Inner child work is a process of raising awareness of your inner child's wounds and needs. It's a process of reparenting the child within you so that it can move beyond the suffering s/he is still trapped in.
Your Inner Child
WHAT IS IT? There are various descriptions and definitions out there for the Inner Child or the Child Within. My personal understanding of the Inner Child is that it represents that part of us that was wounded in Childhood. For some people the wounds incurred were deep and devastating and for others far less so. It is believed that regardless of how dysfunctional or happy our childhood was, some wounds would have been incurred along the way. If these wounds have not been healed, then there is a significant chance that you'll see your Inner Child acting out in unhelpful ways in your adult life.
HOW TO RECOGNISE IT?
Some signs that your Inner Child is acting up include: rage, sulking, moodiness, responses that are out of proportion to events, intense or overwhelming emotions, dysfunctional or self-sabotaging behaviour such as addictions. If you read that list of signs and could relate, I highly recommend doing some further research into the topic of Inner Child healing work. I've listed some popular books and articles below to get you started. Inner child work is a process of raising awareness of your inner child's wounds and needs. It's a process of reparenting the child within you so that it can move beyond the suffering s/he is still trapped in.
Inner child work can take a variety of forms. Some examples include writing a letter to the wounded child within to provide compassion and understanding.
Using a photograph of yourself as a child as a means to reconnected with that wounded part of you.
WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID
Charles Whitfield writes in his classic book "Healing the Child Within" "The Child Within refers to that part of each of us which is ultimately alive, energetic, creative and fulfilled; it is our Real Self—who we truly are. ' With our parents' unknowing help and society's assistance, most of us deny our Inner Child. When this Child Within is not nurtured or allowed freedom of expression, a false or co-dependent self emerges. We begin to live our lives from a victim stance, and experience difficulties in resolving emotional traumas. The gradual accumulation of unfinished mental and emotional business can lead to chronic anxiety, fear, confusion, emptiness and unhappiness. Denial of the Child Within and the subsequent emergence of a false self or negative ego are particularly common among children and adults who grew up in troubled families, such as those where chronic physical or mental illness, rigidity, coldness or lack of nurturing were common. Yet, there is a way out. There is a way to discover and to heal our Child Within and to break free of the bondage and suffering from relying on our false self. That is what this book is about." Thich Nhat Hanh in his book "Reconciliation - Healing the Inner Child says: "In each of us, there is a young, suffering child. We have all had times of difficulty as children and many of us have experienced trauma. To protect and defend ourselves against future suffering, we often try to forget those painful times. Every time we're in touch with the experience of suffering, we believe we can't bear it, and we stuff our feelings and memories deep down in our unconscious mind. It may be that we haven't dared face this child for many decades. But just because we may have ignored the child doesn't mean she or he isn't there. The wounded child is always there, trying to get our attention...We want to end our suffering by sending the child to a deep place inside, and staying as far away as possible. But running away doesn't end our suffering; it only prolongs it... You have to talk to your child several times a day. Only then can healing take place. Embracing your child tenderly, you reassure him that you will never let him down again or leave him unattended."
Recovery of Your Inner Child: The Highly Acclaimed Method for Liberating Your Inner Self by Lucia Capacchione
The Inner Child Workbook: What to do with your past when it just won't go away by Cathryn L. Taylor
Healing The Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Charles L. Whitfield M.D.
Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child by Thich Nhat Hanh
http://www.mindful.org/healing-the-child-within/Recovery of Your Inner Child: The Highly Acclaimed