Inside Out 2: Therapy for adults

As a way to pass the hours on a dull day, my son and I have seen many a mediocre children’s film. Ranging from the sweet, Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, to the quite boring, yet chaotic, Mummies. But Inside out 2 is in a different league. It speaks meaningfully to both adults and children. Opening up the overwhelming world of emotions until they become accessible, fun – relatable even! Watching Inside Out 2 is therapy for adults – it just happens to be a children’s film.

For those who aren’t familiar, here’s a short overview. Inside Out, centres around the main character Riley, as she learns to process and manage complex emotions. In the first one she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco – dealing with all the sadness, anxiety and excitement that big changes bring. And in the second film, she’s just turned 13. Puberty has barged in, seemingly overnight, and turned her sense of self upside down. And Inside Out. This coincides with hockey team try outs, which catapult her into the teen world of cool girls and competition. How will she navigate it all?

While watching, I could empathise with Riley’s adolescent identity earthquake. Her intense desire to fit in – at any cost. And be seen as cool, above all else. And you too, may find yourself uncomfortably transported back to your own teenage years. Simmering with shame, yet simultaneously relieved it’s all behind you.

Counselling theory in cartoons

And from a counsellor’s point of view, it’s spot on. The film not only anthropomorphises emotions, to make a nebulous idea concrete and relatable. But also nails the theory of self. We see how Riley struggles to adjust her sense of self, to incorporate her new, more nuanced teenage self. Her fluctuating self-esteem. And how the uncomfortable memories she’s repressed, pop back up with a vengeance.

So, if you have any free time during this summer, then why not get to the cinema for some therapy for adults? And if you happen to have a child, who could do with learning about big emotions, then take them along too. Five Stars. Fun for all the family.

If you want to share your own views on Inside Out, sense of self or managing strong emotions – then I’d love to hear them. Just comment below.

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