Fairy tales are rarely just fairy tales. We all know how tremendous is their power on children but many don’t realize they can be useful for adults too. With their form where imaginative and logical elements are organized in understandable and logical structure fairy tales offer solutions to numerous psychological issues.
Here are only three of the approaches which can be used to get some therapeutic value from fairy tales:
- Imagination. In fairy tales (and all sorts of related forms of narration, here is a for example difference between fairy tales and fables) everything is possible. Characters can experience all sorts of problems and many of these seem unsolvable. Life in fairy tales often seem unfair and cruel, but still keeps some kind of internal logic. This certainly resembles psychological problems which can be better seen through the fairy tales.
- Consolation. Happy ending are without doubt among most popular elements of fairy tales. After all possible (and impossible) problems in the world the hero of the fairy tale in most cases defeats the enemies, achieves goals and lives happily ever after. Not exactly the situation from real world but very close to the message patients (with physical or mental issues) want to hear: everything will be all right. And not too far from message everybody, healthy or not, needs to hear from time to time: no matter how big is the problem, it can be at least partially solved.
- Projection. Most patients can easily empathize with characters in fairy tales. We can all find some kind of similarity between our and Cinderella’s situations after all. If Cinderella can overcome obstacles and if we can feel like her, we can certainly at least believe we can overcome our obstacles. After all fairy tales, myths, fables, legends and everything else, pure fiction or based on true events, can never be made if some anonymous author never experienced the situation similar to the one in a story.
Enough food for thought?