I discovered the Inner Bonding method through #JoyTrain on Twitter. After reading a few articles on the website, I decided to sign up for the free seven-day course. I liked it so much that I also took the thirty-day Love Yourself class. This review is about the free course, which is an introduction to the six steps of Inner Bonding.
In a Nutshell
Inner Bonding is a self-healing process that teaches you how to take 100% responsibility for your feelings and how to move into the intent to learn from them instead of resisting or controlling them. It involves dialoguing with your Inner Child (core self) and being in touch with your feelings so that you can nurture yourself during hard times and manage your painful feelings (sadness, grief, heartache, fear in face of a real danger, and so on), which are inevitable while going through life. It also teaches you to dialogue with your wounded self (the system of beliefs you have developed to protect from pain) to find out what you are telling yourself that are making you feel worried, anxious, angry, and so on. The method also teaches you to connect to your Inner Guidance to find out what loving action you can take toward yourself or others, and then evaluate the results of that action.
Masterminds Behind This Method
The Inner Bonding method was co-created by Dr. Erika Chopich and Dr. Margaret Paul. Here is a brief bio from the Inner Bonding website:
Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967. Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages.
Dr. Chopich holds a Ph.D. in psychology, is a best-selling author, and an ordained Chaplain. She has worked extensively with the homeless population around the country. Erika has a medical background and before practicing as a psychotherapist, she was an administrator for the Los Angeles Free Clinic. In addition to working with individuals, groups, and business mediation, Erika is an accomplished speaker and seminar leader. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She is co-author of Healing Your Aloneness and the Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, which have been translated into seven languages and are bestsellers in Germany.
Click here to find out more about Dr. Paul and Dr. Chopich.
How It Works
This two-minute video briefly explains the six steps of Inner Bonding.
Here is an overview of each of the six steps, from the Inner Bonding website:
Step 1: Willingness to Feel Pain and Take Responsibility for Your Feelings
In Step 1, you move into the present moment and focus within, tuning into your feelings and emotions. You make the choice to be mindful of all your feelings, including your painful feelings, rather than protect against them with substance and process addictions. You make a conscious decision that you WANT to take responsibility for your feelings, which means that you want responsibility for learning how you are causing your own anxiety, depression, anger, guilt and shame with your own thoughts and actions, and that you want responsibility for learning how to nurture the painful feelings of life – the loneliness, heartbreak and grief that are so challenging. This begins the process of opening you up to receive the positive energy that enlivens and sustains you.
Step 2: Move into the Intent to Learn
In Step 2, you focus in your heart and invite the compassionate presence of your higher self into your heart. Now you’re ready to focus on “intent” – your deepest desire, your primary motivation. There are only two possible intents you can have in any given moment: the intent to protect yourself from pain or the intent to learn about loving yourself. When you are in the intent to learn you are a loving Adult. When you are in the intent to protect and avoid, you are operating from your shame-based ego wounded self. This commitment to your intention to learn fully opens you up and allows you to connect with your feelings and your higher self.
Step 3: Dialogue with Your Wounded self and Core Self
With kindness, gentleness and compassion toward yourself, you discover the thoughts/false beliefs from your wounded self that may be causing your shame, fear and pain, and you learn how to release anger and pain in appropriate ways. You uncover false beliefs that were created in the past and have led to the self-abandonment that is causing your current pain and shame. You explore what may be happening with a person or event that is causing the core painful feelings of loneliness, heartache, heartbreak, helplessness, or grief. You explore your core Self – your essence, your inner child, which is your feeling self – and discover what brings you joy. Only when the unconscious false beliefs that have limited you for so long are understood and identified, can they be replaced by new and healthier truths that will nurture and heal you. In Step 3, you ask yourself questions, such as, “What am I trying to control?” “What am I avoiding feeling with my protective, controlling behavior?”
Step 4: Dialogue with Your Higher Guidance
In Step 4, you ask your spiritual guidance (whatever that is for you): “What is the truth about the thoughts/false beliefs I may have uncovered in Step 3?” And, “What is the loving behavior toward my Inner Child in this situation? What is in my highest good? What is kind to myself?” You open and allow the answers to come through you in words, pictures or feelings. The answers may not come immediately, but if you have a sincere desire to learn, they will come. By staying open to learning, you experience that you are never alone. This is where fears fall away and you begin to receive all the love and wisdom you need to take loving action for yourself and with others.
Step 5: Take Loving Action
Step 5 is about telling yourself the truth and taking the loving action based on the information that came through from your guidance in Step 4. You have opened to your pain, moved into learning, started a dialogue with your wounded self and core self, and tapped into your spiritual guidance. In step 5 you take the ‘loving action’ that, over time, heals the shame, anxiety and depression that have been the result of your self-abandonment.
Step 6: Evaluate Your Action
Once you take the loving action, you check in to see if your pain, anger and shame are getting healed. If not, you go back through the steps until you discover the truth and actions that bring you peace, joy, and a deep sense of intrinsic worth. Turning this daily practice into a way of life is what will protect you from going back into the behaviors and patterns from the past. Much like attending to – say – a child’s feelings, you learn to keep a loving relationship with yourself throughout your life, no matter the challenges that come at you. This loving relationship with yourself and your guidance fills you and empowers you to handle life’s challenges with strength and equanimity.
What I appreciate the most from this method is learning the distinction between core-self feelings, which are inevitable as we go through life (such as heartache when someone is not open to connect with you), and wounded-self feelings (such as anxiety from a danger that is not real or immediate), which we create by our own thoughts and beliefs. I was able to list eight feelings I had at the time, then find out what beliefs I had that was causing my wounded-self feelings. With the help of my Inner Guidance (which was always there, but I just didn’t know how to access it), I rephrased those old beliefs that were no longer serving me. I was also able to nurture myself, to stay present with my painful feelings instead of ignoring them or trying to control them.
Since taking this course, I feel a lot more at peace and in touch with my feelings. I no longer try to avoid them but instead I am open to learning what message they have for me, knowing that I have access to my Inner Guidance, which I picture as a beautiful bright light, to help me deal with them. When I look at my list of eight feelings from just a few months ago, I can cross out most of them, and replace them with joy, relief, hope, and confidence. And when I go through painful feelings again (which is inevitable on this planet), I will know how to handle them better than I did in the past.
I made picture quotes from Inner Bonding materials I came across (articles, course, videos). They remind me of the important lessons I’ve learned from this program.
If you have suffered extreme trauma or abuse, it is not recommended that you do this process alone. Dialoguing with your Inner Child can bring back very intense painful feelings and memories, and professional help is needed to be able to deal with this level of pain.
The free class is good in itself, but I gained a lot more by taking the thirty-day Loving Yourself course, which dives deeper in each of the six steps. It was worth every penny. I received an e-mail each day, with in-depth lessons and links to videos or audio files and an action step to do every day to practice what we’ve learned, access to a forum where participants posted their questions and comments daily and Margaret answered, a weekly conference call where Margaret answered everyone’s questions sent ahead of time. I couldn’t have learned all that just by taking the free course.
To Learn More
Visit the Inner Bonding website for more information about this free course and other Inner Bonding products, including courses, forum, free articles and videos, books, and live events.
For quick access, here are some useful pages you may want to visit first:
What is Inner Bonding?
Free articles and videos
Free seven-day course
Connect with Margaret Paul on social media: