One of my colleagues, Rob Frazer, has moved from working with adults to working in the NHS as a child psychotherapist. One of his favourite Freud quotes he tells his adult clients is ‘Unexpressed emotions never die – they are buried alive and come forth later in uglier ways’.
He needed to find a way to explain this to children. This is what he has come up with:
Write down your feelings on a sheet of paper; screw the sheet up, squash it flat and throw it in the bin. He then tells them that this is how people think you can get rid of bad thoughts and feelings – push them down and forget about them – but it doesn’t work.
He then put a squidgy glitter rubber ball on the table and asked them to squash it flat like they did with the paper. When they tried the ball just kept bulging out of the sides and through their fingers. I explained that this is what emotions are like. You try and squash them down in one place and they bulge out in another.
This is why people, like me, have therapy, as the only way to deal with the past.