The Inner Tribe: Taking Inner Child Work a Step Further

By Licia Berry

Inner Child work came to the main stream vernacular in the 1990s with John Bradshaw’s book Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child. According to Bradshaw, Inner Child work is a “process of exploring the unfinished business of each developmental stage” of our childhood, healing and enlivening the playful, generous spirit inside of each of us.

There are lasting effects of a painful or damaging childhood, well documented in the sciences. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study is a research study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study demonstrated an association of adverse childhood experiences with health and social problems across the lifespan.

Psychologically, it is understood that the psyche is arrested developmentally where moments of trauma may have been sustained. In recent years, psychological techniques such as Parts Integration Therapy and Internal Family Systems therapy have caught on to the reality that there can be parts of ourselves frozen in time, as if “trapped in amber.”

Validated by new discoveries in attachment research and neuroscience, Inner Child work—while dismissed at times as narcissistic or self-indulgent—has become a common thrust of therapies and healing techniques the world over. But is it only the Inner Child that needs healing?

You may be experiencing a hidden, wounded part of you that is crying out for attention and healing. And it may be the twenty-seven-year-old you, or the forty-two-year old you. In reality, we can experience moments of trauma at any point in our lives, and potentially that moment can be “trapped in amber” with a part of ourselves trapped along with it.

In 2007, I discovered that the application of Inner Child work to adult parts of self was very effective, with a twist. At the time, an aspect of my psyche was calling for my attention. A psychological, emotional boundary had been crossed by a family member when I was in my twenties that I had not processed and healed. That aspect of self was now banging on the walls of my inner house at age forty-one, when I needed to hold a boundary with that same family member. It was asking to be brought home, integrated into my psyche, and honored for its challenging journey.

And the twist? In the work, I had to meet the adult part as a loving aspect of Spirit. I essentially had to “parent” that adult part of self by representing the feminine face of God, or Great Mother. By nurturing the split-off part, and utilizing a specific set of questions and protocol in what I named the Inner Tribe Technique, I was able to achieve integration and healing in record time. In my thirty years of practicing healing work, I have never witnessed a swifter, more complete healing response.

As a practitioner of indigenous healing and born of an ancestral lineage with ancient knowledge of interconnection of All Creation, I have known that every age and stage of our lives is indeed carried within us, alive and intelligent. It is understood that we are an amalgam of our life experience and our choices. Our wholeness is determined by the inclusion of ALL aspects of self. All tribe members are valued for their unique contribution. All aspects of the psyche are meant to play their roles in our lives. There is no unnecessary part in All Creation. The Inner Tribe must remain whole.

And so we have the work of reclaiming and championing not only the inner children, but every age and stage in which we have had to abandon ourselves in a moment of crisis in order to live through it. It is the only sane, kind thing to do. In healing the Inner Tribe we free ourselves to live fully in the present, enjoying vitality, new joy, and energy in living.

If you feel as though you are dragging an anchor behind you, find yourself self-sabotaging, can’t quite gain the momentum to achieve areas of fulfillment or success that you consciously strive for, or simply find a strange apathy for life, you could be a candidate for the Inner Tribe technique. We are only as successful as we are whole.

A pioneer of the Inner Tribe™ Technique, and author of the international bestseller I Am Her Daughter: The Healing Path to a Woman’s Power, Licia Berry utilizes the Whole Brain state to access ancestral memory and holistic approaches to health. She offers trainings and certification in the Inner Tribe Technique for personal fulfillment, success, and wholeness.,