In a time where we are learning to prioritize our mental health, self-care and healing has become a greater topic of discussion now more than ever. Emotional and psychological healing is equally important as physical healing. However, many people may not know where to start when it comes to the emotional healing process.
What is Healing?
In a literal sense, healing is the process of the restoration of health from an unbalanced, ill or damaged organism. The same applies from emotional, psychological and spiritual sense. Healing is the restoration of emotional, spiritual or psychological health. Emotional healing occurs when you acknowledge, accept, release, restore and lastly, embrace.
So, how do we begin the healing process? While a large part of emotional and psychological healing can be addressed through counselling and therapy, I've created this 3-part series to help you understand some of the steps and techniques used to healing through inner child work.
Inner-child work is a powerful tool for addressing and healing psychological trauma, dysfunctional patterns, and self-harming behaviours. In 1959, psychologist Carl Jung coined the “Divine Child” archetype, which we now refer to as the "inner child". Art therapist Lucia Capacchione spearheaded the movement toward “reparenting” our inner-child in the 1970s.
In this first article, we will be discussing your inner child (acknowledgement & acceptance). In the second part to this series, we will be talking about re-parenting your inner child (release & restore) and in the final part to this series, we will be discussing healing and growth (embrace).
Disclaimer: Please note that while I am a registered psychologist, I do not know your health history. This series is created for informational purposes only and should not replace formal therapy, counselling or medical treatments. Any information taken from my blogs or social media pages should not replace the advice of your therapist, or health/medical professional.
Part One: Acknowledging Your Inner Child
What is your "inner child"?
The "inner child" is a term that has recently been popularized within psychology. It is used to describe your child-like aspect, that includes what you learned and experienced as a child. Inner child work involves facing your past experiences, hurt and trauma and taking the steps to healing these aspects for a better future.
Before you start on the path to healing, you must acknowledge your inner child. Connecting to your inner child allows you to understand and acknowledge events in your past that may have had a lasting impact on you throughout your life. Sometimes giving your inner child a real identity can help. It may feel silly at first, but talking to your inner child as you would an actual child can help you work through any hardships you faced together.
Ways to Acknowledge Your Inner Child
Here are some other ways you can begin acknowledging and connecting to your inner child:
Visualize your younger self and speak words of affirmation to your inner child, such as "I love you", "You are loved", or "You are safe"
Writing down your feelings through journaling.
Writing a letter to your younger self that you can later read aloud.
Draw or paint a picture that reflects your inner-child.
As we move through life, we tend to suppress hurtful feelings, emotions and memories. However, shoving them under the rug will only have them turn up in other forms throughout our minds and bodies. Validation is an important step to the healing process because it gives us the space to work through feelings of hurt, shame or guilt while feeling affirmed. Try addressing your feelings by asking yourself, what happened, how it made you feel and in what ways does this feeling/event show up in your life today. In this process, you must remember that your feelings are valid. No matter how big or small.
Revisiting painful feelings or events is not easy. It is best to take the steps to healing with the help of a mental health professional/specialist and/or therapist to guide you and offer you coping techniques throughout the healing process.
Now that you understand who and what your inner child is, we'll move on to re-parenting in the next article.
Having trouble with the healing process? It can be a heavy burden to bare on your own. Take some time to speak a mental health professional for assistance. We are here to help you.