Child’s Behavior Changes During and After Therapy

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My 4 year old suffered neglect and abuse from birth to age 2.5. She has been in therapy for over a year. I am afraid she and her brother (6) have been programmed by therapy. My children are both very happy kids until therapy. For an hour before our in-home therapist came over, the kids were drawing very happy, family oriented drawings and artwork. As soon as the therapist got here, they started drawing sad faces and monsters… I wonder if they think they are expected to behave a certain way when the therapist is here… My 4 year old’s behavior following the out of home play therapist is completely out of control. She goes to therapy once per week. Following that therapist visit, she throws tantrums and has extremely defiant behavior for 3 to 4 days. Then for the rest of the week she is fine until therapy day comes around again. I wonder, if she is too young for therapy or if she is programmed to behave this way… (unintentionally of course) but it is just strange how it happens. Thank you so much.

A: Your astute observations are very important to bring to your in-home therapist. Any pattern of behavior for young children s important to note, and this is a good reflection to discuss. There can be many factors influencing this, but the key will be to have an open dialogue with the therapist as you experiment with different ways to help. We don’t want the process to be part of the problem.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Apr 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Child’s Behavior Changes During and After Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/04/18/childs-behavior-changes-during-and-after-therapy/