Very popular a number of years ago, you don’t hear too much about healing your inner child today. But it still crops up from time to time. The idea is that you carry inside you a small child, the person you were when you were five or thereabouts. This small child was seriously wounded by all the things that happen to small children. Unless you can somehow time travel back and deal with these issues, your inner child will continue to hold you back, behave in ways you don’t like, and be generally obstructive. So your mission is to heal your inner child in order to be happy and productive as a grown-up.
I have always been very conservative about “healing the inner child”. I don’t think it ever happens. Your “inner child” was formed through a wide range of experiences, starting prenatally. Much of this training was inflicted on you long before you acquired language skills. It is non-verbal and deeply buried.
Present vs Past
My aim as a therapist has always been to help people deal with present issues by altering present behavior. Seems to work well. From time to time we will deal with childhood events but only concerning their effect on present behavior.
Whatever went on in your childhood is irretrievable and irreversible. It happened. A long time ago I would help people regress to childhood through hypnosis. On occasion it would work much too well. I learned that childhood trauma is often repressed and denied for good reason. These unfortunate memories are not available to present recollection as a protection. They should be left alone. Repressed memories should remain repressed.
People with horrible childhoods can achieve great success in life in every regard. People with idyllic childhoods can fall flat on their ass. I like to help people achieve success in their life, whatever that means to them.
Successful People do This
What does happen with successful people is that they accommodate their wounded child and develop ways to work around the difficulties that it creates in their adult life. I know that my own inner brat is always with me. Left to its own it creates all kinds of problems. Just like it did when I was small.
There are many people with severe personality disorders who are very successful. Like Steve Jobs and Admiral Rickover. It is very doubtful if they were happy. My uncle was an extremely successful entrepreneur and he was incredibly unhappy. Miserable would be more apt. I learned a great deal from him and the other miserable rich people who were my role models. Things like misery is inevitable and that acquiring money is dangerous. Took me over half my life to get over these beliefs. They still linger.
There are basically two schools of psychotherapy. Freudians believe that constructive changes in thought patterns through inner exploration can achieve a cure. Behaviorists believe that deliberate changes in behavior can achieve a cure. Both are right. Turns out that the major element in a patient’s improvement is the supportiveness of the therapist. It would seem that most emotional problems stem from an inability to have intimate relationships. The supportive therapist offers an interim relationship that is safe. Only an hour or so at a time. You might call it intimacy training.
So the trick is to recognize your inner child and establish some kind of working partnership. Decide what you want your life to be like, then go out and achieve your goals. Get all the help that you can along the way. You might want to throw in a few adventures.
Has all this been helpful to you? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. You might also want to listen to some very helpful audios, www.happyrecordings.com.