If there's one phrase guaranteed to set my teeth on edge it's "get in touch with your inner child." Maybe it's because I've heard it come out of the mouths of so many people who have no idea what they are talking about, or who say it as if it's the be all and end all to curing what's wrong with you.
You're unhappy with your sex life – get in touch with your inner child; you hate your job – get in touch with your inner child; or you think your shrink is full of shit because he keeps telling you to get in touch with your inner child – get in touch with your inner child. If I had a dime for every book by every New Age quack that I've seen that talked about getting in touch with your inner child, I'd have a lot more money than I have now.
What's especially galling is how few of these self-styled "healers" ever even tell you what they mean by that. It's as if saying the magic phrase is enough and if you're too stupid to know what they mean by that, well then, you obviously need to get in touch with your inner child. From what I have been able to understand, what they mean by it is this: if only you could go back to the carefree days of your childhood, where you were free to play and exercise your imagination, you'd be able to rid yourself of the stresses that plague your adult life.
Return to those days before you were crippled with the burdens of responsibility brought on by adulthood and having to deal with the real world. Return to the fun of the playground where you spent the days on swings or in the sandbox playing with your friends. Ah yes, those were the days when you were terrorised by the bullies, terrified that you'd commit some social faux pas that would see you ostracized by the rest of your classmates, and where any originality of expression or thought was punished ruthlessly as being fucking weird.
Thankfully, people have cottoned on that perhaps things weren't so hot shit back then and have begun to realize that childhood wasn't the nirvana that some people seem to think it was. To that end, quite a few therapists and psychiatrists have started coming up with methods to try and help people overcome the traumas that they experienced as children — the theory being that as childhood was a key part in your development as a human being you've retained patterns of behaviour established based on conditions that you were living through at the time.