Children’s stories have inspired people through the ages and hold truths that pass down from generation to generation.

One story, in particular by the Grimm brothers, holds all the dynamics of the unconscious mind: Little Red Riding Hood.


Debbie Howes is a clinical psychologist who has investigated the depths of the story and formulated a therapy technique based on the way in which each person tells the story from the perspective of the child.  This originated from her own therapeutic investigation of the story where she began to work with it herself to heal the wounds of her past. The results were profound and this began the development of the Little Red Riding Hood Reconditioning Technique.


The work is based on hypnotherapeutic principles of working with the unconscious mind in the therapeutic setting.  According to medical hypnoanalysis, the unconscious mind has the logic of a child.  Information that we intellectually and cognitively know, does not bridge to the unconscious aspect of us, which is the child.


The child aspect of us is held and represented in the body.  Most problems in life come from this part of us, which does not want to, or cannot listen to, or hear and understand the truth.  How many times have you made a decision to change, and understood why you need to make the necessary changes, only to find that when it comes down to the nitty gritty, your body keeps doing the same thing it is used to doing, irrespective of what we intellectually know and understand?  We are in a hugely addictive society; we are addicted to much behaviour besides the common addictive substances that we are aware of.  Relationships for example, shopping, bubble gum, TV etc. are all indications of how we cling to an outer form of authority that defines and determines our happiness, peace or forms of escape.  We all know if you tell a child to not eat the sweets as they are bad for your teeth, the child nods ‘yes’ ‘, and carries on eating the sweets. To make behavioural changes, no matter how much we read or talk to others, or are told by others how to behave, the results are not permanent and lasting.


The education process for this child aspect in us therefore has to be experiential in nature as opposed to cognitive and rational.  It is like riding a bicycle, you cannot learn to ride from reading a book, you need to get on and keep riding to get it.  Repetition and perseverance brings results. For change to be integrated on a deeper level, the child aspect of us needs to get it.


Each person tells a different story from the perspective of the child. The way in which you tell the story, will indicate the unconscious set of belief systems and emotional patterns that are underlying all your behaviours, problems and challenges in life. The way in which you do a set of drawings will also indicate these patterns.


Why the story of Little Red Riding Hood?


The 4 characters of the story are the Wolf, LRRH, the granny and the woodcutter.


They represent the following:


  • We have 3 aspects or principles that we operate from at different times/events and circumstances: the mother / father and child aspects.
  • The mother and father aspects of us are held by our conscious ability to integrate and intellectually understand information that is freely available. These aspects embody our ability to rationally make decisions and act upon them in a responsible, whole and adult manner, where positive and constructive results arise.
  • The male and female principles need to be balanced within each person. The male principle represents the ability to be assertive, action oriented, confrontational, focused etc., whereas the female principle embodies the abilities to be nurturing, compassionate, understanding and emotionally warm. Most times, based on what we have seen as a child from our parents, these principles are not in balanced in our self
  • The child aspect (unconscious mind) is expressive, creative, irrational and spontaneous, feels joy, sexuality, living in the moment, leisure time, focus and is the key to manifesting one’s life purpose.
  • Most people are operating primarily from the child perspective when faced with dealing with life challenges and problems where they are unable to access the adult role model perspective at the appropriate time.
  • The wolf aspect refers to the darker side of life and represents the illusions, that we encounter in life which lead to betrayal, disillusionment, pain, abuse, trauma: all the problems we encounter in our journey of life.  It also represents the shadow part of us.  We learn via the challenges of the wolf aspect to reunite the mother / father and child principles within to bring about the true quality of life that we deserve via the ‘happy picnic’, at the end of the story.  The wolf represents the conditional love where the wolf says; ‘I love you but am going to eat you’.  The love of the granny says ‘I love you for who you are’.  Most people cannot tell the difference on an unconscious level between these two forms of love, and problems result


Most people when telling the story, are missing one of the characters, or have confusion between what the wolf and the granny is from the child’s perspective. Children think that the whole world is good and they cannot discern truth from illusion.


It is surprising for the individual to find out how the inner child/ unconscious part of them copes with the wolf and manages problems.  This however is the origins of why problems persist and difficult to change.  These arise from our early role models and the way they cope and deal   with the world.  ‘If the mother and father bird cannot fly, the baby bird will not fly either.  The parent birds however will tell the baby birds how to fly and get flustered if they don’t?’


Some people will kill the wolf as the child in their story where a woodcutter is not present.  This indicates that it is the child part of them that is managing problems.  The child aspect, being smaller than the wolf, is not able to put an end to that problem; so will please the wolf, try to change it, educate it or get sick hoping that the wolf aspect will love them. This arises because; the child often believes that the wolf is granny. An illusion of control results because the wolf aspect can always manipulate and override the power of the child.

It is only the woodcutter aspect of an individual, which is assertive enough to shatter the illusions presented by the wolf aspect. For that individual the role model of the father was either symbolically or literally absent. Anger becomes destructively expressed as the child state of being, as opposed to the woodcutter, adult male state of being. It is from the woodcutter perspective that constructive and elegant solutions are able to be implemented in an assertive , confrontational and elegant manner where consequences are delivered in an appropriate manner.


There are infinite variations of the story.

A 6 phase therapeutic process of desensitizing and reprocessing the person’s story is implemented, and one this is complete and integrated, the individual’s life goes to a new level of joy and completion.

Each person integrates at a different rate, just like a seed germinates at a different rate.