What is Inner Child Work

While there will be ups and downs in a relationship, while looking at the big picture, a relationship should bring you joy.

Inner child work is the act of trying to understand the adolescent issues that may be causing you problems as an adult. Examples of these issues can include various forms of trauma, abuse, or neglect that occurred during years of development. They could have occurred either within or outside the family system. Inner child work is often beneficial because it can help you finally accept and feel repressed emotions. The act of working through them gives people personal power, the ability to set boundaries, self-confidence, and the gift of living life to the fullest. 


Inner child work can be done with the help of a licensed therapist who takes a trauma-informed approach. It may blend together different theoretical approaches such as attachment theory or family systems theory. It is often very freeing for clients to learn that it is a younger part of themselves that may get triggered in difficult situations. 


Inner child work can also be done by oneself. By learning to be more open to the joys of existing, you can heal the wounds of growing up too quickly or without play and creativity. Remind yourself that it is okay to love your parents and also be hurt by their actions. Ideas to facilitate personal inner child work include, but are not limited to: 


  • Incorporating unstructured time into your life 
  • Ensuring your basic physiological needs are met 
  • Writing a letter to your younger self 
  • Staying mindful of your triggers 
  • Journaling from your inner child’s point of view 
  • Allowing yourself to be playful 


All in all, inner child work is powerful because it helps establish a sense of safety within the body and nervous system. It is useful for anyone who feels they have experienced any degree of hurt in their childhood. Often before coming to therapy, clients are unaware of any unconscious emotional neglect they may have experienced. It is well worth exploring. 


Pay attention to these five signs that you may have a wounded inner child: 


  1. Engaging in people pleasing behaviour 
  2. Feeling ashamed of expressing emotions 
  3. Frequently criticizing yourself 
  4. Avoiding conflict at all costs 
  5. Having a deep fear of abandonment 


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