for their practice clients. The trainees understand that their clients are an ever-changing, evolving organic being, and their skill as a therapist is to meet the client where they are at in any given moment.
The role of RESISTANCE
Another reason why you may not yet be able to connect to your inner child is resistance. If you find connecting with your inner child difficult, there is usually a very good reason. Your mind may be protecting you from emotions, memories, realisations that its not ready to process yet.
Therapy should be gentle, safe and led by your subconscious mind; it knows exactly what needs to examined and in what order. Resistance should be treated with respect and never like something that has to be smashed up with a therapeutic sledge hammer.
Don’t give up
You will probably find that as you progress through the therapeutic process and make your way through the minds layers of protection, your inner child will start to emerge.
Whatever the reason for having a missing inner child, don't give up. Find a therapist that has the skill, patience and experience to help you to navigate your way through therapy in your own way and in your own time.
Are you a complementary therapist, coach or practitioner looking for a way to enhance your work with clients?
Would you like to have the skills and confidence to help those clients who you know need deeper work to resolve their issues?