Using Balls in Therapy

Balls are fun to play with and explore with a direct link back into the infancy and childhood where playing with friends was a source of joy.

There are many games to be played with balls and many ways of building relationships.

You could use one of these colourful soft balls to pass around in your group or to work one to one with someone. Not just with children because adults too have an inner child that can respond to balls!

The Inner Child

The inner child is that part of us that has stored early memories and feelings that belong to the child that we once were. And we were all once a child! Now as adults we have ways of being and behaving that are not so conducive to a healthy life but rather are ways of living like a child where we look for attention and understanding, support and care. If we are unaware of these needs that were in some way overlooked when we were young then as adults we may turn to drink, over eating, over working or harming ourselves.

How do I know if my inner child is hurt?

  1. If you have poor self-esteem and lack confidence in yourself
  2. If you have trouble trusting yourself and others
  3. If you find you are over responsible for others
  4. If you are a bully
  5. If you are a victim

When we can heal the hurt child who lives within us then we can experience profound healing. It is possible. The inner child is in the place of your heart.

So why am I talking about our inner child’s when this is a little piece about balls and all the magic they can bring?

Because oftentimes in the therapy space balls are used to play, throwing and catching; rolling them around and rolling on them. The big Pilates balls are great and smaller balls too! There is so much fun and information that comes through observing how one uses balls! And not just in the observation but in the simple fun of it!

Object Relations

Through my experience of working with young adults who are detained under the mental health act and have learning disabilities as well other diagnoses  the sessions we have had with balls have been so invaluable in terms of understanding where they are in there object relations. From their internal life they are perhaps able to make an empathetic link to me and through trust explore the creative space in simply being held and met on a pre-verbal level. Object relations are related to the earliest infancy and experiences that influence all realms of the child’s life. and according to Melanie Klein they are the centre of emotional life (1952)


For those on the autistic spectrum who very often overuse physical activity and sensation as ways to be able to cope for their lack of capacity for real object relations, their movements are not expressive but are basic survival movements.

Using the ball to begin a rhythm if you like, in relationship and a way to build a sense of connection in time with the therapist is a way to start the process of building a sense of three dimensional body space as well solid container.

This overusing of physical sensation, like an over the top vitality or aliveness can be said to block the flow of feelings, very primitive attempts of the body for protection and defence. These kinds of blockages and defences have the potential to be transformed and awakened.


“……an autistic boy… the end of the session drew near, in order to feel that we were one and the same and that we were not separate from each other, would imitate the way I was sitting. He would place his legs as my legs were placed, and his arms as my arms were. As I interpreted this in relation to the coming end of the session, he began to accept the fact that we were separate and different, but not disastrously blown apart. Gradually, he began to be able to be ‘born’ as a separate individual in his own right”

(Tustin, 1990, p.67)



Balls bring lots magic into the therapy space.

Try them!

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