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Healing the inner child to heal the adult self

February 08, 20235 min read

Most of the issues the individual adult deals with might be connect with their up bring. Traumas, attachment issues, emotional blockage and other mental and emotional challenges that come in evident in the adulthood might have a direct link with the childhood. They are placed in the subconscious mind and come up indirectly to one’s life. People tend to suppress their hurt child to avoid pain and repeating such a thing continuously they suffer as an adult. My intervention on healing the inner child aim to target the reconnection between the adult and the child self to look at the wounds that have been open when you were a child and still causing pain.

The ones connection with their inner child brings freedom as most of the traumas in an individual life span have begun in the stages of childhood. There are different cycles in one’s childhood if those aren’t closed with harmony it reflects on one’s adulthood, in their relationship with oneself and others. By healing the inner child, the adult gets healed. Bradshaw (1992) discussed that an individual's strengths, issues, degree of self-esteem, and habits are largely a result of one’s development. By reconnecting with their own inner child through original pain can be a source of hope, fulfilment, and regeneration. The importance to nature the inner child and gain a psychologic wellbeing have become a popular topic. It has been used as a remedial tool to resolve chronic problems that include depression, low self-steam, traumas, low self-confidence, attachment issues, anxiety, and insecurities (Missildine, 1963; Whitfield, 1989; Bradshaw, 1993; Taylor, 1990).

The sub personality or the subconscious might be referred by some therapist as the notion of an inner child. Inner child would be referred as the child the client once was, that some time lost touch with the adult self. However, some of the behavioural or emotional challenges the adult self faces, might be influenced by the inner child. Therefore, helping patients reconnect with this inner child might free them from maladaptive emotional and behavioural patterns. There is a healing process that can happen when the adult self-look at the inner child with compassion and understand their needs. They now as adult can offer the safety and protection that child needed. Some techniques such as mirror work, journaling, visualisation to connect with their inner child. That is what I use with my clients to help them gain that reconnection.

Carl Jung was the pioneer of the idea of a “Divine Child” which was later called by Emmet Fox as the “Wonder Child”. Many people credit psychiatrist Carl Jung with coining the term "inner child," which he characterised as a child archetype in his writings. He connected this inner child to childhood memories. Therefore, if those memories are negative or traumatised. The influence manifests negatively making the inner child wounded or anxious. The role of the counsellor or psychotherapist is to compassionately be working with this inner child to teach them new patterns of behaviour, the adult becomes free from the compulsion to act upon the whims of the unruly, subconscious child.

If our fragile inner child was ignored, abandoned, shamed, or mistreated, we carry that kid's sadness, grief, and rage with us. People may be unaware of why they continue to do or be with people that make them sad. That reflects the inner child needs, that keep going back to the same patterns.

Taylor (1991) discovered that if there are any unresolved difficulties in the past, one may respond forcefully in an interaction. For example, if a youngster was never given good feedback, the individual may respond aggressively to criticism or feedback as an adult. He stated that Inner Child Therapy or healing is a process that assists people in resolving previous experiences and repairing inner child issues so that they no longer consciously or unconsciously govern their present behaviour.

Maladjustment in adulthood is more likely among those who feel threatened in the childhood both within and outside the home (Garbarino, 2000). Parental conflict has been linked to a variety of child adjustment issues, including insecure attachments, internalising, and externalising disorders, peer problems, and academic challenges (Fauber, Thomas & Wierson 1990; Jones et al. 2005). Therefore, getting access to the cause of those maladjustments free the adult from them.

When I understood the need to take therapy I was on my late thirties, by having finally the chance to explore the emotional challenges in my adulthood. However, my biggest surprise was to connect those challenges with my childhood. Therapy gave the space to listen, to nurture, to look at the scares of my childhood and then made space to heal my inner child. The by-product of this journey was the healing of my adulthood self. In order to do that I needed to learn how to be more compassionate with myself. I also needed to turn this compassion to my child self so the healing process could begin.

If you are feeling some of the symptoms mentioned above or are experiencing any triggers and want someone neutral to speak to who understands what you are going through, please seek help.You are not alone, together we are stronger.

Get in touch if you need support.


Bradshaw, J. (2005). Healing the shame that binds you: p. 387. Recovery classics edition. Health Communications, Inc.

Fox, Emmet (1932). The Wonder Child. Devorss & Co

Hestbech, A. M. (2018). Reclaiming the Inner Child in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: The Complementary Model of the Personality. American journal of psychotherapy, 71(1), 21-27.

Jung, C., 2020. Healing the Inner Child.

Taylor, C.L., 1991. The Inner Child Workbook: What to Do with Your Past when it Just Won't Go Away. TarcherPerigee.

Tati Silva

I am a qualified Psychotherapist and Counsellor, working with people going through challenging times in their lives.

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