The way we function and react in our daily life has its roots in the survival strategies that we learned as a child. Everybody has been through events in their childhood that they could not fully process at the time. These events can leave an emotional charge that will be activated in our present life. It is therefore important to process this emotional charge. As adults we have the strength and the power to do this, by working through the impact of certain events and the emotions connected to them. We can deal with emotions that seemed unbearable to us as children.
During our childhood we also learn to interprete reality in a certain way. We learned rules and beliefs, some of which will have a restraining effect on our personal development. Inner child therapy aims to uncover these beliefs and transform them into personal strengths and positive affirmations.
Healing the past in the present
Our past lingers on in our present. The way we have been treated as a child determines how we treat ourselves.
As children we develop coping strategies to help us not to feel pain. These strategies are still active in the present and block our personal development.
We so much want to believe we had a happy childhood, or we are told that the past is the past and we have to learn to live with what has been and that our parents have done the best they could. These are ways in which our ego tries to hold on to the image of an idealistic childhood. If we can let go of the illusion we can live in the here and now. We use a lot of energy in suppressing feelings like pain, fear, anger and sorrow that can be used in a better way.
Healing the child within is something that happens in the HERE AND NOW.
Inner-child therapy can help us to become familiar with our inner world, let go of the fear of our own and other people’s emotions, develop self confidence and self-love, develop new ways of life.
Here are a number of questions that can help you decide whether inner-child work would be good for you.
- Is it very important to you what other people think of you?
- Do you worry about what could happen in the future?
- Do you find it difficult to express your emotions?
- Do you have a strong sense of responsibility?
- Do you sometimes feel empty inside, not clear in your mind, dazed, not really present?
- Are you afraid to be criticized?
- Are you a perfectionist and are you critical of yourself?
- Do you find it difficult to give priority to your own needs instead of other people’s needs?
- Do you find it difficult to ask for something for yourself?
- Are you afraid to let people come too close, to become too intimate?
- Do you react in an unhealthy way to authority?
- Are you afraid to be alone?
- Are you afraid to make mistakes?
- Do you often have neck and backache, and/or muscular pain, and/or headache, and/or stomach ache and/or fatigue?
- Are you compulsive in drinking, eating, drugs, gambling, money spending, TV watching, work, sport and so on….?
- Do you often do what you HAVE to do and find out that there is no time left for what you WANT to do?
- Do you find it difficult to relax and just enjoy life?
- Do you feel blocked in your creativity and/or sexuality?
- Do you feel guilty, not good enough and/or feel shame?
- Are you troubled with doubts and indecision?
- Do you have expectations about what other people or events can do for you? For example: if I have a relationship then I know I’m ok, if I find a new house then I feel happy, etc.
- Do you often feel helpless?
- Do you give away the responsibility for your emotional well-being to people close to you? (for example: your partner, etc.)
All these questions can point to emotional issues still affecting the ‘inner-child’ that we carry within ourselves.
If you resonate with some of these questions, inner-child work can mean a lot to you.