What is Inner Child Integrated Healing?

Hearing the words “Inner Child” might bring up memories of doing cartwheels on the beach in the summer, or finger painting with wild abandon having no care about how much mess you make! Connecting with those lost fun parts of ourselves is important, but it’s not the only purpose of Inner Child Work.


Inner Child Integrated Healing is a trauma-informed approach to working with individuals who have experienced various forms of trauma, abuse, and neglect earlier on in their life.

As children we feel the energy and emotions of the things that go on around us, but we don‘t always have the power or the words to articulate exactly how we feel. As a result, our experiences within childhood can have an effect on our emotional, mental and physical responses to life events as an adult.



How did the Inner Child get wounded?


When we start to discuss Inner Child work some people’s first thought is “I had a good childhood, I don’t have any traumatic events that need to be healed“.


We can look back as an adult using reasoning and logic to understand certain situations we faced, but that doesn’t mean that the internal scars from those incidents have truly healed…


“My Dad only hit me when he’d been drinking, the rest of the time he was a great Father.”


“My Mom never hugged me or told me she loved me, but I always had nice clothes and plenty of food to eat so it’s ok.”


“My family only called me fat and slow because they wanted me to be healthier and do better at sports, but it helped because now I’m thin and I always win at everything I do.”




In his book, The Body Keeps The Score, author Bessel van der Kolk explains:


“We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body.

This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present. Trauma results in a fundamental reorganisation of the way mind and brain manage perceptions.

It changes not only how we think and what we think about, but also our very capacity to think.”


Inner Child healing looks to connect with those unhealed parts of ourselves, release the negative energy and establish new ways to operate in a healthier way as an adult.




You may have had a great childhood, with great caregivers and lots of love but there are still many ways the inner child can be wounded:


  • Physical/Emotional abuse or neglect
  • Sexual abuse
  • Loss of a parent/guardian/sibling/grandparent
  • Mental illness of a family member or a serious illness
  • Changes to the nuclear family e.g. divorce, birth of a new sibling
  • Substance abuse and/or domestic violence at home
  • Feeling isolated from family or friends
  • Severe bullying as a child and/or teenager
  • Facing issues with sexual orientation and/or gender dysphoria
  • Experiencing a natural disaster and/or becoming a refugee


Many of the situations that impact how we behave as an adult can have occurred before the age of two, and in some cases before we were even born. This means we often have no conscious awareness of circumstances that are now effecting us as adults.


For example, if one of your Mother’s parents died whilst she was pregnant with you, your Mother may have been dealing with a difficult period of grief during her pregnancy.

As an unborn child; you would still have been aware of the shift in your Mother‘s energy and emotions, but you would not have had an understanding of what caused it at that time.


This situation could lead even an unborn child to the conclusion that they are responsible for their Mother’s emotions and happiness, and that perhaps they need to protect her at all costs in order to survive themselves.



Signs Of A Wounded Inner Child Within An Adult


The wounds that are there can sometimes be so subtle, we ourselves may not even notice them. However, as we get older and spend more time away from our own nuclear family; they can start to become more apparent in friendships, romantic relationships and even the way we parent our own children.




For some of us it takes a manager who sits us down in a review to discuss our aggressive behaviour towards other colleagues; a partner who points out an unusual coping mechanism we didn’t know we had or perhaps seeing our own child behave in a way we disapprove of, only to realise they have learnt that behaviour from us.


Some of the signs that you may have suffered unresolved childhood trauma include the following:


  • Addictions

  • Eating disorders

  • Depression or anxiety without a clear cause

  • Self-sabotage/Self-harming/Self-defeating behaviours

  • Low self esteem and self criticism

  • Inability to handle own emotions – overreactions and/or repressing emotions

  • Violent or Passive-aggressive behaviour

  • Issues with relationships including a distrust of other people

  • Stress

  • Insomnia

  • Lack of ability to focus and/or procrastination

  • Being a people pleaser/super achiever/perfectionist

  • Actively seeking or always avoiding conflict

  • Fear of rejection and/or abandonment

  • Recurrent physical pain without any clear cause

  • An inability to let go of people e.g toxic or abusive relationships

  • An inability to let go of possessions e.g. hoarding


Often our bodies and minds have become programmed to act in a certain way because of our early life experiences. Our behaviour as an adult can become dysfunctional or damaging if we do not allow ourselves to work through and process the stored energy that exists from these childhood experiences.


Within Inner Child Integrated Healing we work with Internal Family Systems, PsychosynthesisJungian Shadow Work, Healing Rituals/Metaphors and Somatic therapies; to help us start releasing the past, look at how we behave in the present and make any changes we need for the future.


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Rebecca xx

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Rebecca Flecken

Mother of 2, Wife of 1 - the Founder and Owner of Saja Soul. Self confessed book worm and tea lover!

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