Reconnect with your Inner Child Again with Inner Child Therapy!
In my play therapy class that I teach at Mercer University I insist that my students reconnect with their inner child, part of inner child therapy, before taking the play therapy class.
Many of my inner child therapy students do not remember the overkill of “inner child” therapy back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The work I require my inner child therapy students to do with their personal inner child is often fun and non-threatening. However, sometimes old issues can come to the surface.
Before I show you what I expect of my inner child therapy students in my graduate play therapy class I need to teach you a little bit about the “inner child” theory.
Inner child therapy is an excellent therapy for adults who had a trauma in childhood. Trauma can actually change the development of the brain. If you had a trauma in your childhood chances are that you are somewhat “stuck in childhood” developmentally in some way.
The one thing I know about childhood is that no one escapes unscathed (as the saying goes).
Therefore, everyone can probably benefit with the inner child therapy work. Working with our inner child helps us go back to erase, confront, or deal with the painful memories that have been lurking in the brain since childhood.
We identify fears that we have had for years and learn to love and accept ourselves from an adult perspective. We build upon our fragile self-esteem and learn to comfort ourselves in healthy new ways.
There are some that say that the inner child of inner child therapy is our true “self”. It is the small child within all of us that never grew up. Even in adults who had a healthy childhood still have an inner child that still exists within.
Your inner child, in inner child therapy, wants your adult self to give it love, attention, acceptance, and protection. It is fragile and vulnerable. This inner child is playful, fun, and very creative Sounds like the perfect play therapist?).
Many of my students and adult clients have lost touch with their inner child. I saw this quite a bit when I worked with addiction patients at the mental institution.
Many had forgotten how to “play.” I often had to work with these clients to get them to take time to play in a healthy way each and every day.
The first goal for my play therapy students is to reconnect with their inner child. They need to make sure that they accept, love, and nurture their inner child.
I will never forget one client who relearned to build forts in the woods with sticks and pine straw again as an adult after learning to reconnect with her inner child in inner child therapy.
Learning to reconnect with your inner child in inner child therapy is very important for a play therapist. If the play therapist has lost touch with their personal inner child then how can they ever be effective as a play therapist?
A good play therapist remembers what it was like to play and knows that it is important to "play" as an adult as well.
Many of us have rejected our own inner child and need to go within to find and then nurture this fragile entity within us. This is a process in inner child therapy and takes some time to do.
The goal of inner child therapy is to bring out your inner child and learn to love it as a parent loves a child. It is not my intent to get play therapist to act like children. My intent is to start the process with my students (and sometimes clients) to get to know their inner child again.See Part Two of Inner Child Therapy Here
See: The Inner Child Scrapbook link below for ideas on how to reconnect with your inner child.
Reconnect with your Inner Child to Inner Child Scrapbook
Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.
*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.
For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.
Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.
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