Paul Roebuck
Paul Roebuck


Official blog and vlog of Paul Roebuck and Mind Gym

Russian Doll Inner Child Therapy (w. Podcast)

The first time I heard the term “Inner Child Therapy” it conjured up dark sultry images of a disfigured abused child. I recall sneering and feeling uncomfortable.  

That was 13 years ago. Little did I realise one day I would be using that very term as the foundation of Russian Doll Therapy. This blog provides a rare and unique insight into the impact on one client after they wrote to me describing their experience. This blog also provides you a chance to meet Joanna, my new synthesised voice with artificial Intelligence, just click the play button below to hear this blog.

This was the most powerful exercise I have ever done”.
”I have my head in the right place and can handle what is thrown at me”.
”It changed my life
— Client feedback on Russian Doll Therapy.
Matryoshka Doll

Matryoshka Doll

The Inner Child Russian Doll’s

The Inner Child Russian Doll’s

Here is a client’s description of the therapy.  Basically it involves naming each doll as a part of the clients past and identifying if they suffered hurt which needs healing, there is an audio and written version. The audio has been edited slightly to enable Joanna, my Amazon AI to make sense of it.  

The ‘Liv Dolls’ - By Olivia

Initial thoughts

I am a self- confessed cynic but go into everything with an open mind. These feelings were genuine, and I didn’t have to search for them.

Doll 1- My future Self. (the largest doll)

This gave me feelings of excitement, ease, happiness, openness and lightness.

Doll 2- Me Now, today.

This doll felt floating, unsure, like everything was going on around me, change was happening, but I was just watching it

Doll 3- The Hurt doll (me 2 years ago)

Couldn’t even look at it, negative, painful, nothingness, hate.

Doll 4- Surgery/ tumour doll (me late teens) 

This made me feel proud, brave and invincible, it was about a period of my life as a young adult facing a significant operation  

Doll 5- Me at 16 years old

This had an air of freedom, worry and care free, no holding back, the world is my oyster, ready for adventure

Doll 6- 6 year old ‘inner child’

Couldn’t really relate to it, have no memory of initial years

Doll 7- Baby doll

Just a little bundle of being

What next?

After going through each doll and explaining my initial feelings, Paul asked me to hold the hurt doll. I didn’t want to hold it, I wanted nothing to do with it, I couldn’t look at it. It made me feel anxious. I did hold it eventually holding it tight and covering it’s face. I put it back on the shelf, facing away from me and we explored the future doll and present doll. Future doll gave me excitement as I know I have a lot ahead of me, and current doll, even though it felt unsure, there was a mix of excitement as I did feel life was at a turning point. I just felt it was a bit of a whirlwind around me.

Paul asked me to look at hurt doll on the shelf, I did, with reluctance and encouragement. He asked what it’s name was and I couldn’t give it one. Nothing came to my mind. I held it again and started to feel sorry for it, although I still couldn’t look at it, I felt bad that I couldn’t. Paul asked me to put 6 year old doll inside hurt doll, I hated holding hurt doll, but put 6 year old doll inside. I shook them, whilst 6 year old doll rattled inside, then the rattling stopped. I suddenly got a feeling that they were protecting each other and were as one. I then had the urge that I did actually want to hold hurt doll, I felt bad for not wanting anything to do with her, and realised it wasn’t her fault and actually, she had got through a very hard time, she did bloody good and I had never given her the recognition for that. As i said to Paul, I felt like hurt doll was stronger holding the child inside. It was like it had the inner child safe, and that by doing this they were protecting each other. Hurt doll needed the inner child. I realised hurt doll had a vulnerability that I had initially judged. She wanted to be held, loved and recognised- the inner child was giving her that support.

Paul then asked me to take the 6 year old doll out, I didn’t want too as I felt she was safe and kept the hurt doll full of support. I held 6 year old doll in my palm, enclosing it in my hand, I then related this to my feelings, it reminded me of a brand new tight flannel which you run water over for it too loosen. It felt like it resembled my emotions, so tightly wrapped up and inaccessible. They were hiding in a dark place inside me, not sure where. I held them with a cupped hand and got the feeling that they will unravel, slowly, but they will and equally in their own time with my protection (only my hand can make them grow) I felt they would eventually fill my hand as they have the time and space to swell and grow. I wanted to protect them and support them, to grow in their own time. I decided I would have liked another hand as this would help them grow quicker, still at a slow pace, but quicker. That other hand will also cup them, nurture and nourish them- a supporter rather than a hand to depend on. I can do it, I don’t need another hand. Someone can help but I need to be there for it to happen.

I put the 6 year old doll back into the hurt doll who feels strong now. I look at hurt doll and am filled with compassion- it wasn’t her fault, she has been judged and battered down, but with the inner child within her they have space to grow and I can see them growing inside her, filling her up with emotion and support to stay strong. She needed that inner child and they complimented each other. Paul asked me if hurt doll had a name and I did not hesitate in saying ‘Olivia’. They go into the roomy16 year old doll, then poorly doll. When I look at poorly doll, she doesn’t want bad news (was indifferent before now) I am so proud of poorly doll and the strength she has had. I want the other dolls to grow inside poorly doll to keep her strong. I don’t want another tumour, I can handle it all, but I want the time for my emotions to fill her and catch up, I don’t want to go just yet.

I put them inside now doll and I feel strong and together, then inside future doll. I am now excited. It is happy, exciting complete and together.

A few months later-

I now experience some emotions

I protect myself

I can be on my own and am content with this

I do not need someone instead I want someone to compliment my life

The past has not been my fault, I see it all as a lesson, and one I needed to really discover who I am.

And finally,

And when the inner child is healed and self accepting.  his is the likely outcome, singing in the rain.  Dedicated to Jean Bond, Founder, The Atlow Mill Centre for Emotional Education.

And when the inner child is healed and self accepting.

his is the likely outcome, singing in the rain.

Dedicated to Jean Bond, Founder, The Atlow Mill Centre for Emotional Education.

I have my head in the right place and can handle what is thrown at me. Only I can fully protect myself and in my own time I will have everything in the right place, I genuinely believe what will be will be.
This was the most powerful exercise I have ever done. They were genuine feelings and emotions bought on by each doll. It changed my life and I would not be able to keep my head in the right place if it wasn’t for this experience. I now see life in a completely and utterly different way, and I am in it for me.
— Olivia