Models for coaching
Useful in coaching for Self-Awareness, Understanding Behaviour
- What is the Inner Child?
- History of Jung's original ideas of the Inner Child
- How the inner child concept has evolved in modern thinking, with examples
- Types of Inner Child wound
- What are Caroline Myss's 7 Inner Child Archetypes?
- Caroline Myss's 7 Inner Child Archetypes
- Caroline Myss's 7 Inner Child Archetypes
- Summary of Caroline Myss's 7 Inner Child Archetypes
- Dr. LePera's 7 Inner Child Archetypes
- What are Dr. LePera's 7 Inner Child Archetypes?
- The 7 Inner Child Archetypes
- Summary of Dr. LePera's 7 Inner Child Archetypes
- Using the Inner Child in coaching
What is the Inner Child?
The inner child is a psychological concept that refers to the part of our psyche that embodies our emotional and creative selves. It represents the child we once were, and it is a crucial element in understanding our emotional development and healing past traumas. The inner child is often described as a vulnerable, sensitive, and intuitive part of ourselves that can sometimes be neglected or wounded as we grow into adulthood. It is essential to nurture and care for this part of our psyche to achieve emotional balance and overall mental well-being.
In order to understand the concept of the inner child, it is essential to delve into its origins and how it has evolved over time. The inner child is rooted in the theories of renowned psychologist Carl Jung, who first introduced the idea of archetypes in the early 20th century. In the following sections, we will explore the history of Jung’s ideas, the evolution of the inner child concept, and how it can be utilised in coaching to facilitate emotional healing and personal growth.
History of Jung’s original ideas of the Inner Child
The concept of the inner child has its roots in the work of Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. Jung was a pioneer in the field of analytical psychology and is best known for his theories on the collective unconscious, archetypes, and the process of individuation. In his work, Jung introduced the idea of the child archetype, which is a universal symbol of innocence, vulnerability, and potential.
Jung believed that the child archetype is an essential aspect of the human psyche, representing the innate drive towards growth, transformation, and self-realisation. The child archetype is a symbolic representation of our true self, which is often buried beneath the layers of our conscious mind and social conditioning. By connecting with our inner child, we can rediscover our authentic selves and develop a greater understanding of our emotional needs, desires, and motivations.
How the inner child concept has evolved in modern thinking, with examples
Over the years, the concept of the inner child has grown beyond Jung’s original ideas and has been adopted and adapted by various psychologists, therapists, and spiritual practitioners. Today, the inner child is often viewed as a separate entity within our psyche that embodies our emotional and creative selves. This part of ourselves retains the memories, experiences, and emotions of our childhood, and it can be a source of healing, growth, and transformation when nurtured and cared for.
There is less scientific backing for more modern theories on the Inner Child but, nevertheless, it continues to increase in popularity and it often offers a solid and helpful basis to explore current behaviour, attitudes and needs.
For example, psychologist and author John Bradshaw has popularised the idea of “inner child work” as a therapeutic approach to address unresolved childhood issues and emotional wounds. Inner child work involves connecting with, listening to, and healing our inner child to foster emotional well-being, self-compassion, and personal growth. Similarly, spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has spoken about the importance of embracing and caring for our inner child as a means of cultivating mindfulness, compassion, and inner peace.
In this Coaching Guide we’ll be looking at 3 aspects:
- Types of Inner Child wound
- Caroline Myss’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes
- Dr. LePera’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes
Types of Inner Child wound
As we journey through life, our inner child may become wounded due to various traumatic experiences, emotional neglect, or unhealthy family dynamics. These wounds can manifest in different ways and have a profound impact on our emotional well-being and relationships.
The following are four common types of inner child wounds:
1. Guilt Wound – characteristics and behaviours
The guilt wound is characterised by feelings of unworthiness, shame, and self-blame. Individuals with a guilt wound often struggle with low self-esteem, perfectionism, and a constant need for validation and approval from others. They may also have difficulty setting boundaries, asserting themselves, and expressing their emotions in a healthy manner.
2. Abandonment Wound – characteristics and behaviours
The abandonment wound stems from a fear of being abandoned, rejected, or unlovable. This wound is often rooted in early childhood experiences of separation, loss, or emotional neglect. Individuals with an abandonment wound may struggle with trust issues, fear of intimacy, and a pattern of attracting emotionally unavailable partners. They may also have a tendency to cling to relationships, even when they are unhealthy or toxic.
3. Trust Wound – characteristics and behaviours
The trust wound is characterised by a deep-rooted fear of betrayal, disappointment, and vulnerability. This wound often arises from childhood experiences of broken trust, such as being lied to, manipulated, or taken advantage of by caregivers or authority figures. Individuals with a trust wound may struggle with trust issues, fear of vulnerability, and difficulty forming healthy, secure attachments in relationships.
4. Neglect Wound – characteristics and behaviours
The neglect wound arises from a lack of emotional nurturing, support, and validation during childhood. This wound can manifest in feelings of loneliness, isolation, and emotional numbness. Individuals with a neglect wound may struggle with self-nurturing, self-compassion, and the ability to form deep emotional connections with others.
It’s worth noting that there are similarities between these concepts and those of Attachment Theory, which also looks to codify childhood experiences and their impact on later life.
What are Caroline Myss’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes?
Caroline Myss‘s 7 Inner Child Archetypes are symbols representing different aspects of our childhood experiences and the ways in which they influence our adult lives. By understanding these archetypes, we can gain insight into our own inner child and learn how to heal and nurture these parts of ourselves. The 7 Inner Child Archetypes are: the Wounded child, the Abandoned or orphan child, the Dependent child or Needy Child, the Magical/innocent child, the Nature child, the Divine Child, and the Eternal child.
Caroline Myss’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes
As we journey into self-awareness and personal growth, we often encounter aspects of ourselves that require healing and nurturing. One of the ways to address these needs is by connecting with our inner child. Caroline Myss, a renowned author and medical intuitive, has identified seven archetypes of the inner child that can help us understand and heal these aspects of ourselves. In this article, we will explore each of these archetypes, their beliefs, light and dark sides, and the needs they represent.
Caroline Myss’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes
The Wounded child
The Wounded child archetype embodies the pain, trauma, and emotional wounds we may have experienced in our childhood. This archetype believes that they are fundamentally flawed or damaged, often carrying feelings of guilt and shame. The light side of the Wounded child is the ability to develop empathy, compassion, and understanding for others who have experienced pain and suffering. The dark side, however, may manifest as a tendency to wallow in self-pity or to use their wounds as an excuse for engaging in destructive behaviours.
The Wounded child needs validation, reassurance, and love in order to heal. They also need to learn how to forgive themselves and others, as well as to develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with emotional pain.
The Abandoned or orphan child
The Abandoned or orphan child archetype represents feelings of abandonment, rejection, and loneliness. This archetype believes that they have been left behind or cast aside, often struggling with feelings of unworthiness or a fear of being unlovable. The light side of the Abandoned child is their ability to develop resilience, independence, and self-reliance. The dark side, however, may manifest as a tendency to isolate themselves, push others away, or cling to unhealthy relationships out of fear of being alone.
The Abandoned child needs to feel secure, supported, and loved in order to heal. They also need to learn how to trust others, form healthy attachments, and cultivate a sense of belonging.
The Dependent child or Needy Child
The Dependent child or Needy Child archetype embodies our desire for support, nurturing, and guidance from others. This archetype believes that they are unable to survive or thrive without the help of others, often feeling helpless or powerless. The light side of the Dependent child is their ability to develop strong, supportive relationships and to seek assistance when needed. The dark side, however, may manifest as a tendency to become overly reliant on others, to manipulate others into meeting their needs, or to engage in codependent relationships.
The Dependent child needs to learn how to nurture themselves, cultivate self-sufficiency, and develop a sense of personal agency in order to heal.
The Magical/innocent child
The Magical/innocent child archetype represents our sense of wonder, curiosity, and innocence. This archetype believes in the power of imagination, creativity, and play as essential aspects of life. The light side of the Magical child is their ability to see the world through a lens of enchantment, often inspiring others with their sense of joy and possibility. The dark side, however, may manifest as a tendency to become lost in fantasy or to avoid facing the realities and responsibilities of adult life.
The Magical child needs to maintain a balance between their imaginative world and the demands of reality in order to thrive. They also need to cultivate a sense of purpose, direction, and responsibility while honouring their creative spirit.
The Nature child
The Nature child archetype embodies our innate connection to the natural world and our desire to live in harmony with the environment. This archetype believes that all living beings are interconnected and that we have a responsibility to protect and preserve the earth. The light side of the Nature child is their ability to tap into the healing power of nature, to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of the natural world, and to promote environmental stewardship. The dark side, however, may manifest as a tendency to become overly idealistic, dogmatic, or rigid in their views on environmental issues.
The Nature child needs to find ways to maintain their connection to the natural world while also remaining open to diverse perspectives and approaches to environmental conservation.
The Divine Child
The Divine Child archetype represents our innate connection to the divine or spiritual realm, embodying our sense of wonder, awe, and reverence for the mysteries of the universe. This archetype believes that they are an expression of divine love and that they have a unique purpose to fulfil in this world. The light side of the Divine child is their ability to inspire others with their deep sense of spirituality, to cultivate a strong connection to their inner guidance, and to maintain a sense of humility and gratitude. The dark side, however, may manifest as a tendency to become overly dogmatic, self-righteous, or disconnected from the realities of human experience.
The Divine child needs to maintain a balance between their spiritual connection and their earthly existence in order to fulfil their purpose and thrive.
The Eternal child
The Eternal child archetype embodies our desire to remain youthful, carefree, and unburdened by the responsibilities of adult life. This archetype believes that they can maintain their innocence, playfulness, and sense of wonder indefinitely. The light side of the Eternal child is their ability to bring joy, spontaneity, and laughter to others and to maintain a sense of optimism and hopefulness. The dark side, however, may manifest as a tendency to become irresponsible, immature, or avoidant of the challenges and responsibilities of adult life.
The Eternal child needs to learn how to embrace the process of growth and maturation while maintaining their sense of fun and playfulness.
Summary of Caroline Myss’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes
Caroline Myss’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes provide a framework for understanding and healing the various aspects of our inner child. By recognising and working with these archetypes, we can begin to address our unmet needs, heal our emotional wounds, and cultivate a deeper sense of wholeness and self-acceptance. As we journey into self-awareness and personal growth, we can use these archetypes as guides to help us navigate the complexities of our own inner landscape and ultimately become the most authentic, empowered version of ourselves.
Dr. LePera’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes
Dr. Nicole LePera, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Holistic Psychology movement, has developed a unique approach to understanding and working with the inner child by identifying seven distinct archetypes. These archetypes serve as a guide to understanding the various aspects of one’s inner child and how they may be affecting one’s life and relationships.
What are Dr. LePera’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes?
Dr. LePera’s seven inner child archetypes are derived from her observations of common patterns in her clients’ behaviours and emotional struggles. Each archetype represents a specific set of beliefs, characteristics, and needs that are rooted in childhood experiences. By understanding these archetypes, individuals can better understand their own patterns and triggers, allowing them to break free from unhealthy behaviours and forge healthier relationships with themselves and others.
The 7 Inner Child Archetypes
The Caretaker – Believes, Characteristics, Needs
The caretaker archetype is characterised by a strong sense of responsibility and a desire to take care of others, often at the expense of their own needs. They may have grown up in a household where they were expected to assume a caregiving role, either for a parent or a sibling. As a result, they often feel guilty when they prioritise their own needs and may struggle with setting boundaries.
The caretaker believes that they are only valuable if they are taking care of others, which can lead to a pattern of self-sacrifice and burnout. They may have difficulty asking for help and may feel resentful when their efforts are not recognised or appreciated. To heal, the caretaker needs to learn how to set healthy boundaries, prioritise self-care, and recognise that they deserve love and care just as much as anyone else.
The overachiever archetype is driven by a need for success and validation. They may have grown up in an environment where their worth was determined by their achievements, leading them to develop a strong work ethic and an intense focus on goal achievement. However, this drive can also result in feelings of inadequacy and a fear of failure.
The overachiever believes that they must constantly prove their worth through their accomplishments, which can lead to an unrelenting pursuit of perfection. They may struggle with work-life balance and experience anxiety when they are not actively working towards a goal. To heal, the overachiever needs to learn to embrace self-compassion, cultivate a sense of self-worth that is not dependent on external validation, and create space for rest and relaxation.
The underachiever archetype is characterised by a lack of motivation and direction, often stemming from a fear of failure or a belief that they are not capable of success. They may have experienced criticism or rejection in their childhood, leading them to develop a sense of helplessness and self-doubt.
The underachiever believes that they are not good enough, which can result in a pattern of self-sabotage and avoidance of challenges. They may struggle with setting and achieving goals and may feel stuck in a cycle of mediocrity. To heal, the underachiever needs to recognise their inherent worth and abilities, confront their fears of failure, and develop a growth mindset that embraces learning and personal growth.
The rescuer/protector archetype is driven by a need to protect and save others, often stemming from a childhood in which they felt powerless to prevent harm or abuse. They may have developed a heightened sense of empathy and vigilance, constantly scanning their environment for potential threats or signs of distress in others.
The rescuer/protector believes that it is their responsibility to keep others safe, which can lead to a pattern of over-involvement and codependency. They may struggle to recognise and respect the autonomy of others, and may feel overwhelmed by the emotional weight of their perceived role. To heal, the rescuer/protector needs to learn how to establish healthy boundaries, recognise that they cannot control or prevent all harm, and cultivate a sense of self-worth that is not dependent on their ability to protect others.
The Life of the Party
The life of the party archetype is characterised by a desire to be the centre of attention and a need for constant stimulation and excitement. They may have grown up in an environment where they received praise and validation for their outgoing and charismatic nature, leading them to develop a strong association between social success and self-worth.
The life of the party believes that they must always be entertaining and engaging, which can result in a pattern of superficial relationships and a fear of vulnerability. They may struggle with feelings of loneliness and may use social interactions as a way to avoid dealing with deeper emotional issues. To heal, the life of the party needs to cultivate authentic connections, embrace vulnerability, and develop a sense of self-worth that is not dependent on the approval and admiration of others.
The yes-person archetype is characterised by a need to please others and a fear of rejection or conflict. They may have grown up in a household where their needs and opinions were dismissed or invalidated, leading them to develop a pattern of acquiescence and self-sacrifice.
The yes-person believes that they must always agree with and accommodate others, which can result in a pattern of codependency and a loss of personal identity. They may struggle to assert their needs and desires, and may feel resentful when their efforts to please others are not reciprocated. To heal, the yes-person needs to learn how to set healthy boundaries, develop assertiveness skills, and cultivate a sense of self-worth that is not dependent on the approval of others.
The hero-worshipper archetype is characterised by a tendency to idolise and idealise others, often stemming from a childhood in which they felt powerless or invisible. They may have developed a strong belief in the power of external authority figures to solve their problems or provide them with the love and validation they crave.
The hero-worshipper believes that they must find someone to save them or make them whole, which can result in a pattern of dependency and unrealistic expectations in relationships. They may struggle with feelings of inadequacy and may be prone to self-sabotage in their pursuit of validation from their heroes. To heal, the hero-worshipper needs to recognise their inherent worth and capabilities, develop a sense of self-reliance, and cultivate healthy, balanced relationships.
Summary of Dr. LePera’s 7 Inner Child Archetypes
Dr. LePera’s seven inner child archetypes offer a framework for understanding and healing the wounds of our past. By recognising and addressing the beliefs, characteristics, and needs of our own inner child archetypes, we can break free from unhealthy patterns and cultivate healthier relationships with ourselves and others. As a tool for coaching and therapy, these archetypes can provide valuable insights into the root causes of our issues, empowering us to make lasting change and embrace a more authentic, fulfilling life.
Using the Inner Child in coaching
In coaching, the concept of the inner child can serve as a tool for understanding our emotional needs, healing past wounds, and fostering personal growth. Coaches can help clients connect with their inner child through various techniques, such as guided visualisations, journaling, and creative exercises.
By identifying the specific inner child wounds and archetypes that resonate with a client, coaches can develop a personalised approach to healing and growth that addresses the client’s unique emotional needs and challenges. This process can facilitate deeper self-awareness, emotional resilience, and overall well-being for the client.
The inner child is a crucial aspect of our psyche that embodies our emotional and creative selves. By understanding and nurturing our inner child, we can heal past traumas, cultivate emotional balance, and achieve personal growth. The concept of the inner child has evolved from its origins in Jung’s theories to become a valuable tool in modern psychology, spirituality, and coaching. By recognising the various types of inner child wounds and working with inner child archetypes, we can embark on a journey of healing, self-discovery, and transformation.
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