Hard Times in Toyland

September 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm 3 comments

No more pretend ECT for Barbie’s depression or antipsychotics for GI Joe’s PTSD — finally, the line of toys every budding psychiatrist has been waiting for — toys with specific mental illnesses already laid out from the German “asylum” that pumps them out.

These plush “patients” are the idea of Martin Kittsteiner from Hamburg, Germany. Each of the five toys from Paraplush has a specific psychiatric disorder presented in distinctly psychiatric terms on Paraplush’s online store — or as their website calls it, The Asylum: Psychiatric Clinic for Abused Cuddlytoys. Dub is a turtle suffering from depression, Dolly is a sheep suffering under the delusion that she’s a wolf and Kroko is battling paranoid psychosis and so on. Maybe the “asylum” can better relay the plight of these troubled toys. For example, Kroko, a crocodile:

The patient’s hypersensitive hallucinatory perception is a symptom of a paranoid psychosis. The signs are a mental block and a Gestaltzerfall (disintegration of structure) of the habitual field of experience. The consequence is a compensational reactivation of archaic reaction patterns.

The patient needs your help!

For the kid that just can’t help enough, they are available as a set — you know, for group therapy sessions.

The psychological dynamic of a group will challenge your analytic skills and leads to a complete new understanding of therapeutical treatment. Notice the relationships between different patients and discover the structure of a collective plush-subconscious.

Kittsteiner says of his creation,

“Children and grown ups like their vulnerability and find something in them that gives them a great sense of comfort in helping to heal them.”

Just like Cabbage Patch Kids come with adoption papers from Babyland General Hospital, these dolls are shipped out to your kids complete with medical histories and treatment plans. It is, after all, their new little owner’s job to  treat them — and really, who doesn’t like to revel in the vulnerability of the mentally ill?

It’s bizarre on so many levels and only becomes more so when you poke around on their website a little. There are illustrated posters detailing the theory of “plushtoy psychoanalysis” and treatment options and there’s even a game.

At least we can still count on Germany to offer up healthy approaches to mental hygiene.


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  • 1. Frank Blankenship  |  September 14, 2010 at 10:14 am

    What is the world coming to!? I really liked the care bear in a strait jacket. Thought he could cheer up many a demented kid. Other people thought he promoted stigma. This line of care bear quickly went collectors item extinct.

    Cuddly toys for the newly diagnosed juvenile ‘sicko’. What could be more fun! Uh. Maybe a few less labeled kiddies, I suppose, but who’s going there. Well, some people are going there, as in Don’t saddle kids with psychiatric labels that could lead to a lifetime in MH treatment. Oh, and trash the toys. They’re in really bad taste.

    I see it all now. Barney, the purple dinosaur, comes down with depression. The news shows start interviewing him. All sorts of kiddies want to get depressed now. That’s the way these things start. Of course, here comes the big pharma money, too. Want some?

  • 2. dogkisses  |  October 19, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Well, you sure gave this the proper title. This is quite the marketing strategy! Sigh, a sign of the times?

    I’m glad my dolls were just dolls. A time for fun and play.

  • 3. Susannah  |  November 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Totally bizarre.



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