While doing inner child work with clients, I often run them through a guided visualisation where they meet and greet a younger version of themselves. It is mostly an incredibly emotional experience but also gleans insight into how really connected they are with their past and subsequently, the emotions attached to it. At the end of the visualisation, clients are asked to hold an image of them and the child sitting on a bench and then draw it with the non-dominant hand.
I have had various reactions to the process of meeting the younger self. There is very often crying and a release of pent-up emotion but also some rather surprising results. Here are a few:
” I want to slap her”
” She is unclean, unwashed and dirty”
” I cannot and will not see him”
” I felt huge sadness because I know whats coming for that little girl”
Inner Child Therapy is for me one of the most powerful experiences one can go through in therapy. When it is combined with Internal Family Systems Therapy the notion that we have an internal family of “thinking parts” that determine our view of ourselves), it can be life-changing. Once contact is made, then work can be done.
The younger self represents the part that carries childhood trauma and many clients are understandably reluctant sometimes to delve into this murky area. They are never quite sure what will come up. You might suggest that things should be left as they are. However, the influence of that trauma appears frequently on a day to day basis in relationships and a generally held view of self and the world. It also signifies how detached a client is to emotions and gives a clue to how powerful the internal family of thinking parts are.
Dr. Nicholas Jenner, a therapist, coach, and speaker, has over 20 years of experience in the field of therapy and coaching. His specialty lies in treating codependency, a condition that is often characterized by a compulsive dependence on a partner, friend, or family member for emotional or psychological sustenance. Dr. Jenner’s approach to treating codependency involves using Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, a treatment method that has gained widespread popularity in recent years. He identifies the underlying causes of codependent behavior by exploring his patients’ internal “parts,” or their different emotional states, to develop strategies to break free from it. Dr. Jenner has authored numerous works on the topic and offers online therapy services to assist individuals in developing healthy relationships and achieving emotional independence.