Illustration from WorryWoo storybook.

How can the WorryWoos help?

"Far more than an ordinary plush toy, the Woos personify feelings that really reach inside the hearts of traumatized children. From feeling lonely, to worried, to confused, children have identified with them in powerful ways which have created magical moments in my play therapy interventions. As non-threatening visual representations of their most intense feelings, each story helps to show that it is not about making feelings disappear, but about managing these emotions in a healthy way."

- Cherie Sephar, LCSW 

Prop-Based Intervention Tools

  • Woos work and play wonderfully as a prop-based intervention upon which to focus a theme in directive play therapy, normalize feelings of aloneness, frustration, worry, and fear, and help a child externalize specific worries

  • Bring Woos to your aid when trying to assist clients in making friends with their worries. Often, kids are overwhelmed and scared of the feelings that are a part of them. Using the Woos as a friendly, non-threatening embodiment of these projected parts of them assists children in normalization, validation, and integration

  • Woos contributes to the creation of a “Safe Space and Place” when a child enters the playroom

Nola the Monster of Loneliness and Rue the Monster of Insecurity
Trauma intervention, how the WorryWoos work.

Trauma-Informed Intervention

  • WorryWoos are excellent tools for sensory soothing

  • The Woos can provide a sensory experience that directly relates to the feelings and themes of the trauma experience

  • Woos can support the concept of pendulation in trauma work, demonstrating positive representations of worry within the discomfort they create

  • Rather than fearing their worries, Woos help kids understand they are protective steps, that they make sense, and how they can be helped

  • Woos connect children to expansive themes like medical issues, trauma, attachment, anxiety, frustration, anger, and fears

Bibliotherapy

The Woo stories offer terrific scenarios for kids that blend humor, connection, and ways to gently identify. Their themes are rich with content to guide a child into the idea of a feeling without too much intensity, establishing themes to which a child can connect without traumatization.

WorryWoo book illustration, Wince at the Library.
Girl holding WorryWoo drawing

Woo Interventions

Integrate your WorryWoo collection for creative interventions that you can develop and tailor to your needs such as:

  • Acting out story scenarios

  • Having the child create their own personal Woo

  • Creating a dialogue between Woos about specific therapeutic issues

  • Engaging the Woos as participants and partners in the child’s therapeutic process (for example, one of my clients sought Squeek’s silent advice before doing any new activity until she felt safe enough to go on)

  • Using the Woos to serve as aids for creating new narratives and understanding the meaning of distressing events

What Does the Data Say?

“Using the WorryWoos is not a leap of faith - it is grounded in outstanding research findings.”

In 2018 a large and intensive research study into the effectiveness of the WorryWoos was commissioned in Australia. Over 1000 children between the ages of 5 and 8 were pre and post-tested on their SEL levels. In summary, these were the key findings. 

 There was a significant improvement (p<0.01) in pro-social behaviors on the highly respected, validated and reliable measure of emotional and social well-being Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)

 There were significantly less difficulties (p<0.01) reported on the conduct problems scale, hyperactivity problems scale, peer problems scale, emotional problems scale, internalizing difficulties, externalizing difficulties and total problems on the SDQ post data analysis

 There was a significant improvement (p<0.01) in overall ability to understand and manage emotional difficulties on Dr. John’s Developing Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (DEIQ)

 There was a significant improvement in intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, emotional awareness, empathy and resilience on the DEIQ

In addition to the Australia, The WorryWoo Developing Emotional Intelligence Program was piloted in the Jersey City School District for three years.  Click to download the full report.

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Hello. First of all, I love the worry woos!!!! I am a therapist at an inpatient children's hospital. Almost all of my patients love the plushies and borrow them at night. They read the books and tell me they identify with different characters. They are truly one of my favorite things to have in my office as I see such a great response. Many of my clients have negative thoughts about themselves and the world they are trying to overcome. I work on teaching them how to look for the good in life.  My kids absolutely love and identify with the characters--which says a lot because I work with preteens who can be somewhat skeptical of things. Thank you so much for this resource!!!

— Misty Wilcox, LCSW —