Bringing Up the Inner Child
Bringing Up the Inner Child
by Sabine Cox
Inner Child Work has been a staple of psychotherapeutic work for a while now. First developed as a therapeutic tool in the ’80s, the concept of the Inner Child has been around for aeons –whole societies have been built on the ideals of innocence and purity as witnessed in the archetypal child.
’Traditional’ Inner Child Work is mainly done to uncover and heal debilitating childhood wounds and traumas that keep the client stuck in unhealthy and damaging patterns. But this work can only go so far because often the Inner Child still ends up carrying all responsibility for all our feelings. In order to avoid that we need something more: we need to bring up the Inner Child, allowing it to grow into a healthy and strong Inner Adult.
The process is essentially the same as in any other Inner Child Work: uncovering the original wound, experiencing the pain of that original moment, finding out what would be needed to reduce or release that pain, and doing this as best possible. In Inner Adult Work there are just a few steps added to the process.
- First of all, there needs to be an understanding of the Inner Adult. In most persons the Inner Adult is present but often it is not very well developed. It is important for the client to discover where and when she is already taking appropriate responsibility in her life, where she sets healthy boundaries and in what situations it is easy for her to follow her intuition without doubt or fear. All these are signs of the Inner Adult at work. Sometimes it takes a bit of detective work to find, but up to now I haven’t had a client whose Inner Adult was not present at all.
- Secondly, the Inner Adult needs to be present in the work at all times. If the Inner Child needs help and support, the Inner Adult has to be the first line of defence called in – and if the Inner Adult doesn’t feel up to the task, other help (angels, guides, Higher Self, etc.) can be called in. This is important because, just like a child out there in the world, our Inner Child needs a primary caregiver, and that caregiver is the Inner Adult.
- Thirdly, the Inner Adult needs training in his new task, and good training includes practice and theory. The client needs to learn new concepts of caring, responsibility, possibility, etc.; he needs to develop his own ideas, beliefs and thoughts about his life and goals; and he needs to practise being with his Inner Child. The best way to do this is to check in with the Inner Child on a daily basis (I often suggest that my clients go on a walk with their Inner Child and talk to him as if he was skipping right alongside them). That way they can explore new ideas and new learning from all angles.
Bringing up the Inner Child is not always fast or easy – but it is worthwhile. It enables us to create our own life exactly as we feel it inside. It builds self-esteem and self-confidence, creates tolerance and acceptance, and brings and keeps us in touch with the source of all the joy and love of the world – our own reliable, magical, wise, deeply faithful, always present, innermost Self.
Sabine Cox is a senior faculty member teaching in the Total Self, Spiritual Psychotherapy and Holistic programs. She is a psychotherapist for the Counselling Clinic, in private practice in Richmond Hill and founder of Soul-Spirit Integration. She is a member of the CEBHCP and the CPCA. She is a graduate of the Spiritual Psychotherapy, a case study supervisor and has a background in Anthroposophy. She combines dream work, the inner child and past life therapy in her work.