The Little Red Riding Hood Case by Danya from A Tapestry of Words

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Danya runs the book review blog A Tapestry of Words and has Bachelor's degree in psychology.  She also runs the annual Psychtember every September!

Today, she's shared a confidential case file she's working on involving Little Red with us!


Fairy Tale Files: 
The Little Red Riding Hood Case
by Danya from A Tapestry of Words

I've been permitted to share a few confidential excerpts from the files of individuals involved in the "Little Red Riding Hood" case. They were admitted into the Fairy Tale Facility recently and have been examined by two therapists.

Without further ado:

Patient: Little Red 
Hobbies: going for walks in the wood, talking to strangers, ignoring her mother's advice 
Reason for visit: her mother told her to come (and bring cookies) 
Additional notes: has extremely poor eyesight

Freudian psychoanalyst: "Little Red's behaviour is clearly indicative of a desire to rebel against her mother. She primarily does this by seeking out risky situations, as well as with her clothing choices. The red of her cloak obviously symbolizes the anger and rage simmering in her unconscious mind. I'd recommend several lengthy sessions in which we will delve into Little Red's early childhood, and allow her to come to grips with her emotions surrounding her mother, her grandmother, and this new man in her life whom she refers to as a 'wolf'."

Cognitive-behavioural therapist: "What Little Red needs is to change her behavioural habits. She's demonstrating poor decision-making as a result of a vicious cycle having formed: her mother advises her to act one way, Little Red asserts her independence by acting the opposite, and then is rewarded with her mother's attention because of this. This learned behaviour will never change until Little Red is willing to reassess her maladaptive thoughts and behaviours, and put into practice new, more effective ones."

Patient: The Wolf
Hobbies: traumatizing young girls, snacking on grandmothers, impersonating relatives, cross-dressing
Reason for visit: court-ordered therapy
Additional notes: refuses to have his picture taken

Freudian psychoanalyst: "The client — hereafter referred to as 'The Wolf' as he declines to give his real name — shows a perverse appetite for young girls. This likely stems from a childhood of neglect, particularly from the primary female figure in his life, his mother. He mentioned that he had many brothers and sisters (a 'large litter of them,' I believe, was his turn of phrase) and his mother was apparently not the affectionate sort. This therapist recommends to the court that 'The Wolf' continue to receive psychoanalysis during his prison term, and hopefully for many more years beyond that."

Cognitive-behavioural therapist: "Wolf demonstrates several worrisome behaviours, but the most dangerous to others is his tendency to eat people when he's anxious. It was obvious from his sad childhood story that his parents did the same thing, and as we all know children mimic their parents. This lack of good role models has led to Wolf dealing with his social anxiety by endangering the lives of others, and to deal with this he needs to develop better coping skills. He may seem unreformable, but we need to remember not to place the blame entirely at his door. After all, he was — pardon the pun — raised by wolves."

Patient: Wood Cutter
Hobbies: chopping anything
Reason for visit: "just came by to check on Little Red"
Additional notes: has always secretly wanted to be a surgeon

Freudian psychoanalyst: "While Mr. Cutter claims that he just dropped in to see how Little Red is doing, I suspect he is in a state of strong denial about his mental and emotional stability. He was very reluctant to be parted from his ax, even once it was explained to him that weapons were not permitted within this facility. Sometimes an ax is more than an ax, you know. His violent urges, coupled with what appears to be a hero complex, lead me to fear he could do some serious damage if this is left unchecked. He'll be on my couch for quite a while, I'm afraid."

Cognitive-behavioural therapist: "Woody initially presented as quite charming and amiable, showing concern for his friend Little Red and her grandmother. It was a little unnerving to discover that he had managed to sneak a pocket ax by the security staff, but thankfully he only wished to demonstrate his prowess at chopping things. His obsession with perfection — he kept talking on and on about doing the "right" thing and being the "best"— gives rise to a tentative diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Personality disorders are known for being resistant to treatment, but I have no doubt that Woody can become motivated to change. A great first step would be to get him to try out some leisure activities that do not involve weapons. Maybe water polo or rockclimbing to start with?"

Which therapist do you agree with more? And what hope do you think there is for these individuals to change?

*Disclaimer:* this is all very light-hearted "analysis" and not meant to be strictly representative of either theoretical orientation!


  1. I loved this, it was so hilarious! :)

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

  2. This looks like it was a lot of fun to put together.

    1. It was indeed! It was neat to try to imagine what two very different psychological perspectives would have to say about each of these characters :D


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