Skip to main content

Psychological Intervention for a Child Exposed to Murder


This report describes the process of psychotherapy for a 7-y-old boy who witnessed the gruesome murder of his mother by the father. Expressive therapy techniques such as play, art and storytelling were used to help the child emote, achieve independence and emotional maturity. The child was seen as an in-patient for 3 mo on a daily basis, followed by weekly and subsequently bi-monthly follow ups. During the ward stay, aggression towards other children and grandmother had reduced significantly. The child was able to verbalize the irreversibility and inevitability of death, and had developed healthy ways to resolve the grief. In the subsequent follow ups, although some behavior problems persisted, gains from therapy generalized to help him deal with challenges of real life, such as a constantly lurking fear of the father returning from prison.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Domestic violence facts. Retrieved on August 20, 2012, from

Download references


The present work benefited from the input of Ms. Uttara Chari, Ph.D. Scholar, Department of Clinical Psychology, who provided valuable comments to the writing of this case report.

Conflict of Interest


Role of Funding Source


Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Megha Rupa.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rupa, M., Hirisave, U. & Srinath, S. Psychological Intervention for a Child Exposed to Murder. Indian J Pediatr 81, 509–510 (2014).

Download citation


  • Trauma
  • Murder
  • Art
  • Play
  • Expressive therapy