Case Study | Behavioral Health Services Helps Aggressive 7-Year Old

Published on: 2020/12/18


Noah* was a verbally and physically aggressive 7-year old. His behaviors impacted both his family life and his ability to be successful at school. However, both his family and school officials have seen changes in Noah’s behavior thanks to his Behavioral Health Services counseling sessions at Comprehensive Rehab. (*Name has been changed to protect child’s privacy.)

child writing on a chalkboardNoah was referred to Comprehensive Rehab by the school when he was 7. The school and his family sought services because Noah demonstrated verbal aggression through violent threats. He was also physically aggressive, having punched peers in the face. Noah was also defiant at home and at school. 

His behaviors impacted his family’s ability to go to church or out for dinner. It also impacted his ability to be successful in the school setting. Noah was isolated during the school day, working only with a paraeducator.

Initially, Noah refused counseling services and had to be bribed by school staff to attend sessions.

“Noah was a challenging client, as he would refuse to answer any direct questioning, even simple questions,” explained his Comprehensive Rehab counselor. “Due to this, I moved slowly (with him).” 

Cartoon Helped Connect Counselor and Child

During their sessions, the counselor followed Noah’s lead. “I paid attention to what interested him. I noticed he loved a popular cartoon. I included toys from this cartoon in the playroom and made sure to let him know that I noticed he loved the cartoon. It was my way of telling him, ‘I see you. I am paying attention. I can be trusted.’”

As a result, Noah began to attend counseling sessions willingly and without bribes. 

“During this time, I utilized non-directive play therapy with him. I would model appropriate social skills. I would reflect themes in his play,” said the counselor. 

Play Therapy Utilized With Noah

Play is a natural form of expression for children. Children who are struggling may not have the language to convey their feelings or situations; therefore, play gives them an outlet for expression. Play therapy consists of non-directive play, art, music, movement, storytelling, bibliotherapy, and the sand tray. In addition to play therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness are utilized in sessions.

As the therapeutic relationship grew, Noah was more open and willing to participate in directive activities geared toward addressing his anti-social behaviors. 

After almost two years of working together, Noah is now able to be in his fourth-grade classroom 99% of the time. In addition, he has eliminated physical aggression and decreased verbal aggression.

At Comprehensive Rehab, staff continues to work with Noah on his relationships with his family and peers as well as the coping skills he can use.

Comprehensive Rehab Offers Behavioral Health Services

At Comprehensive Rehab, our Behavioral Health Services are geared toward children struggling with any of the following: verbal aggression, physical aggression, property destruction, low self-esteem, poor social skills, poor emotion management, anxiety, depression, grief or loss, trauma, anti-social behavior, familial issues, gender identity, self-harm, and suicidal or homicidal ideations.

For more information about our Behavioral Health Services, or to schedule your child’s evaluation, contact Comprehensive Rehab at (877) 530-6356.