What is Inner Child Therapy?
Inner Child Therapy is a therapeutic vision from which we work respectfully and safely with (traumatic) experiences from childhood, from baby to adolescent / young adult.
Inner Child Therapy focuses on existential issues: loss of a loved one, not knowing how to proceed after a divorce, tensions and conflicts in work situations, burnout, conflicts with a partner or child, being plagued by flashbacks of past trauma (often developmental trauma), feeling lonely, depressed or falling for the wrong man or woman over and over again. People often feel small and vulnerable with this problem.
In current situations where you feel vulnerable or hurt, older childhood feelings may play a role. This makes everything feel even more intense and you don’t know what to do. Often the underlying problems have been noticeable in your life for some time, it is difficult to experience your emotions and deal with them properly, or you do not realize that you do not recognize your own needs, do not take good care of yourself or have problems to put in healthy boundaries.
Inner dialogue of Child, Parent and Adult
In this therapy we work with the Inner Child. What does that mean? We define the term “Inner Child” as an inner state of being in which “behaviours, thoughts and feelings from childhood are repeated.”
One of the first therapists to look at how people function in this way was Eric Berne. He distinguished three main inner states of being, namely Child, Adult and Parent. These inner states of being (not a “real” child, a “real” adult or “real” parent) are in a dynamic relationship to each other.
Berne called his approach “transactional analysis”. You can think of these states of being as the different positions from which we constantly conduct our inner dialogues and respond to the outside world. Just as you have internalized your experiences as a child, so are your experiences with parents or adults with parental authority. The Parent’s inner state of being is therefore defined as “behaviours, thoughts and feelings inherited from parents or parental figures.”
Finally, there is the Adult’s state of being, defined as “behaviours, thoughts and feelings that are a direct response in the here and now.” This state of being enables us to reflect on ourselves, to evaluate the situation, to act soberly and to take responsibility for it.
In our experience, just gaining insight into which position you are responding to, and how you can switch positions, provides already some relief for your problem.
How does this work out in therapy?
We can help you go back in time with the help of Inner Child Therapy to process the Inner Child’s troubling emotions and experiences from the past and find new Adult solutions. It is also important to feel in touch with the healthy Inner Child, who is playful and creative, and also to make room in yourself for the healthy Inner Parent in you.
For this we work, for example, with the inner dialogue between the personality parts. This can be very enlightening and help you find your way out of a problematic situation. When you go into “Child” you are often in a regressive state. We consider this an involuntary, natural trance. That is why we often combine Inner Child Therapy with interventions from the field of regression therapy and hypnotherapy.