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How and When to Use the Inner Child or Adult Self-Reclamation Exercise: Part 1

This lesson is a part of an audio course Finding Freedom from Shock and Trauma by Stephen Paul King

G. Richard Rieger stated that, "Your gratitude has the power to shift energy from negative to positive. It changes the chemical balance in your body from toxic to healing. Discouragement and depression cannot survive a powerful dose of genuine gratitude."

It is worth noting that I have found the Inner Child Reclamation exercise to be even more powerful and effective while the client is in the TAT position (as shown in the previous chapter).

My own experience has been that serious past trauma has often "frozen" the Inner Child or Adult Self in the scene (original location) of the trauma - that this part of them is still operating without the full knowledge that they have indeed survived, have grown up, and are no longer trapped.

This exercise should be used when there is a trauma scene that is still disturbing and painful for the client and where the person still feels immobilized, stuck, or frozen in the scene - and there has been a lack of any shift with any other therapy. When no shift is occurring in the image or the level of feelings, one should ask the client if, for them, it is as though they are looking through the eyes of the child/adult, or like they were watching the scene on TV (like a third party).

If it is like watching TV, then request that they allow themselves as they are today to step into the image, and ask that they use further inner dialog to let the child/adult know who they are, that they have survived, that it is the year (e.g., 2016), that they have a right to breathe, no matter what has happened to or around them. Clearly state, "You did not die!" Then at a steady pace when it seems appropriate, say, "If you sense that some of this information is not believed by that part, or any parts of you, then ask every part of you to become fully aware of the adult body in which you presently reside. Trust yourself to do what you know the child needs in order to recognize who you are, e.g., give a hug, put an arm around the shoulder, hold the hand, or just have your mere presence alongside them. Let the child/adult Self know that they are loved by you unconditionally and that you are sorry that you had to abandon them at that time, but that it was necessary, or survival, and that from this time on, they will never be abandoned by you again. Let the child know that you realize that at this time these are only words but that over time they will be able to see that your words and your actions are congruent. Let the child/adult Self know that in the situation they are in, and they can now make things bigger or smaller, change colors, etc., as it is a way of recognizing you can now control and take charge of your memory with your imagination."

Use inner dialogue about now being able to live with "present day wisdom," which includes having the ability to recognize the present level of safety and to make choices based on no longer being dependent on others in the same sense that one might have been at a younger age. It may be that the Inner Child/Adult Self needs to have the present adult Self stay with them in that image in order to confront an abuser or check that other children are not stuck or trapped there. Then state, "As the adult you are now, trust yourself to take the child to a present place of safety inside your own heart. You can carry him/her, put an arm around his/her shoulders, hold hands, or just have your mere presence alongside him/her. Remember that it is your image, and you can command anything, or anyone, to leave or be present, including toys, sounds, sunshine, pictures, etc." Once in this present place of safety, the adult self should re-affirm to the Inner Child that, "From this time on, you will be able to communicate, with the adult self, anything you choose to about any "unfinished business" via words, pictures, images, or dreams." "Let the I.C. know that the present adult self will attend to the 'unfinished business' at a pace that is safe and healthy, as and when it is appropriate to do so."

It is through this acknowledgement and action that the Inner Child/Adult Self will be able to shift the beliefs/paradigm with which they have been 'frozen' for so long. Once the client indicates the child is safe with them, then suggest that the client's adult self says goodbye to the Inner Child in a comforting and safe way, with reassurances that contact can be made anytime the Inner Child or Adult Self needs to.

Lesson 14 is Part 2 on how and when to use the Inner Child or Adult Reclamation exercise.

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Written by

Stephen Paul King