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As a child moves through the developmental stages of his or her life, the hope is for a healthy progression through these stages, leading him or her towards functional adulthood. The individual then would be able to develop healthy coping mechanisms and participate in healthy relationships.

However, if deficits interfere with the progression through these stages, an individual may have gaps in his or her development. This makes it very difficult to successfully navigate the stages that follow, as well as manage many adult responsibilities and functions.

When attachment to primary caregivers is secure, it is more likely there will be successful and healthy emotional development. However, in family systems in which some type of abuse or neglect is present – such as addiction and/or mental illness – secure attachments are difficult, at best. This can be a contaminating force, leading to unhealthy coping mechanisms and relational struggles in adulthood.

This wounding and original pain result in core issues that impact relationships and personal and professional aspirations. They also may be an underlying force for mental health and addiction issues. It is important to address this wounding and work toward healing the pain to resolve the core issues and allow for healthier adult functioning.

Inner Child work involves revisiting developmental stages to heal the inner child, allowing an individual to identify and connect with his or her wounded parts. As each stage of development is addressed, participants work to access frozen feelings and old wounds from childhood that have resulted in painful choices and behaviors in adulthood.

As the wounds are healed, relationships with self and others can improve, a sense of personal power and creativity flourishes, and a spiritual connection is strengthened. The individual begins to get in touch with or rediscover his or her authentic self.

New Leaf Center’s Inner Child Workshop series — based on John Bradshaw’s book, The Homecoming – is designed to help participants access their original pain and wounding and work towards healing and transformation. The Series has been an important part of the healing process for many clients over the nine years the Center has offered it.

If you are interested in more information or in registering for the Fall 2017 Inner Child Workshop series, visit the Workshops and Special Events section of our website. And feel free to call New Leaf Center at (407) 644-8588 with any questions about the Series.

Patti Hall, MS, LMHC, CAC, CSAT