Best Books that Will Help You Love Your Inner Child
Do you have an inner child that is suffering?
Most of us are aware of our happy, joyful, fun inner child. What about the wounded inner child that was abused, neglected, or abandoned?
When we were young, we adopted strategies to block out and protect ourselves from painful emotions. Just because we are so used to ignoring the inner child and suppressing our feelings, it doesn’t mean that the inner child isn’t there.
Below are a mixture of inner child healing books and Transactional Analysis (TA) books. Inner child books are helpful to foster inner peace. Transactional analysis books, on the other hand, also use the concept of the inner child but it focuses more on our relationship issues with others.
Choose the book that best suits your needs.
Bonus: My Book on Reparenting Your Inner Child
Note: The way I look at my books will never be the same as the way I look at other books, so to be fair I rather keep them off the list.
Parent Yourself Again by Yong Kang Chan
If you have a bad childhood or a strained relationship with your parents, this book is for you.
This book is not just about reparenting your inner child. It’s also about training your inner parent to be a more protective and nurturing parent.
The book helps you to understand your hidden feelings and uncover the protective mechanisms you have in place to cope with your adverse childhood experiences. Some of them might be outdated and need to be removed for your healing to take place.
Reading this book will help you develop compassion for yourself and receive the love that you always desire from your parents.
10 Best Inner Child Healing Books and Transactional Analysis
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1. Inner Bonding by Margaret Paul
This book not only helps you to be in touch with your wounded inner child, but it also frees you from inner conflicts.
If you often focus heavily on other people and is frequently out of touch with yourself, read this book. In this book, you will learn how to heal the deep, painful feelings that are residing within you. It will also help you understand how abandoning your inner child will lead to problems such as codependency, addiction, and low self-worth.
Filled with many real-life examples, this book will show you how to take care of yourself in various types of relationship instead of waiting for the other party to take care of you.
2. Homecoming by John Bradshaw
If you want to explore your childhood in-depth and change your destructive behavior patterns, this book is suitable for you.
This book provides a step-by-step process to help you reconnect with your inner child for each development stage. At the end of the first chapter, you will also find a questionnaire to help you understand how badly your inner child was wounded and how this affects your adult life.
In this book, you will find lots of resources — case studies, therapy techniques, guided meditations, and affirmations. The exercises make you revisit part of your life which you might not want to revisit and the approach might appear unconventional to some readers. So must be open to doing the intense exercises.
3. Healing the Child Within by Charles Whitfield
This book is written for adult children of dysfunctional families. If you have personal issues, childhood trauma or relationship problems you want to resolve, this book is a good starting point.
It has a lot of basic information that helps you understand the underlying problems and shows you the difference between a healthy and unhealthy family. In this book, you will also learn how to differentiate between your real self and false self.
Finally, this book will help you understand the importance of doing grief work and how it could help you heal your childhood wounds.
4. Reconciliation by Thich Nhat Hanh
This book is about healing your inner child from a spiritual perspective.
Written by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, the book uses Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practices to help you transform the pain you have experienced as a child. The practice of mindfulness is important for embracing the strong emotions that surface.
The author has a warm and compassionate writing style. You will feel a sense of serenity as you read the book and work on your suffering. If you want to find peace with your childhood trauma, this is the book for you.
5. The Inner Child Workbook by Cathryn Taylor
Written by a recovery therapist, this book is more suitable for therapists because it can be quite technical and advanced.
In this book, you will find a six-step formula to help you work through each of the seven stages of your childhood (from birth to 21 years old).
By going through the exercises, you get to reparent your inner child and change your past experiences. You will learn how to identify your pain, re-experience it, and finally letting it go. This book is good for grieving the losses for each development stage and complete your inner child’s unfinished business.
6. Recovery of Your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione
“The Inner Child is constantly trying to get our attention, but many of us have forgotten how to listen.”
Growing up, many of us have learned to ignore our true feelings and gut instincts. Instead of giving our inner child attention, we lock it away and dismiss its needs with rational thinking and practicality.
This book shows you how to have a firsthand experience with your inner child by writing and drawing with your non-dominant hand. You will like this book if you want to reunite with the creative, intuitive, and playful inner child of yours.
7. Games People Play by Eric Berne
Transactional Analysis (TA) is a popular psychology system that is invented by the psychiatrist, Eric Berne. It talks about our three ego states (child, parent, and adult) and how they affect behaviors and interactions with others.
The premise of this book is we play games in our social interactions all the time even though we might be unconscious of it. Sometimes, we become parents of other people’s inner child. While others times, we are a child to other people’s inner parent.
In this book, the author exposes all the games that we play. If you want to take control of your relationship or you have someone in your life that you find draining, this book will be helpful to you.
8. Born To Win by Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward
If you are new to Transactional Analysis, you might find Eric Berne’s books too difficult for you to follow due to all the technical jargons used. This would be a better book for you.
Not only does it cover all that you need to know about transactional analysis, but this book is also written in a clear and understandable manner.
Apart from transactional analysis, this book is also based on Gestalt Therapy. It is suitable for anyone who is willing to explore the deep emotions that your inner child holds onto.
Reading this book will help you make sense of your mixed feelings and understand your subconscious actions and behaviors.
9. I’m OK–You’re OK by Thomas Harris
Based on Eric Berne’s theory of Transactional Analysis, this book is for people who don’t feel ok about themselves.
Due to our childhood programming, most of us are still living like a helpless child depending on other people to be our parents. As per the author, this is the I’m Not OK, You’re OK position.
In this book, the author also explores the three other positions we adopt:
- I’m OK, You’re OK,
- I’m OK, You’re OK,
- I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK.
Reading this book will help you gain new perspectives to deal with people and understand your unhealthy relationship with others.
10. Scripts People Live by Claude Steiner
People are born innately healthy but we developed behavioral patterns based on the positive and negative influences around us during childhood. As children, we unconsciously choose scripts that we use for the rest of our life.
If you have psychological baggage that you are carrying from the past and you want to break free from your negative scripts, this is the book for you. In this book, you will find common scripts that we use and the danger of using these scripts. It also provides you with practical advice and new scripts to help you change your old patterns.
This book might be a little technical for the general audience. But it’s best for helping professionals such as counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.
Hey there, I’m Yong Kang, best known as Nerdy Creator. I’m an author of seven books. I write about spirituality, self-compassion, and mindfulness. I love reading books, especially non-fiction. The list above is a combination of what I have read and my research. Each year, I create a Top 10 list of my favorite books.