To Me, From Me
Maivi Tran
To Me, From Me tells my personal story of reconnecting to and healing my inner child in 2 carousel books.
Children have the innate desire to explore, and they are objectively more creative and filled with wonder than adults. They are able to confidently venture out, free from self-consciousness and preconceived notions. At some point, however, the average adult begins to find life dull and dreary, contrary to the courageous, playful child they once were.

As a child grows older, responsibilities and expectations increase. When these expectations do not come to fruition, the child feels heart-broken, frustrated, and wounded. Negative attitudes and dysfunctional behavior patterns can develop if they are not allowed to heal emotionally. This is all the more evident with traumatic childhood experiences that may follow with the suppression of needs and a sense of shame in wanting fulfillment; thus, the child withdraws and starts to lose its voice. These bottled-up emotions can become negative mentalities that shackle the adult self to anxiety, fear, self-doubt, and skepticism. Behaviors stemming from suppression and shame involve a narrow mindset and a refusal to believe they can be more, preventing the adult self from reaching their true potential; the ultimate self-sabotage.

This narrative serves as an introductory guide on how to recover from maladaptive experiences in early childhood by using creative expression to bridge the gap between the adult self and the inner child and reignite the sense of childlike wonder. I will visually illustrate my personal story of how I realized I have a wounded inner child and how art helped me to reconnect with her. I hope to bring to light the benefits of using different forms of creative arts, inspired by psychotherapy, in the healing process. Interviews will be conducted to provide real-life references and to ensure that the narrative is relatable.
Research Questions
  1. How have we, to some extent, lost touch with our child self on our way to adulthood?
  2. What are the unfulfilled needs of the inner child?
  3. In what ways do creative arts help an adult reconnect to their inner child?
  4. How does one perceive and visualize their child self vs their inner child?
The purpose of this thesis is to bring to light the notion of a wounded inner child and healing through the creative arts. I would like readers to self-reflect as they go through my books. I want them to know that they are not alone and give them motivation to start their healing journey. Realizing and the willingness to address maladaptive behaviors is the first step to live a more fulfilling life.
Connie Hwang–Primary Advisor
SJSU Professor, Graphic Designer
Julio Martinez–Secondary Advisor
SJSU Professor, Graphic Designer
Cara Maffini–Tertiary Advisor
SJSU Professor, Childhood and Adolescent Development
Process Book