There are variations to how ‘Inner Child Work’ and the concept of the ‘Inner Child’ are described. TFBB follows on from the theories that state that we all have an Inner Child and this is often the part of us that needs to heal when it comes to trauma from our childhood and within our family systems. We are complex beings and there are many sides to us that make up who we are. It may be helpful to imagine the Inner child as your child self that still lives within your psyche.
Inner Child Work is when you work at healing your childhood trauma through a process of re-parenting yourself. It is about processing your childhood memories (often they are emotional memories) and putting them into your adult brain and perceptions. This requires you to re-experience these emotions safely and release them. You challenge false beliefs you have about yourself and the world. You learn about your emotional needs and seek to discover who you authentically are. In order to do this work, it is helpful to conceptualise what the Inner child is and what it means to you as an individual. It is a process of seeking to understand yourself and how you came to be who you are.
The Inner child is the part of you that holds your joy, creativity, playfulness, freedom of spirit, fun and positivity. Think of an actual child. A child that see’s the good in the world. A child that is innocent and full of laughter, dreams and light-heartedness. We all have this inside us.
We also hold our trauma in our Inner Child. When we experience something difficult as a child and this experience is not processed, it can become a trauma. As children, we do not have the brain development to regulate our own emotions and make sense of our experiences. We require help and guidance with this. Thus it is impossible not to have some degree of childhood trauma because it is impossible for someone to meet all our needs, especially when we do not have language to ask for what we need.
Some people hold a lot more trauma than others and this can impact the degree to which the more joyful aspects of the Inner child are accessed and experienced. When we do not heal our trauma, it becomes harder and harder to access our joy and happiness as these two things sit in the same place inside us.
Inner Child Work is an ongoing process but there are methods to specifically work through your childhood trauma therapeutically in order to heal parts of yourself that have become an issue in your life.