This journal practice is inspired by Separation Therapy, based on decades of clinical evidence, and Inner Bonding®, a psychotherapy method originated by Dr. Margaret Paul. It succeeds in bypassing subconscious gatekeepers and turns self-connection into a tangible activity rather than an abstraction.
re-connect with your creative, authentic nature. heal wounds from the past by gently processing them in the present.
INNER CONNECTING JOURNALING
Inner Connecting is a tangible method to build self-awareness, process painful emotions and heal past wounds by gently processing them in the present. Journaling with your Emotional Mind (Inner Child) allows you to 'see,' understand and guide your emotions, much like you'd help a 5-year-old scared of a Halloween ghost costume. You'd take action to comfort her, speak with her, and help her feel safe.
Since our emotions and memories stem from the same part of the brain, Inner Connecting can also breakthough emotional flashback, PTSD, triggers, backdraft emotions, subconscious limiting beliefs, past wounds, and maladaptive protective strategies, lodged in the lower, 'emotional' areas of the mind.
"Some issues take weeks or even months to resolve... yet with many
issues, you can resolve inner-conflict, painful feelings, and come to an ‘ah ha’ moment on the spot, within a minute or so."
Margaret Paul, PhD, Inner Bonding
WIND MIND & EMOTIONAL MIND
When WISE MIND and EMOTIONAL MIND are DISCONNECTED, REACTIVITY TAKES OVER, actING out neglected needs and feelings. Wise Mind iS a dial-up connection COMPARED TO THE LIGHTNING SPEED highway that links EMOTIONS with REACTIVITY. HENCE, THE NEED TO SLOW DOWN AND BE MINDFUL.
EMOTIONAL MIND = INNER CHILD
JOURNALING WITH INNER CHILD
Many so-called adults are not truly adults at all. True 'adulthood' and maturity is acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for loving and guiding one's own Emotional Mind, INNER CHILD. For many, this never happens. Instead, Inner Child is neglected, shamed, abandoned.
Our Emotional Mind, INNER CHILD doesn't go away when we turn 18. It never 'grows-up' nor does it become wise and rational. We don't 'grow-out' of emotions and memories. We do, however, need our rational, prefrontal cortex, WISE MIND to connect and guide our INNER CHILD.
"listen to how INNER CHILD feels... what he or she needs here and now. The often frustrated primal needs of that perennial inner child - love, acceptance, protection, nurturance, understanding - remain the same today as when we were children."
Stephen Diamond, PhD
Without awareness and Self Leadership, we are influenced and controlled by this unconscious INNER CHILD. Like, a 5-year-old running around in a forty-year-old frame.
Imagine a 5-year-old without love, guidance, safety, and discipline. A hurt, angry, fearful little boy or girl calling the shots. A reactive 15-year-old trying to engage in grown-up relationships. We wonder why relationships fail; why we feel anxious, insecure, lonely, impulsive, inferior, lost; why we sabotage or get reactive. Our emotions and memories need WISE MIND to provide support, guidance, safety, and more.
"For many, it is not an adult self directing their lives, but rather an emotionally wounded inner child inhabiting an adult body... a hurt, angry, fearful little boy or girl calling the shots [REACTIVITY]."
Stephen Diamond, PhD
WOUNDED ASPECTS OF SELF
LIMITING BELIEFS AND MALADAPTIVE PROTECTIVE PARTS
MALADAPTIVE PROTECTIVE PARTS
No one escapes childhood without forming some maladaptive ways of dealing with stress. Maladaptive protective strategies or PROTECTOR PARTS are formed when we're faced with the same stressors over and over, or when we dealing with abuse, bullying, abandonment, emotional-neglect or trauma.
PROTECTOR PARTS served us well in childhood because they helped us feel safe, accepted, valued, and even loved. Yet, these overly protective parts can cause havoc in adulthood. They're constantly 'on guard' and easily triggered - activating the stress-response system alarm within 100 milliseconds and catapulting you into reactivity.
EXAMPLES OF MALADAPTIVE PROTECTIVE PARTS
"We did not come into this world loathing ourselves or wishing to numb our feelings. As small children, we operated from a place of wonder, curiosity, spontaneity and creativity."
Christopher Dines, Drug Addiction Recovery: The Mindful Way
INNER CRITIC PART
If you learned to judge yourself harshly when you were six, due to a hyper-critical parent or sibling, you may be operating from a 6-year-old part of yourself when you are judging yourself.
FOOD PROTECTOR PART
If you learned at age 12 that food helped numb painful emotions, it is likely your 12-year-old Protector Part is in charge when you are emotionally eating or binging.
DRINKING PROTECTOR PART
If you learned at 21 that alcohol helped you feel relaxed and confident, then it's 21-year-old Protector Part that triggers you to drink when feeling anxious or unworthy.
"Inner Child holds the key to emotional well-being, recovery from addictions, intimacy in relationships, creativity and wisdom."
Lucia Capacchione, PhD
MORE PRACTICE THE BETTER
The more you practice, the more you build new neural pathways and neuroplasticity for a stronger Soothing System, the part in the mind that allows for a calmer nervous system, higher oxytocin levels, a more loving relationship with yourself and others, and an overall sense of well-being.
IDEAL DAILY PRACTICE
Inner Connecting is an ideal daily practice to build emotional health, reduce toxic stress, and create self-trust. It can be considered a Mindful Self-Compassion practice.
PROCESS PAINFUL EMOTIONS
Journal, as needed, when you are triggered, feeling overwhelmed, or want to resolve painful emotions.
USE FOR INSPIRATION AND CLARITY
Provides an opportune practice to tap into your authenticity, values, genuine feelings, needs, desires, playfulness, creative solutions, and so much more.
"makes it possible to bring yourself up all over again, quicker and better, to recover the joy and zest for life of the happy child, to acquire the competence and effectiveness of the mature adult."
Henry Elkin, PhD
SIX STEPS FOR JOURNALING
Be willing to take caring, responsibility for your 'Inner Child' (emotions and needs). No matter how much pain Inner Child has, you promise to be kind and understanding, rather than abandoning or shaming.
INTENt TO LEARN
There are only two possible intentions in any given moment, Intent to Learn (curious & caring) or Intent to Protect (judgmental & defensive). You'll also apply the 8 C's of Self-Leadership with Inner Child: Calm, Curiosity, Clarity, Compassion, Creativity, Confidence, Courage, and Connection.