How to Do Inner-Child Work for Healing Trauma and Self-Acceptance by Sheleana Aiyana



By connecting with our inner-child, we gain access to new information about our unhealed wounds, and the needs that may not have been met when we were actually children.

Then, “reparenting” becomes the process of meeting those needs and practicing self-care so we can operate in the world as happy, functional adults.

Susan Anderson, the author of the Journey from Abandonment to Healing explains the layers of inner-child work in 3 parts – the Inner-Child, the Outer-Child and the Adult Self. Her explanation is really helpful when we seek to understand our own coping mechanisms and behavior patterns on a deeper level. My descriptions for the inner and outer child are adapted from her work.

Below, I cover how to identify your inner and outer child, the wounded inner child and the integrated adult. Then, we move onto how to reconnect, nurture and heal the inner-child.


The “little you” – tender, emotional. Your inner-child is the innocent part of you – all about feelings and your primal needs.

Vulnerable and innocent

Deep feeling and sensitivity

Curious, creative and playful

Craves love, recognition, and validation

Desires connection and safety


Total in expression – be it anger, sadness, joy


Responsible for self-defeating behaviors, self-sabotage. The outer child responds to the inner-child and can over-protect by acting out.

Self-defeating behaviors

Loss of control over behavior and reactions

Uncalibrated in the expression of anger

Impatient and impulsive

Self-centered and focused on having needs met

Sabotages your inner-growth and fights change

Over-protects inner-child by pushing love away

…..Wounded Inner-Child

Response to emotional or psychological neglect.

A deep-seated belief that you are broken.

Fear of abandonment and loss of love.

Insecure and low-self esteem.

Loss of self in an attempt to gain approval from others.

Fearful of setting boundaries or saying “no”.

Seeking instant-gratification through substances, shopping, distraction, and procrastination.



6 responses to this post.

  1. Beautiful message Marty – I agree. Self-acceptance has everything to do with loving/honouring our inner child

  2. This is part of leaving my trauma or PTSD alone and working on being ok in the world in the now.

    Cuddling the inner child soothing his unrest seems at the core of self acceptance

    I see my inner child in a different way now.

    He is the bravest, the one with the least tools who survived his childhood

    I never saw his strength before

    Only his flaws and vulnerability

  3. That’s awesome Marty – I love how you’ve reframed the way you see your inner child.

  4. I guess I did

    I have done this that seemed natural but did not realize the extent

    I did reframe my inner child without realizing it

    Follow the inner guide.

    Thank you for your insight

  5. Posted by rudid96 on May 31, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    Exceptionally helpful. Thank you for this post.

  6. Rudid96

    Check out next post

    Hopefully this is the pivot I need

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