Karen Potter
Psychotherapy & Mentoring
Lismore, NSW

The Importance of Understanding one’s Inner World

In our previous articles, we have dived into the details of what Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is and how it varies from other approaches. Now we will look at the importance of understanding one’s inner world and the insights we can gain through the approach and methods within psychodynamic psychotherapy.


What is our Inner World?


Our internal world refers to our thoughts, emotions, perceptions, beliefs, values, motivations and expectations of ourselves and the world around us.  In addition, it also refers to what is subconscious and/or unconscious in us. Our inner world is a part of what makes us unique. However, without knowing and understanding our own internal world, we can end up saying, doing or feeling things that seem outside of our control and can greatly impact our quality of life.


How Our Inner World is Formed

Our internal world develops in infancy and continues throughout our childhood and adolescent years. It is formed by the interaction between ourselves and people around us including family, friends, school and outside activities.  All experiences during our formative years influence our inner world in some way but some impact us more than others. These experiences create a way of thinking, feeling and perceiving the world. We then tend to carry these through our adult lives, impacting our self-perceptions, self-confidence and self-expectations. As we move into adulthood, our inner world continues to develop with learning, relationships, and other new experiences, however, it is often still based on the foundations of our childhood.


It is crucial to note that both positive and negative experiences influence and contribute to forming our inner world. For example, when we are young, positive messages from parents can increase our self-worth. This can help us thrive and feel good about who we are in future. On the other hand, negative messages from parents and/or bullying experiences also can impact our beliefs and feelings about our worth and self-confidence in negative ways.



Factors that contribute to our inner world:


  • Parents’ voice, words and tone can set the voice, words and tone in our own mind
  • The way we are physically treated as a child can impact the way we treat ourselves and others
  • Whether we feel emotionally held and seen for who we truly are and acknowledged, validated and understood can impact on how we see ourselves and manage our own and others’ emotions
  • Expectations held by parents, other family members and/or teachers can become our own expectations of ourselves and others
  • Parents’ perception of the world can greatly influence our own perception of the world
  • Positive and negative behaviours can have an impact on how we end up behaving in adult life. Sometimes we might end up mimicking these behaviours or turning against them. However, both reactions tend to stem from the childhood experience of witnessing and/or experiencing these behaviours.


All of the above influence our inner world and therefore, how we interact with the world and those around us.



How Our Inner World Affects Our Everyday Life


The more we understand our inner world the more we can help ourselves and those around us everyday. So much of our current behaviours and thought processes are based on our past experiences and inner world. These are the stories we tell ourselves and the ideas we believe in. Some of these are helpful and some are detrimental to our health and well-being.


Through Karen Potter’s approach of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, we can explore our inner world. We can develop or extend our knowledge and understanding of our thoughts, motivations, feelings, and behaviour patterns. By doing this we gain a clearer perspective of how they came about. Karen is highly experienced in helping clients navigate their inner world by linking the past to the present and resolving issues. This approach has helped many clients overcome depression, anxiety, relationship problems, eating/substance use disorders and more. If it feels like time for you and/or your loved one to begin to understand your internal world and how it influences yourself, your life and your relationships, then contact Karen Potter today to get started.

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