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Attachment and Your Inner Child

You may have seen social media posts or heard people talk about attachment and “inner child work.” I want to chat about what exactly these big terms mean for therapy and how we actually apply them in session.

Therapists at The Couch use a wide variety of therapeutic approaches depending on a client’s needs. Regardless of the other tools being used, one common thread we weave into all our work is healing through an attachment lens. Therapy with an attachment lens is all about relationships.

It entails understanding how your earliest relationships shape your present-day experiences, relationships, and patterns. Through this approach, we explore how your childhood—especially interactions with caregivers—influences your sense of self, trust, and security. (Now, I’m not saying we’ll “blame” everything on your parents. Attachment work isn’t about assigning blame or trying to change the past; it’s about understanding yourself, finding healing, and changing how you’ll feel in the future.)

One natural way attachment shows up in therapy is through the safe and nurturing therapeutic relationship we create together. Just like a secure attachment bond, this relationship provides a supportive environment for exploring vulnerabilities, processing emotions, and fostering healing.

As we work together, we may uncover patterns of attachment that influence your behaviors and beliefs. Whether it's a secure, anxious, avoidant, or disorganized attachment style, the goal is to bring awareness to these patterns and cultivate more fulfilling ways of relating to yourself and others.

Attachment frames the importance of inner child work. This work is all about reconnecting with the younger versions of yourself––those innocent, playful, and even wounded or vulnerable parts that you carry within. Through therapy, we get to nurture and integrate these aspects of yourself, leading to profound personal growth and healing.

One way I approach inner child work is with tools from Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS). Picture your mind as a big family with various parts playing different roles. If you’ve ever seen Inside Out, that might be a helpful way to picture it, although everyone’s internal world is different. In IFS, we gently explore these parts, understanding their unique perspectives and needs. By fostering compassion and harmony among these internal "family members," we can resolve inner conflicts and achieve greater self-awareness.

Another form of therapy I draw from for inner child healing is Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT). This approach focuses on the power of emotions and relationships in shaping our inner worlds. Through EFIT, we explore past experiences, attachment patterns, and emotional needs, creating a safe space to express, process, and heal old wounds.

The journey of attachment-focused therapy can be long and isn't always easy, but it's incredibly rewarding. It's about embracing vulnerability, nurturing self-compassion, and reclaiming the joy and authenticity of the many parts, memories, and feelings that make you who you are.

If you're curious about doing therapy through the lens of attachment, consider reaching out to a therapist who specializes in this approach. Some of my favorite work in the therapy room happens when you decide your inner child is deserving of healing and you realize you can give them what they need.

Here's to nurturing all the different parts of ourselves!


(Learn more about Megan here)


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