As a therapist and trauma survivor myself, one of my all-time favorite quotes is “be the person you need it when you were younger”.
This is the essence of inner child healing.
Our childhood and teenage years are the most important years developmentally. This includes social emotional development, and also actual brain development. The experiences we go through when we were younger, actually rewire our brain.
We all have experiences when we were younger that made our inner child feel unseen, unloved, and misunderstood. Some of us have even had childhood trauma, where our inner child was actively hurt, betrayed, abused, or neglected.
There are many ways to begin to start the process of inner child, healing both in therapy and outside of therapy.
Below is a list of the top three ways to begin, and her child healing.
1. Parts work. There is a therapy technique called internal family systems, or IFS, that focuses on healing the parts of ourselves that are still wounded. Often, our inner wounds are younger parts of ourselves that have been left feeling alone, unloved or not good enough. The good news is that we can work to listen and understand what these younger parts have been through. And we can also work on healing these parts and giving them what they needed back then. This is a beautiful way to rewrite history.
2. Somatic experiencing. This is one of my favorite therapy techniques to do with clients in session but there are also ways for clients to do somatic experiencing work through guided meditation in between sessions too. The good and bad news is that our brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imaginary. The reason why this is helpful is because we can use somatic experiencing to feel what our inner child was going through and then imagine we got what we needed and have a felt sense of what that would be like. Because our brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined, we actually feel what it would be like for needs to have been met when we were younger. This also helps to rewrite history in the most beautiful way.
3. Play. This is something that can absolutely be done outside of therapy. It’s important to really get in touch with what your inner child loved and what made your inner child happy. If your inner child loved video games, it would be really healing to play video games more often in your adult life. If your child self loved Disney movies, it’s important to watch a Disney movie here and there. If your childhood self loved to run around in the forest, take some time to get out in nature more often. Taking some time to intentionally be silly and act in ways that are lighthearted and fun will make our inner child very happy. Your inner child may have had to carry burdens that were too heavy for a young person to carry. We went to help them lighten their load.
There are many other beautiful ways to help our inner child heal but above are some of the most effective I’ve seen.
More than anything else what her and her child needs is compassion. That is the most important place to start. And you can start by treating yourself kindly when you make mistakes in the present.
Let yourself off the hook for being imperfect. What all humans have in common is that we are imperfect in our lives are imperfect.
Having the awareness that your inner child needs healing is the first step, and I am beyond proud of anyone who is on this journey of giving your inner child what they need. Good work!
If you have any more questions about inner child work, ptsd or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.