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Inner healing is a method of therapy that claims to help resolve old emotional wounds. Emotional wounds inflicted in the past, often in childhood, are believed responsible for many of the dysfunctions people can experience in adult life. Inner healing typically seeks to soothe the inner child, resolving old conflicts and healing old emotional wounds to help patients overcome long-held resentments, hurts and negative beliefs. This type of therapy typically involves using hypnosis, and it tries to help the patient heal his inner child by imagining that a loving, accepting presence has entered the patient's past to soothe the inner child. It's considered important to note that this presence, who may often be a cultural or historical figure like Jesus Christ or Buddha, enters the patient's past in order to heal old wounds only in the patient's imagination, and not in real life.
People who practice, or undergo, inner healing work generally subscribe to the belief that most emotional and psychological problems occur as the result of childhood traumas. People who have suffered from severe emotional or psychological trauma in childhood are often considered to possess an injured or traumatized inner child. The inner child is believed to be the part of a person's psyche that clings to the beliefs and behaviors learned in childhood. Some believe that, when early traumatic experiences harm the inner child, adult emotional and psychological problems can develop. These problems typically include long-held resentments, fears and self-defeating beliefs.
The underlying premise of inner healing work typically states that patients can heal their childhood traumas by reliving those events, usually under hypnosis. The inner healer typically asks the patient to imagine that a benevolent, kind and accepting third party has entered the traumatic situation, in order to offer the inner child unconditional love and acceptance. The identity of this third party may vary, depending on the preference of the individual patient, but it's generally considered best for patients to choose a figure they deem capable of unconditional love and healing. Christian practitioners of inner healing work may, for instance, ask patients to summon Jesus Christ into their traumatic childhood memories, while secular practitioners might ask the patient to choose another mentor, such as a former teacher, or a respected politician. Some patients might choose to visualize traveling back into their own memories as their adult selves in order to comfort the inner child.
The visualization exercises practiced in inner healing generally help patients to imagine what it would have felt like to experience unconditional love and acceptance, rather than trauma, in specific past situations. This practice is said to help resolve past emotional wounds, to help patients overcome the psychological hang-ups that may be holding them back in adult life.
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