Inner Child Therapy
Virtually every talk therapy approach acknowledges and ascribes some meaning to the inner child.
Inner Child therapy has many therapeutic applications in counseling. One of the first comprehensive methods of reparenting the Inner Child in therapy was originated by Art Therapist, Dr. Lucia Capacchione, in 1976 and documented in her book, Recovery of Your Inner Child (1991). Using art therapy and journaling techniques, her method includes a Nurturing Parent and Protective Parent within (Inner Family Work) to care for ones physical, emotional, creative and spiritual needs (her definition of the Inner Child). It also acknowledges a Critical Parent Within and provides tools for managing it.
Penny Park’s book “Rescuing the inner child’ published in 1990 was also one of the first programmes for contacting and recovering the inner child. John Bradshaw, a U.S. educator, pop psychology and self-help movement leader, famously used “inner child” to point to unresolved childhood experiences and the lingering dysfunctional effects of childhood dysfunction. In this way “inner child” refers to all of the sum of mental-emotional memories stored in the sub-conscious from conception onwards
Virtually every talk therapy approach acknowledges and ascribes some meaning to the inner child, even if they use a different label. Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) has expanded the concept considerably in recognizing that there isn’t just one inner child subpersonality, but many. IFS points to wounded inner child subpersonalities calling them “exiles” because they tend to be excluded from waking thought in order to avoid/defend against the pain and trauma carried in those memories.
This is technique of therapy in which our inner Child/ Children can be accessed by an adult self and trauma and negative conditioning can be positively addressed.
the inner Child is a wondrous part of us; spontaneous; fun; mischievous; the sparkling part of our personality. The converse being that the child within can throw tantrums, behave unreasonably or inappropriately.
The unconscious mind and the body store hidden painful experiences out of consciousness so if there has been trauma or damage in childhood, the spontaneous inner child is damaged, and cannot find an outlet (is exiled/rejected; the very thing we seek to avoid from others) ; depriving many of the enjoyment and fun that brings. If there has been negative conditioning in childhood, ie the child continually told he/she is “Stupid”, “worthless”, or “you will never amount to much ” … the adult will always have low self esteem/worth, and never believe they can achieve.
Childhood traumas are often ignored, or swept under the carpet, by adults around them. Family bereavements etc were seldom explained to children a few years ago, therefore the child’s feelings were never validated, or dealt with. The self worth again is diminished and shadow areas within the psyche established at that stage.
It is important to reclaim these exiled children and replace their negative conditioning with a more realistic view to allow the adult personality to be in control rather than the damaged and defensive child. Unless these ARE brought out into the light, looked at and dealt with, they can be crippling and can mean that the bearer will never achieve their full potential. Childhood abuse of any kind can also be dealt with and much of the fear, low self esteem, inhibition and sadness lifted.
Inner child work is a powerful tool and frees and releases hidden emotions within that can lead to all kinds of problems if not dealt with.
Inner Child Work is designed to sensitively and positively deal with these events by healing; not re-traumatising; enabling the client to take back control of their thinking, their behaviours and as a result… their lives.
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