We often stay stuck using the coping skills that worked well in childhood because they helped us survive – they’re all we know. And those same coping skills can get in the way in adulthood and prevent us from living a full and integrated life.
Inner child work helps identify the root of maladaptive behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs and helps us learn to reparent ourselves. Reparenting can look like learning to change our inner dialogue to be more kind, compassionate and understanding with ourselves. It can look like setting better boundaries with others because we never learned how to have good boundaries growing up. It can be processing a traumatic experience with your therapist modeling helpful and supportive things a parent or caregiver could have said to meet your need at the time.
Inner child work functions on the premise that our maladaptive behaviors are derived from unmet needs as children.