Skip to content

Mental Health Center

Font Size

Topic Overview


    After you make up a story with a child, spend some time thinking about the activity. What was the story about? What was its theme? Were the characters in the story angry, scared, happy, or sad? Take some notes about the story if you think it will help you.

    Now ask yourself if there is a way that you can retell the story to help the child work through his or her feelings. Always use the same situations and characters that the child used. You can use the same plot and sequence of events at first, then change the ending of the story. For example, if the child told a story about an animal who was lost in the woods and could not find its way home, the child may be talking symbolically about feeling alone, unsure, lost, and isolated. You can retell the story, describing how sad the animal was when it was lost. You can then add how the animal was found and invited to a party where it was given a favorite food to eat.

    Observe the child's reaction and see if your ending was acceptable to the child. If the child does not like your ending, he or she may not be ready to move on and may need to tell more stories with that same theme.

    You and the child can also draw pictures to tell stories. Drawing pictures may reduce the child's discomfort with talking. Drawing pictures may also provide additional information about how the child is feeling.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 04, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

    Today on WebMD

    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    senior man eating a cake
    woman reading medicine warnings
    depressed young woman
    man with arms on table
    man cringing and covering ears

    WebMD Special Sections