How To Use Inner Child Work Within Your Hypnotherapy Session

The Inner Child – it’s a concept that’s been around a pretty long time now, with its roots in Jung and even Freud. It’s also a concept that clinical hypnotists frequently work with, as it fits so well with hypnotism.

As a practicing hypnotist, you would be expected to be able to offer inner child work where appropriate, so let’s take a brief look at what or who the inner child is, and its relevance to clinical hypnosis.

First of all, I want to be clear that not everyone subscribes to the idea of the Inner child, and inner child work, although very popular and generally accepted in psychological circles definitely has its critics. But then so does hypnosis in general!

For the purpose of writing this article it’ll make life much easier if I don’t have to keep saying things like, “Proponents of Inner Child work believe…” As it happens, I’ve had a lot of success with inner child work, and I love using it with clients, so I guess I’m pretty much a convert. Besides, if it gets results, why knock it?!

Maybe in another article I’ll look at the criticisms of inner child work (it’s useful to know what they are, if for no other reason than to be prepared for those who will say it’s all rubbish) but for now, I simply want to give a brief over view of the concept.

Where Does Inner Child Work Come From?

Inner Child work has different guises in many different branches of psychology, including Transactional Analysis, Gestalt therapy, psycho-analysis, psycho-synthesis and clinical hypnosis, but they all, in their own way, say the same thing… that we have many different selves within us; different sub-personalities, many of which have their roots in a developmental stage from our past. And at any one time, the way we behave, feel and react to life is dictated by which of those sub-personalities is in control.

This isn’t a form of neurosis or psychosis, it’s perfectly normal! And when the positive aspects of those sub-personalities are freed up it can even be very healthy! Each of these sub-personalities has its own beliefs, attitudes and, most importantly, hidden agendas.

For many of us, particularly when pressure mounts, it’s our child-self which comes to the fore, and that’s not always the best person to be in charge! We all recognize that feeling of insecurity, don’t we, where underneath the brave front we feel like five year old just waiting for our cover to be blown?

We’re Children For Life

We’re all born with a natural tendency to be open, inquisitive, playful and full of wonder. Some people say this is naturally how we are, our “true self”.  This child-personality remains a part of our psyche for life, and has some very positive characteristics which emerge in a sense of fun, creativity and spontaneity, if we allow it to.

However, our early childhood experiences have a major impact upon us. By the age of 5 or 6, this “divine child” as Jung referred to it has been replaced by the “wounded child”. This is when we realize to our horror that the universe does not revolve around us. That it’s not enough to simply be ourselves. To be loved by our parents we have to conform, be “good” (or quiet, or aggressive – whatever our particular family dynamic emphasizes).

So no matter how good, kind, loving and supportive our parents were, as far as our “child” is concerned, we clearly were not loved enough. And of course, if our parents were abusive or neglectful, then the damage goes much deeper.

It is this “wounded child”,  unconsciously carried around with us, angry, confused, frightened, insecure and manipulative, that is seen as the source of many of our difficulties as adults. That wounded child is frozen in time, influencing our behavior and decisions as it tries to re-write history and secure the unconditional love and approval it desperately wants. Until we deal with the unresolved issues of early childhood, and satisfy the needs of our child-self, it’s difficult to move forward as healthy, balanced, mature adults.

The Inner Child Part 2 Is Coming Soon

Psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and counseling all tend to spend a great deal of time rooting around in childhood memories, working and re-working the issues. They certainly have their place, and can be very valuable. But one of the joys of being a hypnotist is that we can work directly with the unconscious mind, where these different sub-personalities “live”. We can quickly and effectively work with this wounded child to bring about rapid, life-changing results.

Just how we go about working with the Inner Child in hypnosis will be the subject of my next article, so I hope you’ll come back to take a look.