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My Niece Is Disturbed and Withdrawn

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It is about my niece. She is withdrawn, hardly smiles and likes to draw disturbing images. My sister passed away 4 years back. Her daughter is 12 years old is very quite and withdrawn she does not like to talk about her feelings. She sometimes open up to me recently her drawing are very dark and disturbing, she likes horror and draws this black faceless figure, when I asked who is that she said it was Slender man who lives in forest and take children and murder them. She also said she likes this ponies cartoon where they torture and kill each other. She stills wets her bed and wears her hair in such a way that her whole face is hiding. She use to soil her panties also but after much talk this has stopped. Please help me, how can I save her? (From Pakistan)

My Niece Is Disturbed and Withdrawn

Answered by on -


 Thank you for writing to us. I admire your desire to help your niece, and it is time to get some professional help involved. I believe the first step is to have her see a physician to rule out any medical concern. After that, the physician is in the best position to find out what kind of therapy may be helpful for your niece in grieving her mother’s death. I would do this sooner rather than later.

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

My Niece Is Disturbed and Withdrawn

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). My Niece Is Disturbed and Withdrawn. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 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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