Updated: Nov 27, 2021
I would like to share some of my reflections about Inner Child work which is based on my personal experience - personal development, knowledge and experience of working with people as a therapist.
You can only hold the space for others if you are able to hold yourself...and 'holding yourself' means to hold your child within...
This watercolour I painted many years ago, this is a copy of someone's else work (photography) I wish to give a credit to that artist-photographer but I do not remember, however, I remember I had such a strong feeling and I was so drawn to that image - visceral feeling.
Whatever therapeutic modality or intervention there is, without Carl Rogers’ core conditions such as empathy (process) and unconditional positive regard (attitude) and congruence (state of being) of the practitioner I do not see it to be effective for a long-lasting change. It is the quality of the therapeutic relationship that heals…it is not
about the intervention itself.
Whatever therapeutic modality or intervention there is, it is all about reconnecting, reclaiming and reparenting your inner child….during different stages/years of development.
That is the most difficult work which I have done in my life ( I am Polish I am not afraid of working hard but that kind of work was the hardest part of my journey). It is an ongoing process which I am certain is a lifelong process too.
When trauma happens, it is corrosive damage to the human psyche ...you never feel safe in the world...however organism itself is very clever, it helps the organism to survive... by dissociating, by adopting different survival strategies and then life ...wonderful life brings on our paths situations, people for us to heal and resolve our past traumas.
When I was studying Fine Art I created a concrete cast of a baby doll - at that time I did not understand what was going for me ... I did not have this level of awareness of what I have now. The way how I was working creatively it was a very organic and unfolding process. Until later when I started my counselling path I understood what all my work were about ....what was the reason for them and how they were related to my family history, my personal history and the child within.
Love comes from Mother and Boundaries comes from Father….usually because of their traumas in many cases, the message of what love and healthy boundaries are, was misleading, confusing or dysfunctional….
To be loved, to be accepted, to be cared for are basic needs. The love and care of an adult are not only the foundation for the child’s survival but are necessary for healthy development.
When a child’s basic needs are not met, movement of love is disrupted because of significant others’ trauma, the person transition into adulthood with a huge deficit within and spends time in a search for an object - the source of love later in life.
The person often gets into very toxic/codependent relationships - where often explains partner… as a child who explains a dysfunctional parent… full of hope waiting for that one day… one Christmas…. with the hope that change will happen… trying to fix or control or even manipulate others and situations...
All of that happens on a very deep unconscious level because it is so alien to look within, to fix themselves and take care of themselves, their lives…. replicating and reliving, very unconsciously, a very familiar dynamic from childhood.
Is so important to reconnect get in touch with the inner child, to acknowledge what was lacking/ missing, which needs were not met by significant others…
How it was for me?
To get in touch with loss and say goodbye to it in order to move forward...
..always with the respect... this is how it was, this is how it came to me.
When the child experienced fear.. traumas and when parents were without limits, harming the child, there was a violation … boundaries were violated, there were no healthy boundaries.
Later in life often it is difficult to set the limits/boundaries within yourself…
What about the ability to set limits/ boundaries for yourself?
First of all internal boundaries/ limits then external boundaries will adjust themselves.
The brain likes symbols and rituals. They represent something deep within us and for us.
Many years ago my therapist - a wonderful human being with whom I worked about 4 years, during one of our sessions when I was revisiting a traumatic event she said: I had got a bag of toys would you like me to bring it and we would see ....' I agreed. We sat on the floor I set up the scene, She was just beside me, holding the safe space.
Foundation is to listen to the inner child and to give love and care … …listen to feelings and cup of tea and bath and treat and put pillows around …. that is all good and without that …there is no way forward …there always will be hunger child within.
When you rebuild the connection between your inner adult and inner child and you can provide love and acceptance for your inner child…if you can do it for yourself - That is huge!
but are you able to set limits for yourself?
This does not serve me,
I am not going there…
I stop on here... on my second drink …
Foundation is to listen to the inner child and to give love and care … …listen to feelings and cup of tea and bath and treat and put pillows around …. that is all good and without that …there is not no way forward …there always will be hunger child within
there is another part of inner child work ...it can give headache to the inner adult - sabotage ideas, manipulate to get things its way, puts pressure on the inner adult or to deny skills, talents and abilities…wants to do nothing, laying in bed and waiting for …someone who finally will change everything….finally sees him/ her/ them, someone, who will notice skills and talents and will say: Yes, You can!
The foundation is to love, to listen, to accept unconditionally and to have empathy towards ourselves (inner child) but empathy works only where there are healthy boundaries.
The most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves.
Alongside my counselling training, I participated in many workshops to work with the child within, creatively and imaginatively. I know how powerful this way of working is, which helps to reconnect, reclaim and nurture the child within us…as a result, we are able to establish trusting relationships with ourselves - the most important relationship that is the foundation for a healthy relationship with others.
Thank you for reading.