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  • Writer's pictureClare C. Chan

Regression Therapy Series (12) - Inner Child Therapy

The concept of the "inner child" has been increasingly accepted by public in recent years, and has gradually become popular. However, what exactly is the inner child?

When we are growing up, everyone may encounter some setbacks, suffer injuries, or experience painful moments at different stages of age. These painful experiences will trigger various emotions in us, but as children, we often lack the wisdom and ability to properly handle these emotions. As a result, at different stages of age, we will experience different emotions and events, all of which will be imprinted one by one in our subconscious. As our bodies grow and our wisdom increases, these emotions that once troubled us will not fade away with our age. When we encounter similar situations again, these emotions imprinted in our subconscious will be pulled out one by one like a series of knots.

Today, I want to share a story about a girl named Emily. Since middle school, Emily has started to have emotional problems.

When Emily's growing up, her mother and elders in the family often controlled and changed her through criticism, comparison, and belittlement. This kind of criticism is not only ubiquitous in her life, but it also gradually makes her have a strong sense of self-criticism, so that she begins to feel that she has fundamental flaws and becomes very self-abased. Whenever she encounters some minor problems, she will fall into the vortex of self-criticism. The only time when her mother stops criticizing and smiles seems to be when Emily criticizes and belittles herself. This way of education can be simply called "shaming education", which makes the child live in shame all the time, feel that they are not good enough in all aspects, always worse than others, and generate a strong sense of self-defeated and self-criticism.

Under the influence of this kind of shaming education, Emily began to have various emotional problems in middle school, and as she grew older, these problems gradually became more severe, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. During the psychotherapy, Emily has worked hard to change her habit of self-criticism and tried to cultivate an attitude of self acceptance and self compassion. However, the new way of accepting herself could not be firmly established, and the past self-criticism was as powerful as standing on quicksand. Whenever Emily feels that she is not doing well enough in life, self-criticism will emerge like a wild beast. For example, Emily often tries hard to study at night, often too tired to fall asleep directly and forgets to turn off the desk lamp. When she wakes up in the morning and finds that she did not turn off the desk lamp, a strong self-criticism will emerge, feeling that she is a complete failure, and her mood directly falls to the bottom. In the past year, in the process of providing Emily with psychological counseling, I often saw her as if falling into quicksand, and if she was not careful, her condition would suddenly deteriorate and be swallowed by self-defeated and self-criticism.

This is Emily's second time to experience the regression therapy. After the first regression therapy (the link to the article is here), Emily obviously felt that she had gained new strength, and these new strengths helped her gradually establish a new and healthy way of thinking. However, we noticed that every time she had contact with her mother, the old way of thinking - strong self-criticism would reappear. Therefore, we decided to carry out the second regression therapy. The purpose of this therapy is to deal with the various psychological “injuries” Emily experienced when her grew up. This type of therapy is called the "inner child therapy," aims to process and release the pain and emotions of the past.

During this inner child regression therapy, using hypnosis, Emily went back to various important moments in her past, some nearly forgotten. She recalled falling in a restaurant when she was in her teens and felt very ashamed, or remembered being forced to memorize additional articles her mother wanted her to recite while felt being trapped at her desk at home on every weekend. She also recalled the uncomfortable feeling of dealing with her family when she was young, no one cared or respected her feelings, and even went back to memories when she was just over a year old. In the process of inner child therapy, Emily could interact and communicate face-to-face with her younger self (the inner child), which left her in tears. Through the inner child therapy, she released 20 years of accumulated emotions, stress, and troubles, reconnected with her inner strength, and understood that her mother's parenting style was due to her mother's own emotional troubles. These negative parenting methods also allowed Emily to grow quickly in adversity, and these growing pains are now transformed into her inner strength, making her a person who understands herself more, believes in herself more, and is more compassionate. Now she can completely forgive her mother, expressing her emotions in the process and understanding her issues and embracing her past at a conscious level. This is a process of reconciliation, understanding, connection, and integration with her past self.This inner child therapy is full of enormous healing power.

After completing the inner child regression therapy, Emily was very excited and happy, her face was full of smiles, and her happiness was beyond words. One month after this inner child regression therapy, I contacted Emily again to follow up on her changes after the therapy. Emily reported that her interaction with her mother has completely changed, no longer triggering a myriad of pain as before when contacting her mother, instead, it was calm, and Emily's mother also felt Emily's obvious change. When Emily encounters some setbacks in life, she can easily turn these troubles into positive experiences. Emily felt that after completing the inner child therapy, she could clearly feel more self-care and understanding, and could treat herself in a gentle and understanding way. This is the new psychological system we have been trying hard to establish for the past year, now Emily can truly experience it. All the painful emotions Emily had before therapy have now completely disappeared.

Emily intuitively felt that she has completely bid farewell to her painful past self. After Emily's emotions became very stable and positive, her life goals also changed significantly. She clearly knows what dreams she wants to pursue, and has taken the first step towards her dreams. She is carrying a very positive, self- accepting and self- appreciating attitude to experience the future life.

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