You cannot master life without an Inner Team that gives the direction from inside out. Eric Berne’s creation of Transactional Analysis (TA) has brought to daylight that we all possess various inner selves, three of which are standard, so to speak, while there are others in people who have more complex personalities. These three basic inner selves are our Inner Child, our Inner Parent, and our Inner Adult.
In my book Walter’s Inner Child Coaching, I walk my readers through the work with our inner entities, which is a work that involves an inner dialogue with each of these entities.
What is the advantage of this work, with the purpose of building a functional Inner Team which is responsible for your internal self-management? First off, you can’t be and realize in your life what you don’t have built into your Inner Team. The principle of realization follows the Law of Similarities. This means that all you can create in the outer world, you must have built as a mental equivalent prior to your expressing it in daily life.
For example, if you want to become a pilot you need to have built the desire to fly into one or more of your inner selves. The Inner Child may be interested in being creatively free and fly like Peter Pan; the Inner Parent may want to guide passengers safely to the destination, and the Inner Adult will be the guide for all the complex cognitive processes involved in flying a modern jetliner.
Without being aware of it in most cases, you build these qualities into your Inner Team by mental imagery of the outcome, by affirming your desire to go for a pilot career, whatever the hurdles may be and the work stress involved, and the severe health check conditions, you have built the will and desire to do it. Your Inner Team then gets ‘programmed’ by your constant positive thoughts about a successful outcome and assists in realizing your plan.
Your Inner Child will motivate you to be creative, first of all. Your Inner Parent will motivate you to be responsible, first of all. And your Inner Adult will motivate you to be rational, efficient and competent, first of all.
In the book Embracing Our Selves, Hal and Sidra Stone show how to work with what they call voice dialogue, which is the interaction of those inner voices, and their dialogue. This book was for me a kind of road map for my own work with recovering and healing my Inner Child, and building my Inner Team into a functional unit. I did this work parallel to a psychotherapy back in 1990/1991, and my psychiatrist was giving me his full permission as to the compatibility of voice dialogue with psychotherapy.
Through the work of Hal and Sidra Stone I learnt that we have one more, rather obnoxious, inner voice: it is the Inner Critic, the voice that stands in the way to creative realization because it is an offshoot of our rational mind and blocks the creative process in every possible and imaginable way! This is why these authors taught me to be aware of how the Inner Critic may sabotage the dialogue with the other inner voices by making them down, by ridiculing them or by outright denying their existence. You have this Inner Critic most active in the so-called skeptics that declare everything irrational as silly and nonsense and regard psychic research as a form of mental derangement.
So I was very diligent to get around the Inner Critic during my phase of preparation and my practicing of spontaneous music on the piano. It was of course a slap in the face of the Inner Critic who will never allow you to even think you can compose music spontaneously, without thinking and planning and technically correct composing techniques. I proved that Inner Critic that it was possible and from 1994 then began to record my improvisations, and have realized 45 online collections with my music, and two professionally produced records last year and this year.
What else was the result of this work? It was an explosion of not only musical, but also literary and artistic creativity. I began to keep a day journal and a dream journal, I was attending classes in painting and photography, I was developing my own style on the piano, and I was writing almost feverishly all kinds of genres, from novels over short stories to poems to essays and book reviews. Within a few years I had a cupboard full of typescripts ready for publishing, having written more than ten thousand pages.
This creative work was connecting me with my true soul that I had lost during the process of education, which had been for me a rather harsh experience as I was brought up in institutions that were abusive and had no interest to help the personality of the child to bloom. There were beatings over beatings both from teachers and peers received in all the four years of primary school, and no assistance for my growing interest in piano playing. Finally, from the age of ten in a boarding, I had a better time and there was a piano that I could play, while when I did classical style exercises, the other boys aggressed me. So I started, not with lessons, but with teaching myself jazz and blues for our piano teacher was that kind of a missed genius who was practicing the piano in the afternoon while crying in class in the morning. He refused to give me lessons, saying he had no time for it. And the other boys liked that kind of music and I could develop myself in performing it well.
So given my early childhood conditions, I was not surprised that my inner child was wounded. Fortunately it was not cataleptic as I have seen it with some friends of mine who had suffered even more severe childhood abuse. The cataleptic inner child is mute and it is rather difficult to motivate it to participate. While the wounded inner child is basically accessible, but cries and whines often. I was then getting familiar with my own narcissistic wounding and could start to heal it through voice dialogue and a growing understanding of my needs. It was a long-term process for I published my book only in 2017 while the work goes back to the 1990s.
Let me give you some short guideline of how to start up your Inner Team and begin to dialogue with your inner voices. I would suggest that like me, you start with your Inner Child. The first thing you need to learn is relaxation. You can do voice dialogue only when you get your rational mind, your Inner Critic, out of the way. This can be done by listening to soothing music for a while and having a glass of wine. Or you may do relaxation exercises as taught by the Jacobson school, by systematically relaxing one muscle after the other.
For me, personally, nothing worked really well but improvising on the piano. Very quickly could I relax when I had found a harmonious melody that I loved. Finally I was privileged because my psychiatrist was teaching me self-hypnosis which is the most perfectly suited method to use. I will write other blog entries that go more into detail about how self-hypnosis operates in the brain and how you can learn it.
For now, just let me say it is an advanced mode of relaxation that gets you easily in a distance to the outside world, and in a state of focused attention that is directed inside, upon your thoughts, your feelings, and your entire state of being. It is a condition where you can write things you can’t write in wake consciousness, a state between wake and sleep, also called the alpha state because your brain waves get longer, and are called alpha waves. Once you are in alpha, you can access your inner voices, and they will reply.
Behold, you do not hear these voices with your physical ears, but with your inner ears, or your spiritual awareness, to use another word for it. You perceive those voices thus rather than hear them. They are intuitive flashes that come up in a rather subtle manner and you need to be attentive and not lose focus, to write them down quickly, as quickly as you can. For they may come in throngs, once your attention is fully built, and you may get a writer’s cramp in your hand to fix it all on paper. As I can type very fast, I used an electronic writing machine which allowed me to fix those dialogues on disk drives, while I could never have followed up writing by hand.
I hope this basic road map gives you some inspiration to start this exciting work and perhaps, down the road, become fully healed, whole, and very creative. You will also see that you will then be able to fully recover from abuse and heal your narcissistic wounding which will enable you to be really yourself, authentic, and equipped with a good dose of autonomy and self-confidence.