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Author: Coleen Morris

Nurturing your inner child- where to start?

When we talk about our inner child, it can be difficult to know where to start. Often this may be a time in our life which we would rather forget or leave in the past. Many people wonder what is the value in connecting with this part of ourselves which is often painful or traumatised. Our inner child can offer us insights into our lives, and can form a key part of the therapeutic process.

It may be that you are being triggered in certain environments which are having a negative impact on your life, maybe you have developed destructive coping mechanisms which no longer serve you, or perhaps you find it extremely difficult to ask for help or support which causes you to become overwhelmed. It could be you have identified unhelpful or destructive patterns in relationships which you wish to explore, or possibly you find it difficult to connect with others in any meaningful way. Inner child work can help you to explore and gain insights into why we behave and react in certain ways.

As children our needs and wants are often not met either emotionally or physically. These unmet needs generally do not leave us and we carry them into adult relationships. In exploring how these unmet needs influence us, it is important to learn to listen and communicate with our inner child, and nurture this wounded part of ourselves.

Learning to nurture our inner child can be difficult for many of us. Connecting with our emotions from childhood can be overwhelming and in some cases traumatic, particularly if we have experienced trauma as children. Inner child work encourages us to understand, comfort and nurture the wounded part of ourselves which is feeling vulnerable and scared. As children, we may have been silenced, and discouraged from expressing our feelings. This may have triggered a lot of shame for us for feeling the way we do. Offering the child within us love and reassurance will allow us to heal from these wounds and step into our adult selves.

If you can identify with any of this post, it might be helpful to explore your inner child with us at Ivy Therapy. We have extensive experience with inner child work. You can contact us on our contact page, or drop us and email.

The impact of the pandemic on our mental health

We have seen a stark rise in the number of people reaching out to us presenting with anxiety, depression, stress and fatigue. Some People are experiencing these feelings for the first time, while others are experiencing a relapse of old mental health concerns.

The true impact of the last 18 months is beginning to emerge. It is important to note however that feeling anxious and stressed, feeling both physically and mentally exhausted or simply feeling isolated and withdrawn are extremely normal human reactions to a prolonged crisis such as Covid-19.

There was an underlying anxiety that most of us sensed when the pandemic first hit. We were being directed to stay at home, isolate, quarantine. The daily news headlines were telling us that in order to protect our loved ones we had to stay away from them, particularly the most vulnerable around us. The isolation that many of us felt when we were being asked to work from home and socialise only within our households meant that for many our usual support system wasn’t around us in the same way.

What the studies have shown

Studies are now emerging that acknowledge the burnout some essential workers are experiencing, as we return to normal life. Many people continued to put themselves at risk to keep the hospitals going, to keep shops open or to police our streets. The stress and anxiety associated with this becomes more apparent when our physical stress responses begin to regulate.

Lots of people experienced financial difficulties when they lost their jobs, something which many continue to struggle with. There were thousands who had to experience the trauma of not being with their loved ones when they died, and were unable to grieve in any way which may have offered them some small comfort. Women experienced extreme trauma when they gave birth without the support of a partner or loved one, and many received the worst possible news while attending appointments during pregnancy without any support from those closest to them.

The return to normal life raises more anxiety. Reintegrating into society will cause lots of us to worry and become overwhelmed.

The pandemic has affected everyone in different ways. It is completely normal to react in different ways. It is important to reach out to those around us. Acknowledging our anxiety and stress is important as we begin to come to terms with how our lives have been affected. Our psychological and physiological reaction varies significantly, but talking and communicating our struggles and concerns is an important step in healing from the last 18 months. Friends/family can play a role in this, as well as professional therapy services like ourselves here in Ivy Therapy. Feel free to reach out to us if you are struggling and would like to explore your feelings with one of our team.