March 29, 2022

Inner Child Healing (with Dr Jean Cheng): Part 3


EPISODE 45     

In this third and final part of the series on Inner Child Healing with Dr Jean Cheng, we talk about:

- How do we begin to heal our inner child? What is inner child reparenting? 
- How does healing our relationship with ourselves help us love others better?
- What might we be able to expect if we embark on inner child healing?

Have questions about inner child healing? Ask them HERE!

Share this episode via this episode page.

BOOKS ON INNER CHILD HEALING
Healing Your Aloneness by Erika Chopich & Margaret Paul
Homecoming by John Bradshaw
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lyndsey Gibson
Running on Empty by Jonice Webb

PODCASTS FEATURING DR JEAN CHENG
Reparenting My Inner Child
My Healing Journey

CHAPTER MARKERS
00:15 - Introduction
03:26 - Reparenting Our Inner Child
08:57 - My Inner Child & Relationship with God
19:34 - Healing Our Wounded Inner Child
24:41 - Showing Our Inner Child Compassion
29:37 - Trauma Informed
30:47 - Finding a Suitable Therapist
34:25 - Recommendations
39:16 - PRAXIS: Listen. Ponder. Act
42:03 - Conclusion
Available here.

TRANSCRIPT
Available here.

REFLECTION PROMPT
Listen.
- As you listened the conversation, was there anything that resonated particularly strongly with you?
- Take note of what that might be.

Ponder.
- How easy or difficult is it for you to get in touch gently and without being overwhelmed with your emotions?

Act.
- I invite you to take one concrete step towards learning more about inner child work. 
- Pick one of these resources to begin with.
- Submit any questions you may have about inner child healing. 

For full details of this reflection prompt, please see transcript.


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Transcript

EPISODE 45 | INNER CHILD HEALING (WITH DR. JEAN CHENG): PART 3

If you're trying to do this work, and you're finding that it's very hard for you to – for example – be compassionate to yourself, and you find yourself getting so irritated, so angry, I will actually say maybe the better thing to do is to pause.

[00:00:15] INTRODUCTION
Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host, Ann Yeong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax, and listen on to Becoming Me.

[00:00:48]
Hello again, dear listeners! Today, you will hear the third and final part of my conversation with Dr. Jean Cheng on the topic of inner child healing. Here are some things we will be talking about.

1. How do we begin to heal our inner child?
2. What is inner child reparenting?
3. If I'm a person of faith, what has inner child healing got to do with my relationship with God?
4. And how does healing our relationship with ourselves help us to love others better? – What might we be able to expect if we embark on inner child healing.

[00:01:28]
Do listen til the end, as Dr. Jean Cheng also offers some tips and recommendations for those wishing to seek help in healing their inner child. This is yet another episode with some deep insights and sharing. I really enjoyed this conversation and I hope that you will too.

[00:01:50]
Ann: So, one of the things I found very helpful about inner child work, specifically, is that it helps me see how to be in relationship with myself. Because if I start off thinking, how do I take care of myself? – I don't know. I mean, like, who is me, you know?

[00:02:04]
Who is this self, and I don't even know – and like I said, I wasn't even in touch with how I felt, what I wanted. But being able to imagine – for me, I think – imagine like there is a child really quiet, you know, there's someone else that I need to look out for, actually made it easier for me at the start to start, I guess, hearing how I'm actually feeling.

[00:02:25]
And actually, the first time I kind of, so-called met my inner child – she was very angry. As in she was rather sullen, you know, because I haven't let her speak and she's actually quite talkative. I mean, she is actually very talkative, you know – like I haven't allowed her to speak for a long time.

[00:02:46]
And you were right that, actually, when I first started listening to myself and my inner child, the things that she often said was just, I don't want to do this because I'm really very tired already. I can't take anymore. I can't take on anymore. I don't want to do this other thing that people are requesting because I don't care how we're supposed to help people.

[00:03:08]
You know, it's like, I don't want to do it because I'm really, really tired already. And I'm very grumpy. And at first, I found that my inner child was a bit reticent in even giving voice because in the past, I have a very poor record of listening to her or giving her what she needs, right?

[00:03:26] REPARENTING OUR INNER CHILD
So, it's like toughen up and just push through anyway. Yeah, so, that process – I thought maybe we could go into that next one, in terms of how do we heal a wounded inner child. You gave a lot of examples with an actual child and parenting, right? And I know the process of healing an inner child is also often called reparenting. Reparenting.

Dr. Jean: Yes. Yes, yes.

Ann: But yeah. Could you say something about that? And how we can bin to help our inner child.

[00:03:54]
Dr. Jean: So, reparenting is, we reparent our inner child. And what is reparenting? Reparenting is us taking on the responsibility now, of being the parents of these inner child – children, that live inside of us. And what this means is that we now learn to attune to them – to what they're telling us.

[00:04:19]
Like I said just now, you know – learning to be with your feelings, learning to listen, what is it trying to communicate to me without thinking that all children are bad, our inner child – children, are dangerous. That actually, you know what, I believe that you have something nice to tell me.

[00:04:37]
I mean, for you, right, Ann, your example of your inner child just saying, I don't want to do this. I I don't want to serve already just because I'm just very tired, I want to sleep. Isn't that just wisdom? Isn't that humility to say that God made me with 24 hours a day. And He sanctioned that we sleep this amount of times.

[00:04:55]
Isn't good wisdom that your inner child is reminding you of your humanity and the humility to obey your needs.

Ann: Amen, yes!

Dr. Jean: Right? So, that's an example of, you know, us just listening to our inner child and letting our inner child also enrich us with that child-like wisdom.

Ann: They speak truth.

Dr. Jean: They do! They speak truth! And they can see discrepancies, inequalities, fairness, unfairness – and they call out hypocrisy very well.

[00:05:25]
And they will do that for us as well. So, listening to our feelings and daring to believe that there is something wise here, maybe. It doesn't mean we have to follow everything in the exact manner that our inner child is telling us to do that – no. But we listen first, and we don't judge it and then we take it in ourselves, and we contemplate that in a sense that, we're like, okay, how do I meet this need?

[00:05:46]
At the end of the day, it is really often to do with how do I meet this need of my inner child? Reparenting work is a lot of meet the needs of our wounded inner children, who had so many needs that were met unmet. And sometimes, one of the unmet needs is just listening.

[00:06:09]
Sometimes even that is reparenting – to be able to just listen even if I don't understand, but I want to be present to you, you know? It's like if your child is going through a meltdown, you don't understand what's going on, but you're just there. You're just witnessing it. You're just – you're not disconnecting from it.

[00:06:23]
So, it's the same thing here. Sometimes I don't know why my feelings are the way that they are, but I'm just going to be present to it and not judge it, for example. So, that could also meet the need of an unconditional presence.

Ann: Yes. Yes. That unconditional presence. You know, I think, one major breakthrough I made with my inner child earlier on was – I realised – what she wanted to say to me was, would you really still love me no matter how badly I behave?

[00:06:48]
You know, and that – I remember, it was a very emotional thing for me to realise that was the voice of my inner child. Because that actually – I think that I've been asking that question, maybe subconsciously my whole life. Like, that's why I feel like I always have to be on my best behaviour and, you know, because the question is always, will you still love me? You know, no matter what, even if I behave badly – will you really still – will you really not leave me?

[00:07:21]
And I realised that I, well – I was always asking that question of others – I mean, without actually saying the question. But in my relationships, right, that now, I could answer that question for my inner child – yes!

[00:07:32]
No matter what happens or how badly you behave, I will not abandon you. I will not leave you – me, right? I will not abandon myself; you know? I will be here with you as long as it takes for us to figure this out. Maybe to grow up together, you know, or whatever – but I will not leave you.

[00:07:51]
And that was a huge breakthrough for me, when I realised I could actually offer myself that unconditional presence and love that I had hungered for all my life. And I always looked outside of myself because you know, as a child, you needed that from outside of yourself and never really found.

Dr. Jean: Yes, yes.

Ann: Yeah.

[00:08:11]
Dr. Jean: We will keep looking for it outside of ourselves. I mean, a term that sometimes people use is "projection". So, we might end up in fights and with people – especially our spouses or our closer ones. And we would be like – in your situation, it could be like, you don't love me. You don't love me because I'm not doing this for you.

[00:08:30]
You only would love me if I do – you know, that's kind of how it comes out. And actually, what we really want is for them to reassure us, like, no, I love you just as you are. But actually, when we are reparenting ourselves, we are saying, I love myself. I love – essentially, it's "I love myself", but it's like, I love my younger self unconditionally – which is something that unconditional love really heals.

[00:08:57] MY INNER CHILD & RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Ann: Yeah.

Dr. Jean: And a lot of us, when we were younger, for various reasons, could not experience that. I mean, you know, God is the only one that has fully unconditional love.

Ann: Yeah! Yes. And even then, like I never experienced it. I knew God loved me unconditionally because that's what we were taught. And that's why I believe cognitively -

[00:09:22]
– I choose to believe that. But I never experienced that. And I never could understand also – why is it that I couldn't experience it. And you know, for me, it was really through doing inner child work – it's so amazing – that I felt it unlocked that part of me that couldn't receive that unconditional love of God.

[00:09:39]
I mean, God was clearly for me in this whole process. I mean, He was the one who initiated it. He, you know, He invited me into this. It was unexpected because in the past, I didn't see this as particularly spiritual kind of work – but it was! Like you said earlier, it's very holy sacred work because I felt God was healing this relationship I had between me and myself.

[00:10:03]
And healing that relationship – He made me more able to experience His love in a very real way, you know? Yeah. So, in the past, even when I could experience, maybe for a while, that love was unconditional – it was a fleeting experience. And then, you know, like what my body remembers – I love how you also talked about, you know, that it's connected to our body.

[00:10:26]
Our emotions are connected to our body, right. So, it's like the body is still in that disposition where it's in fear, because what it remembers more, is being rejected or that fear of being rejected. So, even though I have had some experiences – powerful even, conversion experiences of God's unconditional love – when those moments pass, the default state was still one of, you know, I'm afraid.

[00:10:53]
I'm still trying to be that good Catholic girl or that whatever.

Dr. Jean: Yes.

Ann: And it was when after I started this healing, something in me began to relax. I think it started to connect to the body. And I remembered when I noticed one day – after quite a lot of years of this kind of work – that I no longer need to remind myself that God loves me no matter what.

[00:11:18]
Because in the past, I would actually tell that to myself. I would say it to myself, and I would, you know, like, God loves me, right? God loves me. At some point I stopped having to say it and I realised, oh, it's because it's in my body now. It's like, my body knows – I don't have to keep remembering it. The memory is stored in my body.

Dr. Jean: Oh, that is the word became flesh in you. It's no longer in your head. Embodying the word inside you.

Ann: Yes, yes.

[00:11:47]
And God's unconditional love has reached – seeped into the flesh, into the body that had been wounded, rewiring it. And I mean, the process is still ongoing. I mean, I know that sometimes like, yeah. I love what you said about being curious. One of my earlier podcast episodes was about also being compassionate and curious and courageous.

[00:12:08]
Like, when we find ourselves kind of like spiralling, you know? Something maybe triggered us, and then that's a good time to be compassionate, courageous, and also curious. Like, I wonder what's going on, right? What's on. But yeah!

Dr. Jean: I wanted to say something about what you said there, as well.

Ann: Go ahead!

Dr. Jean: Because you know, how you were saying, like, you couldn't experience God's love for you, but instead, God helped you to experience your love for yourself.

[00:12:37]
And it's true, then that you felt His love for you. It just – I feel like many times, our teachings that we've been hearing from various church sources tends to be about how can – it's always a sense of reliance on God, right? It's always a sense like, God save me. Which is a part of our theology and a part of that relationship.

[00:13:03]
But if you think about the ultimate theology of what role does God most identify Himself with? It is a parent, a father. And He parents, a son, Jesus. And through that relationship of father and son, came the third part of God, which is the Holy Spirit. And remember, that God, before he formed people to love, He was in relationship with Himself first.

Ann: With Himself, yes.

[00:13:42]
Dr. Jean: And if we truly are the sons and daughters of God as the word claims that we are, aren't we supposed to bare incarnate to the same thing? Which is be in relationship with ourselves. And isn't that actually the hallmark of a good parenting. Good parenting is not that my adult child continues to depend on me, continues to look to me for approval, continues to ask me in every single position. Like, mummy, should I do this – when they are already an adult. It's appropriate when they were young.

[00:14:11]
But when you're older, it should be kind of be like, you know what, it's a bit like the father to the eldest son, you know? Everything in my house is yours already, in that sense. It's like, use everything that I have nurtured and parented you with, and make your decision. What would you like to do. Trust that you have me in you, and it's the same thing here with us also.

[00:14:33]
You know, it's when we are called to be adults as well. We are called to clean out adulthood, and learn to be in relationship with ourselves, just like the first relationship. I mean, based on our Christian theology, Catholic theology thinking – the first relationship is being in relationship ourselves. That's the Holy Trinity, right?

[00:14:58]
So, isn't that, actually, the most sacred one first? And out of that flows serving other people and falling in love with other people – because the love that you have with yourself is so secure and so complete that you can now flow out in abundance to other people. So, I don't know – I just wanted to say that.

[00:15:20]
Yeah, I think sometimes we can think that loving ourself is a very selfish thing or something like that. But the Holy Trinity is a relationship with itself.

Ann: Yeah, God loves Himself. That's true – God loves himself. I mean, and He models that for us, if we're made in the image of God, that that also must take flesh in us. I think, I mean, you know, this whole thing is such an incredible mystery. And mysteries you know, it always goes beyond what our human mind can grasp.

[00:15:48]
And I think it's a bit like – okay, I'm not a physicist, but from the middle I know about quantum physics and – you know, it's how you can't measure like two different traits at the same time. And I think when we try to talk about understanding ourselves or God or our relationship with God – when we can explain one part, it's like, we can't, at the same time, grasp all the other parts that, you know.

[00:16:09]
I mean, it's because we can't. I mean, we're not – I don't think we're not meant to. So, a lot of this is meant to be experienced and lived, I think, much more than actually understood. I know that there are people who might disagree with me. But I think there's a real danger sometimes, of locking ourselves up in the very narrow confines of our mind, forgetting how limited we are.

[00:16:29]
We're finite creatures. We cannot fully understand and grasp anything, whether it's in science or in, you know, in theology. But we are so amazingly created, that there's so much wisdom, you know, in our bodies as well in our minds, and in our spirits, in our emotions, that if we were in right order, so to speak – I mean, in right order, right relationship with ourselves, and with God and with others.

[00:16:56]
All these, you know, lists – it's like everything kind of feeds one thing into the other, you know? Listening to ourselves can help us to know how to be in right relationship with someone else as well.

Dr. Jean: Yes, yes.

Ann: So, that's also why I really – I mean, this whole thing about being authentic and becoming more whole is really a journey out of that, you know – that being wounded and not knowing that we're wounded. Living out of a woundedness, being unhappy and not knowing why we're unhappy.

[00:17:29]
I mean, it's a long journey with many different facets, you know, I suppose. But yeah, that's a – I'm glad you spoke to that process also. You know, bringing in the integration of our spirituality and this kind of work with ourself.

Dr. Jean: Yeah, and just one other part on that when it comes to reparenting -

[00:17:54]
– because God's first role, or the role that He most identifies with in the Bible, constantly is to be a parent. When we take on this role of being that parent to ourselves, we are learning how – and we grow in our ability to parent ourselves. I tell you; you will then taste – your heart expands to taste, my goodness – this is the kind of love that God could have for me too.

[00:18:19]
If I, you know, marry a man, right – or a human being can love myself this way, what more God? So, it's very sacred work that's why – when it comes to reparenting ourselves.

Ann: Yes, and it's also work that, I think because often, we can't do this alone-alone, right?

[00:18:42]
And having another person on the journey – whether it's a professional like yourself or someone close to us, who is also making that same journey and often can reflect to us what we are maybe not able to see yet, of ourselves. And offer us that unconditional presence, you know, that we can offer ourselves.

Dr. Jean: Yes!

[00:19:04]
Ann: That's so that's so beautiful. That's so holy, isn't it?

Dr. Jean: Yes!

Ann: And then exactly like you said, if a human being can help me in this way, in this moment, how much more God? It gives us a taste of really, you know?

Dr. Jean: That His love is...

Ann: In the flesh. Yes. (His love is) infinitely more than that.

Dr. Jean: Yes, absolutely. Yes. On that note, you know, having somebody journey with us – because your original question was, you know, how do we do this work of reparenting ourselves?

[00:19:34] HEALING OUR WOUNDED INNER CHILD
How do we heal the wounded inner child? I will say that your experience, Ann, of your inner child being angry with you, your inner child, sometimes not even talking to you or just – it's like, we can do this work, right? And nothing comes up. I can be with that sensation of anxiety. And now there's no words, for example.

[00:19:54]
Ann: Right.

Dr. Jean: Like there's no connection. It's like, we can feel quite frustrated, we can wonder, like what on earth? This does not work. But actually, this could be that your inner child and you have not had a relationship before. And again, if you think about children, if a stranger comes to them and talks to them, they're not going to be talking to you.

[00:20:15]
They would just kind of look at you and I eye you suspiciously. But what helps you over time is you are consistent, you are patient, you are there, you keep showing up consistently, you are dependable. You like, you know what, take your time. You don't have to talk to me, but I am here for you. And I'm just going to keep showing up consistently.

[00:20:34]
And I'm patient, I'm not going to scold you. Of course, you will be suspicious of me. I'm a stranger trying to know you, trying to be your parent – my goodness. You know? So, I mean, yeah. It will take time. But over time, when we can show up like that, our inner child will start to learn, huh, are you really dependable?

[00:20:57]
I might start to test you a little bit. I'll share this a little bit and see how you respond.

Ann: Yeah!

Dr. Jean: And if you respond by retraumatizing your inner child – for example, you beat your inner child, like "you're so selfish", like that comes out – you know, then, okay. The next time your inner child's going to take longer. It's going to be a long process again.

[00:21:16]
Ann: You're right. I had to earn her trust. It was really like, you know? And so one of the most wonderful moments I remembered was when I had been doing this work for some time, and then there was a very difficult situation, you know, where I needed – I mean, I was expected to be present and, you know, and there are good reasons for me to be present, but my initial was really reeling against it.

[00:21:41]
Like, I knew I was not – like, she didn't want to go there. And I think I was talking to her and saying something like, you know, look, can we just take it one step at a time? Let's say we go, but I'll check in with you, like very frequently during that day. And at any point, if we are not okay, if you're not okay, we will just leave, you know, like we will.

[00:22:05]
And what I kind of like got back from her was so amazing. But she just said like, oh, you're cool. I like this.

[00:22:16]
Because I think I had also built up a bit more confidence also, and my parenting voice was like, you know, I know I can take care of you. I know I can keep this promise, right. That we’ll go in, but if at any point, you’re not okay, we'll just go, right. And I felt like my inner child was saying like, yeah, well, you know, I like that. You're cool. And I trust you. Can. Okay.

[00:22:34]
So, then she was okay with going with it first, and then knowing that I will check in and that we have that option, right? At any point if I can't take this, I don't want this, we'll go. In the end, I made it through the whole event, the whole day.

Dr. Jean: Wow!

Ann: And we were okay. And it felt like such a triumph, like, because you know exactly, I did not force myself to go in spite of how I felt – I had that conversation.

[00:23:01]
I listened to myself; I acknowledged my needs. But at the same time, I felt like I had matured in kind of like, you know, accompanying myself into an adult situation where I needed to be an adult. So yeah, so that was, I remember – that was a milestone in my inner healing journey with my inner child, because it was the first time she kind of said, oh, you're cool.

[00:23:20]
You're cool. I trust you.

Dr. Jean: Aww.

Ann: And I feel like I can trust you. And yes, sure. It's all right.

Dr. Jean: You were able to give your child that sense of autonomy, encouragement and constant connection. And your inner child could respond to that. It's so beautiful, Ann! That moves me a lot.

[00:23:44]
Ann: I'm happy to share. I mean, this work is really so full of surprises and unexpected turns.

Dr. Jean: And I would say because it's also sometimes so full of surprises, and I mean, like, we talk about the good stuff here. But sometimes, inner child work can actually be very, very scary and it can even be retraumatizing to yourself to do this work, depending on what you've through in your history, that you might not even be aware of.

[00:24:21]
So, I will say that actually, if you're trying to do this work – I mean to the audience that's listening to this – if you're trying to do this work and you're finding that it's very hard for you to – for example – be compassionate to yourself, and you find yourself getting so irritated, so angry, I will actually say maybe the better thing to do is to pause.

Ann: Agreed.

[00:24:41] SHOWING OUR INNER CHILD COMPASSION
Dr. Jean: Don't go further because if you keep forcing this, but you keep trying to meet your inner child with that anger, that impatience, that irritation. Well, that is pretty much kind of again, giving that inner child, what she probably received – because that impatience is probably something that you experienced when you were a young girl, like respond to me, respond to me.

[00:24:59]
And then, now you are doing the same to your inner child. So, if it's hard to access kindness, compassion, gentleness, I will not say that there's anything wrong with you, right? Because people might think, oh my gosh, other people can do this, but I can't do this. No – I will say that this probably speaks to the severity of what you went through when you were younger.

[00:25:19]
And it would really help if you could actually seek support from a trauma experienced therapist. For example, somebody who knows this kind of work to – as Ann mentioned just now – which is being able to receive compassion from somebody else first. For me, I couldn't – my life changed in doing this work.

[00:25:41]
When I first received it from someone else, I couldn't get it to myself. What was compassion? Like to me, that word – it bounced off me. It was like compassion. Huh? Nice word. Nice lingo. But there was no connection with it – I had no connection with it. It was not word made flesh in me, at all. But today, it is in everything that I do. And it's because I first tasted what compassion was from somebody else first, in doing this work.

[00:26:09]
So, I would say it is important to let ourselves be accompanied as well, if we can. It just makes the work so much easier as well, when you have somebody guiding you and somebody's nurturing you alongside you, nurturing yourself.

Ann: Yeah. Yes. I really, really believe in resources, you know, like both – I mean like human resources and tools and learning, you know, some of these things.

[00:26:38]
So yeah. I mean, we've spoken a lot about all this, you know, the inner child work and. Maybe as we go toward rounding off – because I'm also very aware of – this has been such incredible conversation. We could keep going on.

Dr. Jean: Yes, we can!

Ann: I think there's so much more, right? Yeah, there's so much more. But this is meant to be an introduction to my listeners. I think this has been a very good introduction, so that they have a felt sense of what is this that we're talking about, you know?

[00:27:02]
Yeah. And I know off the top of my head, I mean, you know, people who say, okay sounds like something I want to do. How do I know who to go to? – You know, to do this. For myself, it started out from within the context of a spiritual director who also had some training in some of this kind of like, inner work.

[00:27:29]
So, and she was that compassionate presence, you know. And I did it in some retreat settings. But I know even within – at least in Singapore, where we are, very few of the people I know in spiritual direction actually is capable of doing this kind of work. And I imagine – I don't know how common is it, let's say in the therapeutic community – is it something that's also not that necessarily easy to find? – Inner child work.

[00:27:57]
Dr. Jean: It is not as commonly found in a therapeutic setting – at least in Singapore. But it is still possible. I will, recommend that, you know, for the audience that wants to look for a therapist who can journey with them in inner child work – look for somebody who is trauma informed or trauma trained. But know that people can advertise themselves as using these labels, but they actually do not practice inner trauma and informed on trauma experience manner.

[00:28:24]
So, I think what is most helpful is when you meet these therapists, notice your own felt sense. Do you feel nurtured by them? Do you feel safe? Do you feel like it is helping you to make sense of yourself? Do you feel like you are growing in compassion for yourself? Do you feel that you are able to grow in relationship with yourself and feel like you are safer within yourself?

[00:28:54]
Of course, this takes time, but if right at the start, you're already noticing that you feel quite shut down by the therapist. Or the therapist is dismissing you, for example, then maybe that's not the best fit for you in doing this work. So, notice somebody who can hold this space for you, and you feel safe inside and you feel that you have safety to grow.

[00:29:16]
You feel like you can trust this person a bit more. I would say that these are some signs of whether someone's trauma informed or not, regardless of whether they advertise themselves as that.

Ann: Right. I'm thinking that that very phrase you use could be very new to a lot of people who are listening to this podcast – trauma informed.

[00:29:37] TRAUMA INFORMED
Is there a way to maybe explain what that means?

Dr. Jean: Yeah, sure, sure. Trauma informed usually means, okay – another way from the psychological lens. So, from a spiritual lens, we often talk about woundings. From a psychological lens, it's not exactly the same, but often the term that it's being used is "trauma" – traumatised, being traumatised.

[00:29:58]
So, it can be, you can think of it in the same way, just for simplicity’s sake – even though it's not exactly identical. And this would mean people who know how to deal with relationship problems – relational trauma, relational wounds, in that sense – does that answer your question about trauma informed a little bit?

[00:30:21]
It's – I mean, it's all about wounds as well. I could go into a whole spiel about what trauma already is, but I think that's a whole other podcast for another time.

Ann: Yeah, a different topic, right? I think, most laypeople – as in general, people who have not been made familiar with counselling or therapy – may think, well, if you go to a counsellor, wouldn't they, shouldn't they all be able to deal with wounds – like trauma?

Dr. Jean: Yeah, I understand. But not all – not necessarily.

[00:30:47] FINDING A SUITABLE THERAPIST
Ann: Oh, not necessarily all. And I think – okay, maybe in layman terms – this is what I sometimes mentioned, like the same for spiritual directors or coaches, or I guess in any kind of case where we are opening ourselves up, you know, in trust and vulnerability to another person to help us – that sometimes these people in these professions may be trying to mould us in a certain way, instead of really meeting us maybe where we are.

[00:31:20]
Sometimes, for me, that's one of the signs that perhaps it may not be the most safe kind of a space, because I don't have space to discover who I am aware I am, for the real me that I'm really having trouble getting in touch with, to come out. Yeah.

Dr. Jean: Yes, but I will say that – somebody who is (I used the word) trauma informed – but somebody who can help in this work that we've been talking about this entire podcast, would be able to pause and help you to connect with what's happening in your body.

Ann: Right.

[00:31:52]
They would be able to kind of not just talking through concepts – although that can be part of it sometimes, and especially at the start if you are a very heady person. Your therapist might want to meet you where you're at, right?

Ann: Right.

Dr. Jean: So, they might also just try to engage you at a head level first. But eventually, they would be able to help you start to connect with your bodies as well, with your feelings as well.

[00:32:14]
To notice, okay, what else is there? Is that all, if you slow down, what else is coming up? So, you then start to have not just a head experience of your body. I mean, H E A D – not just an intellectual experience of yourself. But you start to have a more felt sense of yourself, in that sense – a more experiential sense of yourself. I think somebody who is able to help in this kind of what can do that.

[00:32:43]
And I will also say, in terms of just loosely, if you're talking about therapy modalities, usually someone who is trained in schema therapy – there are many therapists in Singapore who are trained in schema therapy. Because in schema therapy, it has a very strong re-parenting concept of inner child, as well.

[00:33:03]
And there's also internal family systems – although that does not seem to have as much – not many people are trained in this in Singapore. But that's also very good. Or anything that's emotion-focused therapy. But again, remember, that just because people are trained in this and they advertise themselves as such, you need to be able to sense that you are deepening your relationship with yourself, not just at a cognitive level, but at an experiential level.

[00:33:33]
Are you starting to grow in your relationship with yourself? Are you starting to find that there's more harmony in yourself? Like parts of you are making sense to you and that's reconciliation happening in yourself. I think this will be the best clues as to whether this is the work that you're doing.

[00:33:50]
Ann: Right. I think that's very helpful. Very concrete. Really. Thank you for that. I think that's, you know, letting people have the sense on what to check on, you know? Like if it's the right person I'm working with. Is there a – okay, I like to try and make things kind of like concrete, like just one next little step, right.

[00:34:09]
So, people can feel like, okay, there's something I can do. What would you say if someone were to want to find out a bit more about inner child healing or look into how they might get that for themselves? What could be one step that's not too overwhelming for them to take in this direction?

[00:34:25] RECOMMENDATIONS
Dr. Jean: I will say most of the time people will, in the early stages especially, they want to read. They want to make sense of it first.

Ann: Right.

Dr. Jean: So, I will recommend some books. So, off the top of my head, there is Healing Your Aloneness: Finding Love and Wholeness Through Your Inner Child by Erika Chopich and Margaret Paul. There is Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child by John Bradshaw. There is Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson. And there is Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jonice Webb.

[00:34:59]
So, these are just some books that I think most of the time people will like to listen to podcasts.

Ann: Yeah, so I was going to say.

Dr. Jean: I'll send you this.

Ann: Yeah, I will link it into the show notes so that people can, yeah. And yeah, if there are other podcasts specifically around this, on this topic also, then yeah.

[00:35:18]
Dr. Jean: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I guess, for the listeners, they can also like search – do a search on Spotify "inner child". There's a lot of “inner child”.

Ann: Yeah. Look at where else you've been interviewed on podcasts, right? Because a lot of times, that's what you talk about!

Dr. Jean: Yeah, yeah, that's true.

Ann: I think people have interviewed you. I still wish that there was a place that we could just link to where all the places that you have spoken about this. Because you've appeared in different places.

[00:35:49]
Dr. Jean: I have tried to organise that a little bit. So, now on my Instagram – which is where I'm most active at – under my story bio. So, there's, you know, the bio, then there's one that says podcasts. So that from there, you can know which podcasts I've been on. Yeah, I do a collation there. After you asked me, like, Jean what podcasts have you been doing. And I was like okay. I need to organise this.

Ann: I know. I need a master list! Makes it easier for me to recommend to people or else I'm always hunting down, you know. I have to google it every time. But that's great!

Dr. Jean: Thank you for having interest in my work!

[00:36:23]
Ann: Oh, I mean, I recognised something that feeds the soul. I mean feeds my soul. And the only reason why I'm doing this podcast is also precisely good things must share – as we say in Singapore. And for people who are drawn to this desire to become more authentic, you know, and they don't know how to, but the yearn to be more authentic – to have the courage to be themselves, and to grow in wholeness

[00:36:49]
This is – you know because in my own experience, this is such a big part of my journey. So, I was very happy to discover you and your incredible work. Yeah. I was going to ask also, where can people go and find out more about your work and you already mentioned Instagram.

[00:37:02]
Dr. Jean: Yes.

Ann: So, that's the primary place?

Dr. Jean: Yes, my handle is @jeanpsychologist – one word. Facebook, you can Google doctor – as in Dr. Jean Cheng. I actually have a website and there'll be the best place to like collate all my podcasts and everything that I'm doing. But my website has been under construction for very, very, very long.

[00:37:25]
I don't even want to say how long it has been untouched, but we will get there. We will get there eventually.

Ann: That's okay. Yeah!

Dr. Jean: So, these are some links.

[00:37:36]
And in the meantime – yeah, I was going to say you put up so much of – I mean, for the listeners who do go on Instagram or Facebook, I think Instagram is still, I think, the best place, if you have an Instagram account to find Jean's work, just because of the way it's presented.

[00:37:51]
I think it's most friendly on the Instagram app. But yeah, there's a lot of content, a lot of sharing. It's just a lot, a lot of very valuable, free content there from Jean. So, and recommendations to books, because I think sometimes you quote also from the books that you're reading and other people's work as well. So, yeah.

[00:38:13]
Thank you so much for today's conversation. I'm really hoping we can do this again at some point, you know? Actually, at the top of my head, I was just wondering, I mean, if like, this goes out and, you know, when people had questions and there was a way to collate – I mean, maybe that could be some kind of a follow up, even if you're – if you're a game, you know.

Dr. Jean: Oh, yeah. I would be happy to. Sure.

Ann: And of course, there are other topics that I've mentioned to you before that, you know, in time – God willing and we're both available. That would be so great.

Dr. Jean: Sure, I would love to. Yes, I really enjoyed talking to you too, Ann! We couldn't really go on and on.

[00:38:52]
Ann: I know! Here's to hoping for more opportunities to collaborate and, you know, and share our experiences and the different, I guess, insights that come from our different work and disciplines.

Dr. Jean: Yes, yes.

Ann: Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Jean. Til the next time!

Dr. Jean: Alright! You take care. Bye.

Ann: Okay, bye!

[00:39:16] PRAXIS: LISTEN. PONDER. ACT.
So, once again, as we come to the end of an episode, here are the praxis prompts. One: Listen – as you listened to my conversation with Jean today, was there anything that resonated particularly strongly with you? Take note of what that might be.

[00:39:40]
Two: Ponder – how easy or difficult is it for you to get in touch gently and without being overwhelmed with your emotions?

[00:40:01]
Three: Act – if this series on inner child healing has resonated with you, if it has made you realise that you have an inner child that needs healing, I invite you to take one concrete step towards learning more about this work. I've included in the show notes, the links to the resources that Dr. Jean Cheng shared in this episode, as well as the links to other podcasts interviews, where she has spoken about this topic.

[00:40:31]
I invite you to just pick one of these resources to begin with. I have also added a page on my podcast website for you to submit any questions you may have about inner child healing. If there are enough questions submitted, I will try to invite Dr. Jean back for a Q&A session, recording to address your questions. Of course, that's pending her availability.

[00:40:59]
So, you can find the link to submit your questions in the show notes of this episode. You can also go to my podcast website www.becomingmepodcast.com. Click on "questions" in the menu bar. And you can also find the form to submit your question. Okay, so this will be up for – I don't know, but for, at least maybe, you know, a month or so from the time of this particular episode airing.

[00:41:34]
So, if you have any questions that you hope maybe Dr. Jean can answer, I invite you to use that opportunity to ask a question. So, I hope that you have enjoyed this series on inner child healing with Dr. Jean Cheng, and I will be praying for you that you will find inspiration and resources to help you rediscover and reparent your own precious inner child.

[00:42:03] CONCLUSION
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me, where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays of the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direction. No matter how small those steps might be, and no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin. 

The world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive. Don't forget to visit my website at becomingmepodcast.com and to subscribe to my newsletter as well as to this podcast. Until the next episode, Happy becoming!

Dr. Jean Cheng Profile Photo

Dr. Jean Cheng

Clinical Psychologist

Jean is a Clinical Psychologist practising in Singapore. She trained in Melbourne, Australia, graduated with a First-Class honours, was awarded the Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship to pursue and complete both her PhD and Masters in Clinical Psychology. Since her adolescent years, Jean has been passionate about alleviating human suffering and helping others (and herself) experience freedom from the inner prisons that limit one from living life to the fullest. Her special interest is in helping her clients build a nurturing relationship with themselves. This informs her passion for inner child work. She believes that when we are able to see, pay attention, and honour the inner child in all of us, we are then rewarded with the joy, curiousity, confidence, courage, purpose, wisdom, and contentment that a child who is loved and secure embodies naturally.