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Psychological Intervention for a Child Exposed to Murder

Abstract

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.

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Reference

  1. 1.

    National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Domestic violence facts. Retrieved on August 20, 2012, from http://www.ncadv.org/files/domesticviolencefacts.pdf.

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to Megha Rupa.

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Rupa, M., Hirisave, U. & Srinath, S. Psychological Intervention for a Child Exposed to Murder. Indian J Pediatr 81, 509–510 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12098-013-1023-x

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Keywords

  • Trauma
  • Murder
  • Art
  • Play
  • Expressive therapy