A Research Paper created by Erica A Carretero Dias
(Transformational Life Coaching, UNITED STATES)
Caring for your inner child has a powerful and surprisingly quick result: Do it and the child heals – Martha Beck
The purpose of this topic is to make people aware of the benefits of “Self-Parenting” in the coaching process. The primary relationship we build is within ourselves, which is going to be the emotional foundation for everyone to lead its own life; it is going to be the basis of our relationships’ pattern which influences any type of future relationship in all areas of our lives. The way we treat ourselves will reflect directly in the way people treat us. My intention is to show that the real transformation needs to start from this basic relationship between our inner selves, creating an inner bonding between Inner Parent and Inner Child and the real transformation starts in a deeper level of our feelings and thoughts. In my coaching model, I incorporated Self-Parenting because it is fundamental to feel and express love for ourselves in order to create results. It is about developing a loving relationship between our reasoning and our emotions; it helps the clients to meet their unique inner guidance.
All of us know how challenging it is to address, understand, deal with our emotions, and improve our life quality. The fact is that we are self-parenting within our mind all the time, even we may not be aware of it, we do it automatically. The most we become aware of the way we self-parenting within our inner conversations better we can start to make conscious choices instead acting by default. Self-Parenting is part of our mind mechanism, that acts naturally into our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in life. Our decisions are based on self-parenting daily, which reflects the dynamic interaction between our inner Child voices and Inner Parent combined in our mind to interact with our environment. This inner dynamic is expressed by our most intimate relationship with ourselves.
If we classify our mind in sectors and try to represent it, we would say that our inner child is in charge of our instinctual feelings. Our Inner Parent is in charge of our thoughts, judgments and analyses. Our learning experience of memories is kept inside our unconscious mind along the child’s development. They are reactivated when we are challenged by some emotional response. We can picture it as a big emotional file, which is filled of good and bad memories. As time goes by, those memories are reactivated and we respond in accordance to the situation.
Our behaviors are associated to our memories of tone of voices, feelings, emotions, smells, good or traumatic sensations that occurred along our emotional development. Researches in this area have shown that all learning experiences are better assimilated with affection. In accordance to the child’s experience, s/he will print the emotional memory and this will be activated along the life. The earliest perception about how the world operates in relationships is to know how to get acceptance and affection we learned as a child. We will have the tendency to see the world in the same way, as our inner child’s eyes. It does not mean that our childhood memories define us forever; we still can change, even though we have the tendency to follow the old patterns assimilated on those times.
The little boy or girl you once were, is the person you still are. In order to understand the inner conversation dynamics we need to split into two selves. The Self-one would be the Inner Parent and the Self two, would be the Inner Child. The way we incorporate our inner Parent is related to the way we were treated during our childhood by our biological parents or who used to take care of us. The human beings incorporate learning experiences by following a role model, as a learning example. Alongside the acquaintanceship, children learn new habits which can be appropriate or inappropriate, “thought and expressed by adults”, on unconscious or on conscious levels.
The benefit of Self-Parenting during the coaching process
Even during the coaching process some emotional discomfort occurs. When people are in distress, they notice how difficult it is to think positively and focus. Thoughts are linked to emotions, when you feel distress the negative thoughts are just more available. In another hand it is easier to think positive thoughts when we are happy. If you try to think positive thoughts when you are anxious and angry, they slip off your brain like water from between your fingers. Obviously people who are distressed do not perform well.
I incorporated self-parenting as a part of my coaching model because of my previous experience. I have researched this topic and experienced this approach as a client and as a therapist and I can relate on the benefits.
During the coaching process, I noticed that there is no value when the client acts superficially, if we do not reach the core, the inner pattern, we do not help clients to transform the situation and change effectively. I have observed in many clients their struggle with inner conflicts and usually the core issue was about their self-image and the way they treat themselves, as a result they express an inner conflict through self-sabotage. By bringing awareness to the importance of the positive self-parenting, they noticed some progress in the way they self-accepted themselves. Also the progress was noticeable in their actions towards their goals which became more effective; the self-love improved, the self-support and the actions started and did not stop. Actually, it is like a healing process especially for those clients stuck in the same position for so long.
I believe coaching can be very effective, if the process starts from inside out. The differences between Psychology, Therapy or Mental Healthy practice are clear. Those professions will help the client function well, but one thing has a common sense: the client needs to feel good about him/herself and self-parenting in the coaching process will add the missed link that integrates every step that lead to an excellent performance in coaching.
The Self-Parenting can be an excellent tool to improve emotional self-maintenance. I picture “Self–Parenting” as an “emotional meter”, which shows our emotional inner guidance and provides us emotional self-management, and self-development expressed by our daily life. This tool allows us to understand our mood, our physical sensations, our vital energy levels, as well our emotional patterns that tend to run our behaviors in life. I observed that some clients got stuck in some “crossroads”, because they felt trapped inside their negative emotions against themselves. A “healthy self-parenting” is a mind mechanism that provides inner peace and self-motivation.
I observed that some clients who did not have energy to implement their actions usually didn’t have a good self-image or health self-esteem. Usually they don’t have the habit to self-acknowledge themselves in daily basis. This behavior seems to be linked to a high Inner critical Parent and can affect the client’s performance in life. Using self-parenting during the coaching sessions and bring the awareness of its benefits, I noticed that those clients started to look at themselves in a positive and loving way. By facilitating this approach between those two Selves, Inner Parent and Inner Child, the client starts improving his/her behavior within and increasing the alignment with their goals.