September 3

Inner Child Work – 3 Core Human Needs

Inner Child Work


The goal in any hypnotic age regression session is to find the unmet need of the Child.  Once you have identified that need, you can find a way to satisfy it.  Watch for these three Core Human Needs in your regression hypnosis sessions.

Every human being is genetically programmed to avoid any perceived threat to survival.  We all have a basic human drive to achieve pleasure and reward. From the youngest age, we have a core need to attach and experience feelings of love and belonging.

These 3 Human Core Needs roughly correspond to the Triune Brain Model which divides the brain up into the old or reptilian brain, the mid or emotional brain, and the frontal or primate brain.

Core Need #1 is to Avoid any threat to survival.

The old brain or reptilian brain is the survival brain.   Like a reptile, the old brain doesn’t think.  It doesn’t feel.  It just reacts to stimulus through the nervous system of the body.  And it’s connected to our first Core Need which is to survive.

We are hardwired to avoid any perceived threat.  This is why the brain stores negative impressions over positive ones.  Even fleeting negative impressions get recorded for future reference for the purposes of survival.

Remember, while the Subconscious Mind’s Prime Directive is to protect, it does not have the ability to discriminate between an actual threat and an imagined one.  Problems which are rooted in childhood are often the result of the Child feeling overwhelmed and unable to make sense of what's happening.

Healing Strategy:  Provide what was missing - the experience of safety and security.

The Subconscious Mind’s Prime Directive is to protect.  The need to avoid any perceived threat is based in old brain, survival needs.  The younger the Child the more “reptilian” the response will be.  Pay attention to the age at which the event is occurring and watch for the following themes.

Abandonment: The perception of being abandoned (e.g. first time left alone in a crib) is a threat to survival. So, don’t assume that what’s happening isn’t traumatic to the Child.  Ask!

Confusion: Situations that confuse the Child are a threat to survival.  An infant’s initial response to a disruption in its general state of well-being is often confusion.   And if the event is infancy, this could be an indicator of the Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE).  So, test.

Withholding or Denial: Being denied something that feels important (e.g. Child had favourite stuffed toy) can be devastating to the Child.  This is experienced as a profound loss of something essential.  Explore the meaning the Child has given whatever it is that is being denied him/her.

Separation: To the Child, the family is a source of safety and security.  So, isolation from family can be perceived as a survival threat. Even in situations of chaos (e.g. alcoholism, mental illness) the Child does not have the capacity to make value judgments about what’s happening in the family.  S/he simply learns how to cope with “what’s familiar.”  Separation of any kind runs to the core, so watch for this theme.

Core Need #2 is to Achieve pleasure and rewards.

The mid-brain is the emotional brain.  The mammalian brain is the feeling brain, the pleasure-seeking brain.  We naturally seek the feeling of satisfaction that comes from achieving.  Accomplishment satisfies this need.

Gallup conducted a survey in which they identified the top sources of fulfillment in life.  Work satisfaction ranked #1 on the list.   This is because most people satisfy the second Core Need through their career.

Healing Strategies:  Provide what was missing by helping the client connect with resource states.

For example:

  • Memories of achievements, e.g. winning the race in grade school
  • Favourite things that evoke pleasurable feelings
  • Experience of gratitude
  • Things they overcame or endured e.g. empowerment experiences generate reward states.

Human Beings need to experience a sense of achievement and accomplishment.  Any block to fulfilling that need results in feelings of frustration / dissatisfaction.  The following issues may be rooted in a frustrated ability to achieve rewards and pleasure.

Try-fail: A pattern of “try-fail / try-fail” reinforces the inability to enjoy the rewards of accomplishment.

Not enough (money, knowledge, power, etc.): Not having enough resources to satisfy needs results in anxiety.

Core Need #3 is Attachment.

The primate-brain is the human brain.  It is what distinguishes us from other mammals.  And it is concerned with social connection.  You can learn more about attachment here.

Human beings have a basic human need for love and belonging.  When this is not met in childhood it results in shame.  Shame is not an emotion, however.  It is a belief that one is separate and irreparably flawed or broken (i.e. unloveable).  This thought generates unnecessary fear, anger, and guilt.

Healing Strategy:  Provide what was needed.  Satisfy the need to be seen, heard and appreciated for being.

Human Beings need love and a sense of belonging.   So, watch for the following issues in your regression hypnosis sessions.

Birth Trauma: Birth is inherently traumatic.  Watch for incomplete or missing bonding with Mom as this will lead to anxiety.

Parenting: How a Child is parented affects their ability to trust in the world.  And sets tone for relationship issues later in life.  Emotionally distant parent, or hostile or rejecting parent, annihilates the Child’s sense of self-worth.  And in the absence of an approving witness to its inherent “being-ness” the Child can develop patterns of:

  • Anxiety
  • Emotional shut down (too much to bear)
  • Hopelessness (no resources, inability to change things)
  • Self-blame (blaming parent means losing the love)

So, that's it. As you can see, being a Hypnotherapist is like being a detective.   The key is to identify what need was not being met for the Child.  Once you have identified the Core Need you can find a way to satisfy it.

So, during a regression hypnosis session ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Does the child need safety by avoiding a perceived threat?
  2. Is there a need for pleasure or reward that is being frustrated by something or someone?
  3. Does the child feel disconnected or separate from others

Satisfying the unmet core need will resolve the underlying perception of threat which is responsible for generating unconscious anxieties.  And the experiencing of finally have needs met can have far-reaching and lasting positive effect for your client.  

About the author 

Wendie Webber

With over thirty years of experience as a healing practitioner, Wendie brings a broad range of skills to her approach to regression to cause hypnosis. She combines a gentle, yet commanding way of presenting with a thorough, clear and systematic approach to helping healing practitioners to make sense of regression hypnotherapy.