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Become your own parent

"We grow up when we learn to give ourselves what we couldn't get from our parents."

Inner child work

from the perspective of IFS

What exactly is an inner child?

From the viewpoint of Internal Family Systems (IFS) an inner child is a kind of part or sub-personality that lives in our psyche. When we explore our vulnerable sides, we realize that even as adults we sometimes still have childlike needs. The parts of us who are holding these needs are our inner children. IFS is a wonderful method for getting to know and healing these parts.

According to IFS we don't just have 1 inner child but many.

Most of the parts you encounter in therapy have something childlike about them. Even our managers or critical parts often appear childish to us once we get to know them. Our problematic parts in particular usually appear like children that are trying to make the best out of an overwhelming situation.

Our inner children are often parts with wonderful qualities. They are playful, creative, fun-loving, wild and open-minded. But they are also the most vulnerable parts of us. If we notice that some of those qualities are missing in us, it is often because our inner children are burdened by something..

Childlike parts need parental care from us

When we have a problem with ourselves, for example strong negative feelings, some parts of us usually try to find a quick solution on the rational level, through internal arguments like: "I don't need to be afraid" or "Why am I so angry? This is unnecessary Relax!"

While this is well-intentioned, it's usually not helpful. Imagine that there is a small child inside us who feels alone and scared. Trying to reason with such a child will not help.

 Inner children, like real children, need parental care from us.

Our inner children need to feel our love.

What do you do with crying children? You take them in your arms and make them feel safe. You let them feel that someone is there for them and cares for them. Similarly our inner children also need our loving presence in order to feel safe. We need to learn that our vulnerable emotions are not problems to fix but children to care for. Then we basically become our own parents. In this way we can also unburden and reintegrate our traumatized inner children.

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