Healing Your Inner Child Using Hypnotic Techniques
Definition of Inner Child
Each of us has an inner child living in our subconscious mind. That child is intelligent, playful, curious, spontaneous, and expressive. It is also emotionally sensitive, and very vulnerable in early life.
Positive messages of encouragement and praise nourish the inner child and help it form healthy self-esteem and a positive self-image. These messages are expressed in words, from parents and caretakers, family friends, teachers, coaches, etc. They also are conveyed in body language: smiles, hugs, and pats on the back, also contribute favorably.
In contrast, negative messages that harshly criticize and berate are wounding. The words used are often loud or even yelled. Sometimes the tone of voice is sarcastic or derisive.
Non-verbal negative messages are often conveyed in “crazy eyes” and scowls that frighten. Looking or walking away suggests abandonment; dismissive hand gestures suggest banishment.
Often, the child infers non-verbal negative messages from the absence or inadequacy of parental involvement and caretakers’ attention. When those others ignore the needs that the child can’t meet for him/herself, the inner child feels abandoned and neglected.
Slapping, hitting, punching, etc. are unfortunate uses of physical violence towards a child that stem from severe frustration, anger, or rage. These abusive behaviors are very painful and have strong negative impact upon the inner child’s development. They convey to the child their wrongfulness, and that they are unlovable and unworthy.
Impact of Negative Messages on the Inner Child
It is not surprising that negative experiences, especially those in early childhood, when protective mechanisms only begin to take shape, affect the inner child adversely. The child who repeatedly suffers from any or all of the behaviors discussed typically develops fear and mistrust of others, as well as negative beliefs about and attitudes towards him/herself. From these come problems and disorders that include social anxiety, panic, stress, nervousness, low self-esteem, and poor self-image, and self-sabotage.
To what extent the inner child’s emotional wounds ever heal and the negative effects are overcome depends on whether the inner child receives from other sources emotional nourishment, such as love, encouragement, and appreciation. This can be from other people or from oneself. Studying and developing self-understanding and healthy self-love, as well as a relationship with a wise and loving partner are two sources of these healing balms. Inner child hypnosis is another.
Inner Child Hypnosis
Inner child hypnosis uses a variety of tools and techniques to access, communicate with, calm, and heal a client’s inner child. Hypnotherapy to heal the inner child can create positive changes in the adult who seeks greater self-worth and self-acceptance. It can help them to overcome self-sabotaging behavior that their inner child learned in order to cope with dysfunctionality. But to achieve these goals requires the full cooperation of the client who must really want to heal and make the changes, must believe that they can heal and make positive changes, and must be open to using the tools and techniques provided.
Some of the therapeutic processes take place in conscious cognitive dialogue. I ask the client questions to gain a general understanding of their childhood and family of origin, and to identify the specific childhood incidents that harmed them. I learn how they tried to cope and what self-sabotaging behavior developed which impedes them as adults.
Because it is important to develop a positive and trusting relationship with the client before meeting their inner child, the first one or two hypnotic sessions are spent creating a peaceful, calm state in which the client learns how to let go of fear, anxiety, and worry.
I first induce in the client deep relaxation and inward focus. This calms their emotions and allows access to their subconscious mind. Then I present a variety of hypnotic suggestions, visualizations, and other techniques to replace negative emotions with positive feelings, attitudes, and beliefs.
Sometimes the client meets their inner child in hypnodrama, they return in their mind to damaging childhood events, but this time with my help, acting as a supportive adult, who intervenes in healthy ways to stand up against the abuser, while soothing and protecting the child. On other occasions, the client engages in guided imagery playfully with the inner child to create a positive bond that helps the inner child accept their adult persona, opening up to new ways of approaching problems and working on goals.
Hypnotherapeutic Treatment Plan for Healing the Inner child
The treatment plan for inner child work in order to raise self-esteem, develop a positive self-image, and defeat self-sabotage must be customized to each individual client’s particular case. There is no “one plan fits all.” The approach I take to each case, however, is outlined below.
- Identify components of childhood pain
- Family of origin
- Damaging childhood events
- Negative effects
- Triggers that re-arouse the pain
- Negative self-talk
- Negative habits
- Set initial goals
- Develop a hypnotherapeutic strategy
- Provide inner child hypnosis
- Track progress
- Set new goals
- Revise strategy
- Implement revised strategy
- Repeat steps 5 through 9 as needed
Inner Child Hypnosis Tools and Techniques
The following list includes some of the tools and techniques I use in inner child hypnosis:
- Deep Diaphragmatic Focused Breathing
- Resource State Identification
- Progressive Relaxation
- Post-Hypnotic Suggestion
- Self-Esteem Visualization
- Interactive Self-Esteem Building
- Guided Imagery
- Inner Child Work
- Negative Trigger Desensitization
- Positive Memory Revival
- Positive Trigger Association
- Negative Self-Talk Redirection
- Positive Suggestions for Self-Empowerment