Genuine Relating and your Inner Child: how understanding your childhood can support your current personal growth and relationships.
Have you ever been in the situation where someone said or did something to you and you TOTALLY overreacted?
The other person may have used a certain phrase or done something specific that seemed to trigger an automatic, negative response. You may have felt entirely out-of-control. It may have brought up confusing emotions, unrelated to the present moment.
Actually, it may be happening to you more than you realise.
It’s unsettling, confusing and can affect our relationships.
What’s going on here?
In a nutshell, your current emotional reactions can be a result of triggers caused by long-held emotional wounds or unmet needs.
I recently attended a fascinating workshop series on Inner Child journeying led by Robin Grille. Robin is an Australian psychologist and author. It was his understanding of child development regarding core emotional needs, which drew me to his work. Understanding of past experiences is something that I continue to bring into my Genuine Relating practice as I provide couples counselling and personal therapy.
Neuroscience is telling us more and more about how childhood experiences affect us as adults. Individual experiences or a series of experiences in the past, can affect how we relate in the future. Unmet psycho-emotional needs as a child can manifest as immature emotional intelligences. Grille’s work shows that at each stage there are key developmental themes and psycho-emotional needs to be met. These help the growing person to develop emotional intelligences such as belonging, security, self-assertion, trust, healthy scepticism and delayed gratitude. You can easily see how these skills are key life skills and are at the heart of many relationship issues.
So, how exactly does this work in Genuine Relating and what is the Inner Child Journey?
The Inner Child Journey put simply is a step-by-step way of helping us to understand the emotional reactions triggered in us by others. The process helps you to better understand how your childhood experiences affect you today. Looking back into your childhood experiences with curiosity can reveal profound insights about yourself.
In my Genuine Relating practice I use this understanding of triggers and inner child to assist clients with both individual and couple’s therapy. When you understand your childhood in a way that makes sense of who you are today, you gain greater awareness of your relationships and your own deep emotional needs. It helps you to hone your intuition into what you and your relationships need to flourish.
By understanding your triggers, it helps to make sense of the types of experiences I mentioned at the start of this article. Self-awareness of these triggers puts us in a better place to respond to current encounters in a more appropriate manner. Understanding these triggers can help focus our path forward to healing.
Inner child work within Genuine Relating also paves the way for intense personal development. Robin’s work includes what he refers to as the “restorative, healing developmental nutrients”, these are the prescription to support deep healing and restoration. This includes nutrients like learning to reach out for support, embracing failure, living for enjoyment rather than to impress others, and allowing ourselves to grieve. As we understand our foundational needs, we are able to work towards healing some of these past unmet needs or traumas.
If you’re reading this and you’re resonating with this feeling of being triggered, or you feel like your current relationships are being impacted by past experiences, please reach out to have a chat. I’d love to help you see how Genuine Relating may assist in your journey to living your best possible life.