Inner Child Work – First Time Blog for This Counselling Grandma

Hi all,

At the risk of showing my age I must admit that, as the heading shows, this is my first time ever blogging. but I do feel proud I am up to doing something new and challenging myself (and keeping up with the times, as my adult children would say). So now what to share…… I might start with something that is close to my heart.

Recently I have seen several clients who have really been benefiting form doing Inner Child work during our session together. So what is this and how do we do this, I hear you ask. So let me tell you a bit about this.

When a client is very distressed by something and the distress seems out of proportion to what has actually happened (or seems to come from a deeper, more reactive place-and often is repeated frequently), I may ask that person to close their eyes, take a few breaths, and sit with the feelings for a little while. Then I will ask something like ” how old do you feel now. What age does the feeling connect to?”. Often an age will automatically come up for the client (and surprise them in the process)and they will start to feel this age. I will then ask if I can speak to the child (part of the client, but at a younger age). Then I will speak in a very soft, loving and nurturing way , asking the child part of the person, what they are feeling and why, or what is happening for them. One client spoke of feeling about 4 or 5 and seeing themselves in a dark place. The child part spoke of feeling so scared and all alone and spoke in a childlike manner. Another client felt like a gangly teenager who was feeling lonely and not good enough. I then ask if the child will allow the adult part of them (I name the client by name) , to support or nurture or comfort them. if the answer is yes (and sometimes it is not, and that usually is because the client has been very harsh on themselves and their child part does not trust them to be loving to her) I will ask what they would like. Sometimes it can be a mental cuddle or hand on the shoulder. I ask the client to imagine comforting that sad/scared/lonely part of themselves (using their imagination). Sometimes clients visualise their small inner child, crawling into their lap. One client said the child part wanted to ride on her back, another wanted her adult part just to hold her hand and stand next to her. Its interesting what comes up. The child who felt she was alone in the dark, asked to be taken to a bright place outdoors and to play at tea parties with her adult self. Most of the clients are open to trying to visualise comforting their smaller self part. And I recommend they practice doing this at other times, when they feel sad or scared or lonely. Many report it really helps and I personally use this process frequently.

Of course before this work I do often explain a bit about the Inner Child process.

I explain that our Inner Child part, is that part that often feels childlike and causes us to behave in childlike or childish ways. It is often more emotionally reactive because it responds from feelings, unlike our adult part which is more likely to think and respond more logically. Its our soft, more vulnerable part which if treated well and is feeling safe, is the part where joy and fun come from. But most of us have had to hide that part away, to some extend, in order to survive a world where adults (eg. parents, teachers, older kids, and society around us) often do not meet our needs sufficiently, may criticise us, put us down or even physically and/or emotionally abuse us. The world can be an unsafe place for the sensitive part of ourselves. and for some more than others.

For those who have suffered abuse or more damaging events in childhood, this may apply :

“When our Inner Child is blocked, we are robbed of our natural spontaneity and zest for life. Over time this can lead to low energy, depression or even chronic or serious illness” Lucia Capacchione, Recovery of Your Inner Child p17.

What we all need is for our vulnerable, soft parts to be treated with love, respect, nurturing and gentle care. Many look for this from others and then get up set when they do not receive it. We look at our partners, friends, children, bosses, work mates, etc, etc to give us what we need. But often they can not, as they have their own unmet needs and are only non perfect humans (as we all are). The only person who can always be available to us, is our adult self. Thats why this Inner Child stuff is so powerful. It gives us a tool to give ourselves what we need in our deepest parts!!

Let me know if you have any experiences with this or what your thought s are and I hope a good discussion can be forth coming