As adults, we tend to lose touch with the playful, carefree spirit of our childhood. We become so consumed with work, responsibilities, and adulting that we forget to have fun and engage in activities that bring us joy. However, as highly sensitive people, it’s essential that we reconnect with our inner child and engage in play to promote healing and balance in our lives.

At Vancouver’s Constellations Counselling, we often work with clients to help them heal their inner child through art therapy and other modalities. In this post, we’ll explore the importance of engaging in play and working with the inner child, provide examples of the types of play you can try, and offer tips for feeling comfortable exploring this type of therapy.

Why Work with the Inner Child?

Our inner child is the part of ourselves that contains our childhood experiences, beliefs, and emotions. Often, these experiences were formative and can impact our adult lives in profound ways. For highly sensitive people, past traumas or negative experiences can be especially challenging to overcome. Working with the inner child can help us heal from past wounds and promote growth and resilience.

Engaging in play and working with the inner child can:

  • Help us connect with our authentic selves and rediscover our passions and interests
  • Provide an outlet for emotions that may be difficult to express in other ways
  • Promote self-compassion and self-love
  • Help us break patterns of negative self-talk and limiting beliefs
  • Promote relaxation and stress relief
  • Allow us to develop a stronger sense of identity and purpose
Image by Alexa from Pixabay

There are many different ways to engage in play and work with your inner child, and it’s important to find what works best for you. Here are some examples of types of play you could try:

  1. Art therapy: Art therapy is a powerful way to connect with your inner child and express emotions that may be difficult to put into words. By creating art, you can explore your feelings, thoughts, and experiences in a safe and supportive environment.
  2. Movement: Movement involves connecting with your body and moving in intuitive ways to express yourself and release emotions. This can be especially helpful for highly sensitive people who may struggle with feeling grounded in their bodies.
  3. Playful activities: Engage in activities that bring out your playful side, such as playing with pet, blowing bubbles, or coloring in a coloring book.
  4. Imaginative play: Allow yourself to be playful and imaginative, such as creating a fantasy world or pretending to be a superhero.
  5. Outdoor activities: Take a walk in nature, go for a hike, or spend time in a park. Nature can be a healing and grounding space, and spending time outside can help you connect with your inner child.

It’s important to remember that engaging in play and working with your inner child can be scary for people who have never tried this type of activity before. Here are some tips to help you feel comfortable trying it:

  1. Start small: Begin with a simple and low-pressure activity, such as coloring or taking a walk outside.
  2. Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries around what you are comfortable with and what you are not comfortable with. This will help you feel safe and in control.
  3. Seek support: Work with a counsellor who specializes in working with the inner child. They can provide guidance and support as you navigate this process.
  4. Trust the process: Play can feel strange or unfamiliar for adults at first, but trust that your counsellor is guiding you through the process in a way that will promote healing.
  5. Be open and honest: Communicate openly and honestly with your counsellor about your feelings and experiences during a play focused session. This will help them tailor the experience to your unique needs and promote healing.
  6. Let go of expectations: Let go of any expectations you may have about what the therapy session will look like or what you will get out of it. Approach it with an open mind and see where the experience takes you.
  7. Practice self-care: Engaging in play can bring up difficult emotions, so it’s essential to practice self-care before and after sessions. This can involve things like taking a warm bath, practicing mindfulness, or spending time in nature.
  8. Be patient: Healing the inner child takes time, so be patient with yourself and the process. Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and progress may look different for each person.

Engaging in play and working with your inner child is a powerful way to heal old wounds and connect with your true self. By connecting with your inner child, you can access a sense of playfulness, creativity, and joy that can be difficult to find in the adult world. If you’re interested in exploring this type of work, a Vancouver counsellor at Constellations Counselling can provide you with the support and guidance you need. Remember, it’s never too late to reconnect with your inner child and find healing and joy.