Fears and anxieties are natural emotions that can arise in children in various life situations. Fairy tale therapy is an excellent method of psychotherapy. In this article, we will explore how to help children cope with their fears using this method and examine its nuances for all age groups of children.
What is the essence of fairy tale therapy?
Perhaps every child begins their acquaintance with literature and the world through fairy tales. After all, they serve as a means of transmitting experience, skills, abilities, and understanding of good and evil. Most fairy tales are permeated with allegories, as well as life lines of behavior.
There are many methods of fairy tale therapy, and the most popular of them are:
- Narrating a fairy tale to a child. This way, you can trace what emotions the child experiences when they are told about certain events and note at what point the child became anxious.
- Creating a fairy tale with a child. This allows you to determine the child’s spontaneous emotional expressions, which are often not noticeable in everyday behavior.
- Staging. An excellent method of fairy tale therapy in kindergarten, where a child can participate in a certain role. The essence of the method is based on emphasizing attention to the intonation of the child’s voice during the enactment of the plot. His or her anxiety can also be confirmed by facial expressions, blushing, paleness, or unwillingness to stage a certain scene.
- Drawing a fairy tale. This method involves working with colored cardboard and plasticine. This way, the child is freed from anxiety. The quality of the images, crafts, does not matter. If the child has strong feelings, all sorts of monsters, fire, or dark colors will appear in the children’s drawings.
Fairy tale therapy is used as a tool to treat children’s fears. The possibilities of fairy tales are immense. They can be used to uncover deep-seated issues within a child’s soul and help identify the causes of external conditions that are troubling the child. Let’s take a closer look at therapeutic fairy tales for young children and how to use them correctly.
Fairy tale therapy for young children
The focus of therapeutic fairy tales for 3-year-olds is on the child’s acquisition of necessary knowledge related to their problem. It’s important to communicate with the child and follow these conditions: convey real emotions and feelings, position the child in front of you so that they can see your face and follow your gestures, eye expressions, and facial expressions.
It’s also important for the situation described in the fairy tale to be relevant to the child, and for the questions to be formulated in such a way that the child can independently trace cause-and-effect relationships.
Fairy tales for 3-year-old children should be plot-driven and simple, such as “The Gingerbread Man,” “The Little House,” and “The Turnip.” Keep in mind that children’s ability to distinguish reality from fictional reality only emerges at the age of four.
Therapeutic fairy tales from 4 years old to preschool age are effective if the child engages with the continuation of the story and the conclusion of the proposed plotline.
Fairy tale therapy for preschool children.
In this case, psychotherapy is permissible in the form of legends, parables, epics, or myths. Each child is offered a genre according to their interests. Metaphor acts as a means of psychological influence. A precisely selected artistic technique is effective in overcoming children’s fears.
Five-year-olds often identify themselves with animals and try to imitate them in their actions, so fairy tales about animals are the most successful in conveying life experience to children.
Fairy tale therapy for younger schoolchildren
Therapeutic fairy tales for younger schoolchildren are usually of a fantastic nature.
Such works as “Cinderella,” “Madame Ranevskaya,” and “Sleeping Beauty” serve as a triad of effective tools. It is in these works that conflicting relationships between the characters are seen. Thus, a schoolchild can project the plot onto their own relationships and answer many questions themselves.
Fairy tale therapy for teenagers
It may seem like what kind of fairy tales can there be in adolescence? However, many psychological problems of transitional age can be solved precisely with the help of this method of psychotherapy. Specialists suggest using fairy tale therapy in the form of training for teenagers. Thus, children enter into discussions, free themselves from internal psychological barriers in communication, and help each other discover new truths.
If a child flatly refuses to read a fairy tale one-on-one, you can approach their approval from another angle. For example: “Do you know where flamingos come from? Personally, I don’t know. Let’s read it together.” Curiosity in such cases overcomes the child, and they will definitely not refuse interesting information.
Fairy tale therapy in other cases
Fairy tale therapy for children with special needs helps develop emotional, social, and cognitive skills. For children with intellectual disabilities, training sessions where they can play out roles or discuss the plot and ask questions will also be an excellent option. To help the child understand the fairy tale to the fullest, colorful illustrated books should be purchased. Also, do not forget about the plot: avoid overly convoluted storylines.
Fairy tale therapy is also effective for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In this case, therapeutic fairy tales for anxious children reduce excessive activity and normalize emotional state. With the help of a fairy tale, the child reconsiders their behavior, trying to be like their favorite character.
Perhaps this article will help you change your attitude towards fairy tales. Today, therapeutic fairy tales for fear are an effective means of shaping consciousness, not just stories that allow you to have fun.
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