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Child’s Behavior Changes During and After Therapy

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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.

Child’s Behavior Changes During and After Therapy

Answered by on -


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

Child’s Behavior Changes During and After Therapy

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

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Child’s Behavior Changes During and After Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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