Inner Child Healing

May 17, 2024

”As I gradually open to the grief of my abandoned inner child, I was then better able to reclaim the hurt child with love, and self-compassion, and with tears of relief.”
-Peter Levine, An Autobiography of Trauma

We are as a civilization suffering from a deep loss which we are not yet aware of through our conscious mind. This loss is reflected and expressed through the values that we pass down through each generation. These values have been shaped by our systems, norms, and environments that teach us that productivity is more important than relational connection, that logic and the mind is more important than our emotions or body wisdom, and that self-reliance is more important than inter-dependence and co-creation.

In this state of collective loss of our more feminine nature, we have neglected core aspects of our being that enable us to experience our innate capacity for compassion, empathy, creativity, sensuality, and joy within ourselves and through our relationships.

We are instead a civilization that is plagued with symptoms of fear (anxiety), disconnection (depression), and avoidance (compulsions). Our best solutions so far are to manage, dampen, and dismiss the symptoms rather than seeing them as sign-posts that speak to this larger collective loss.

Where do we begin to put the pieces together so we can feel more whole as humans?

Many of us are asking ourselves this question as we engage in a range of practices and methods that call us into our vulnerability, emotionality, connectivity, empathy, and body wisdom.

Somatic Experiencing developer, Peter Levine notes in his recent book, An Autobiography of Trauma, that the journey to reclaim and restore the core aspects (i.e. core Self) of who we are, often begins with the meeting and healing of the core wounds of the inner child.

Why is inner child healing important?

In Jungian psychology, it is postulated that human beings all over the world have a universal character (archetype) within them, which is part of the collective unconscious. And that within this there is a commonality that allows us to know the suffering of one another. Two archetypes that are based on this premise are that of the wounded child and the divine child.

In other words, we all hold within us encapsulated memories and states that are frozen in time. These are the younger versions of ourselves that hold our pain and trauma and are associated with the archetype of the wounded child. Left untreated the wounds of the wounded child cause disturbances in our relationships and capacity to engage in life from a place of spontaneity, joy, freedom, and liberation.

The wounded child is often the part of us that holds our sense of isolation, our fear of rejection, our feelings associated with being “different”. Sometimes the child parts hold our memories of life threat or our memories of relational ruptures.

To protect ourselves from feeling the pain of the wounded child, we often develop adaptive strategies. These adaptations often become our personality or character traits that allow us to move through the world.

We carry our wounded child adaptations not only in our psyche, but also in our musculature, nervous system, behaviors, and perceptions about the world.

True healing occurs when we can liberate the wounded child parts through the compassionate holding and witnessing of the un-named pain. When we do this, we open the door for the divine child to emerge. This version of us is innately whole and perfect in its essence. It holds our capacity for pure joy, playfulness, spontaneity, and curiosity. It holds our vitality for life and our sense of deep connection with others. Through the divine child we also find our access to creativity, connection to source energy (spirit), and liberation of the mind – since the divine child knows that it is innately loved by source.

As I reflect on my own life, I am continually reminded of the places where I am still needing to shine the light of consciousness into the spaces where the wounded child resides. It is my ability and persistence through practices such as somatic therapies, touch work, meditation, journaling, parts work, sound and energy healing, and movement that enables me through my own embodied explorations to teach from a place of deeper knowing and wisdom.

In her book, Soul Retrieval, Sandra Ingerman speaks of the more ancient methods of inner child healing that have been here for centuries. Over the years and in my own explorations, I have found that many of these approaches have similar things in common in their approach to healing of the inner child. I have explored Core Shamanism, Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Intentional Touch, Sound Healing, and Energy Medicine. I have found that each method is working from the following principles in some form.

  • Belief in the innate wholeness of all beings.
  • Trust in the organicity of the system to guide us towards healing.
  • Knowingness that body wisdom is more accurate than the ego or mind.
  • Belief that individual healing is a collective process since we are all unified in our consciousness.
  • Engagement in the seen and unseen aspects of healing or sacred space.
  • Belief that the practitioner role is that of a guide since all healing is innately self-healing.

Ready to Deepen Your Journey and Healing of the Inner Child?

Below is a list of resources that I have used in my healing journey to help me make sense of the intersection of these various mind-body practices and their application in the healing of our core wounds. You may also want to check out my courses and groups which offer an integration of many of these modalities using sound as a portal to personal transformation.

  • Attuned, Thomas Hübl
  • Autobiography of Trauma, A Healing Journey by Peter Levine
  • Belonging, Toko-Pa Turner
  • Sacred Medicine, Lissa Rankin, MD
  • Soul Retrieval, Mending the Fragmented Self, by Sandra Ingerman
  • Wisdom, Attachment, and Love in Trauma Therapy, Susan Pease Banitt
  • Nurturing Resilience, Kathy Kain and Steve Terrell
  • Eastern Body, Western Mind, Anodea Judith

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