Oct 07 , 2018
What comes to mind when you hear the term “age regression?” A therapy? A fetish? Something helpful? Something gross? Something else? Or perhaps you’ve never even heard of it before.
Content Warning: The next paragraph briefly discusses a topic that is sexual in nature in order to distinguish some terms. This paragraph may be triggering to some readers. You are welcome to skip to past the "-"s-
Well, the very first thing we will need to address is that age regression is not a fetish. Often when you search age regression you will find a fetish called ageplay that mimics age regression but they are not the same. In age regression, the patient, or regressor, mentally regresses to a younger mindset. It is a psychological phenomenon that can occur both voluntarily and involuntarily. In ageplay, someone acts out or plays the role of being a different age. While most often you hear about ageplayers role-playing the age of someone younger, it can also be reversed and they can roleplay as someone older. People in online ageplay communities may also refer ageplay to as age regression, “forced” age regression, or ABDL (adult baby diaper lover.)
Although we are not here to discuss the ageplay fetish, I did want to clear that up and assure the readers that true age regression is a legitimate form of therapy as well as a coping skill and not at all related to the ageplay fetish. I know a lot of people scorn age regression because they are confusing it for ageplay. But ageplay is not age regression, so please remember that as you continue reading.
Content Warning: End
As previously stated, age regression a part of psychology. Going a little further into that, there are actually two kinds of age regression. Age regression therapy and inner child therapy. The two are very different despite both being in the psychology field and referred to by the same name. One requires working with a trained psychologist and the other can be done by oneself.
Age regression therapy in psychology refers to a form of hypnotherapy that is used to help the patient regain access to childhood memories and feelings and work through them to understand their current mental health status. This hypnotherapy must be guided by a professional psychologist. In fact, all hypnotherapy should be guided by a psychologist. My shop and products are not affiliated with age regression hypnotherapy and I do not encourage it to be done without the guidance of a licensed medical professional.
I know what some readers may be thinking now. If it’s not age regression, the hypnotherapy, then it’s a fetish thing, right? I assure you, it’s not. This is where the second kind of age regression comes in.
Inner child therapy is not referred to as age regression in medical text or diagnosis. However, due to the similar state of mental regression (not to be confused with regression through hypnotherapy), it has become known by the same name. Why? Lack of public education on distinctions between two similar things usually leads to them being called by the same name in any case. This is called semantic change. And that is exactly what is happening here.
So then what specifically is inner child therapy? Inner child therapy refers to a therapy practice that aims to uncover and heal the inner child that “lives” within everyone. This type of therapy can be used for those who experienced emotional neglect, had to grow up “too fast,” experienced physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse, and even DID or OSDD patients who have child alters. This can be done through involuntary or voluntary mental regression or by consciously making an effort to partake in positive childlike behavior. By doing this, the patient creates a pseudo childhood in a safe environment that can help them come to terms with and recover from their negative childhood.
This type of therapy is structurally similar to other “coping and skills” therapies like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT.) These types of therapy can be done with a therapist, at home through “homework” given to the patient by a therapist, or at home with self-help resources. Additionally one can go through this by themselves or with the support of friends and/or family.
Inner child therapy, socially known also as age regression, is the type of age regression I started Precious Heart Pacifiers for. It’s a positive and healthy coping mechanism that can be used even by those who may be unable to see a therapist for any reason. I encourage any safe and healthy coping mechanisms like this therapy.
A personal note from the author.
After I started writing this article, I have noticed a trend, of adults using the definition of age regression hypnotherapy as a reason to attack both minors and other adults who age regress and tell them that their coping mechanism is invalid and “an excuse to be in kink.” So I have the following to say:
I do agree that minors knowingly, or even unknowingly, participating in fetish/kink communities and using tags and terms that aren’t really safe/legal for them to is a growing issue. But I do not agree with the invalidation of a legitimate “coping and skills” therapy due to a lack of understanding of Age Regression Hypnotherapy and Inner Child Therapy and semantic change. Nor is it ever okay to attack someone over something you are merely glancing over and not fully understanding. Using one definition out of the many applicable ones does not erase the others.
For educational purposes, here are some links to an explanation of semantic change and a few resources for inner child therapy to get you started.
Semantic Change [x]