Doll Therapy for Depression, Grief, and Alzheimer’s?


So, as I said the other day, right now I am in a doll phase, specifically reborn dolls, which are dolls that are made to look and feel more like real infants. While I’ve been surfing the internet reading about these dolls and looking at pics of the ones available, I have also come across several articles about using these dolls as legitimate therapy, which is something I hadn’t even considered.

One article was about reborn dolls being used as therapy with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. In certain nursing homes they have done studies where they used these life-like dolls to treat anxiety and depression in patients and found that the dolls greatly helped with both of those problems, even making it so that many of the patients no longer needed psychotropic medications.

Interestingly, the article said the therapy works the best if the patient is introduced to the doll while they are still coherent enough to know the doll is not real. I found that rather fascinating. For many of these patients, over time they become truly attached to the dolls and do often start to think they are real babies, but that is understandable given their medical condition.

Another article I read spoke about the therapeutic effect these dolls have had for some parents who have lost small children of their own or who had stillbirths/miscarriages. Some of these grief-stricken parents have even had dolls made to look exactly like the child they lost, which strikes me as truly sad, but if it helps them work through their grief, I think that is a good thing. I do wonder though if some of them may actually end up obsessing over the loss to an unhealthy extent, but to tell the truth, I’m not sure the loss of a child is something you could ever truly get over anyhow.

What do you think about these dolls being used as therapy? Does it seem creepy or weird to you? Or do you think it is a great idea?

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Hi! I am an artist, author, and blogger who also happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome. I have won several awards and honors for my writings and artwork. I suffer from a few severe mental illness and chronic pain conditions (Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, CFS/ME, Ehlers Danlos, Degenerative Disc Disease, etc.), which greatly affects my life and makes me want to advocate for others going through similar things. Other interests of mine include reading, writing, drawing, watching cartoons and movies, collecting toys, hanging out with my family, and annoying my 3 cats.

22 thoughts on “Doll Therapy for Depression, Grief, and Alzheimer’s?”

    1. Yeah, I kind of feel the same way. I know some people get really into these dolls, even taking them out to dinner, having a car seat for them, etc., but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone and it helps them with whatever they are dealing with, who am I to judge?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow I didn’t know they got that into it but sure, if they aren’t hurting anyone. May make the world a happier place if we’d all accept that each person for his/her differences and let people be people rather than judge one another. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I am really getting into these reborn dolls mostly for depression, anxiety and panic attacks. But do I have to collect if I don’t want to. Now I’m getting into making one hands on but I can’t find a reborn head, body and limbs to make a reborn baby doll. I think it’s most fun and calming too just making them. There has got to be a group in my hometown I can go to and then go to break for lunch and go toastmasters which that would help with my confidence to speak in public and within earshot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, you definitely don’t have to collect them if you don’t want to. I’m not sure if I will buy more than one. We’ll see. They are expensive! I don’t think I would be very good at making one, but if you are able to make your own, that is great I think! Or maybe you might even get really good at it and sell the ones you make!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I have reborns, I have loved dolls all my life, I do suffer from depression and anxiety, I have suffered loss, many kinds of loss including children and grandchildren, I love hobbies, this is my hobby/therapy, I do crafts I make things for them to use and sell. Why is it that men can collect and “play” with trains cars military models towns and toys and no one bats an eye. If we bother you than maybe you should turn away and worry about what’s lurking in your closets. This being said to those who Mick and judge. Hey we could be addicted to crack right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This blog post was not meant to be insultive to those who love dolls at all. I collect dolls myself and do have a couple reborns as well. The use of them for potential therapy interests me though. I think it could be a good source of therapy for those who enjoy it.


  2. yup, the second hand Ashton Drake my daughter sent me for my birthday had originally been bought for an elderly lady, suffering from senile dementia. Family found it helped keep her calm and less anxious when she was holding it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think with dementia patients you’d need to keep in mind the small posssibility that it could trigger negative associations from their past and result in them becoming distressed but not necessarily able to articulate why, so you’d need to be prepared to deal with that. I think it’s a lovely idea if it works for people and gives them comfort and a way of working through their feelings – not weird or creepy at all – but I’m one of the ones who would have quite a negative reaction. I wrote a post on encountering a situation like this a couple of years back (

    Liked by 1 person

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