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Home » Books » Nonfiction » Psychology » Psychopathology » General

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog

And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook - What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing

By Bruce D. Perry, Maia Szalavitz

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Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Published In: United States, 01 December 2007
Deftly combining unforgettable case histories with his own compassionate strategies for rehabilitation, a child psychiatrist explains what exactly happens to the brain when a child is exposed to extreme stress--and reveals the measures that can be taken to ease a child's pain and help him grow into a healthy adult.

About the Author

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. is the Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, a Houston-based non-profit organization which promotes innovations in service, research and education in child maltreatment and childhood trauma. He has served as a consultant to the FBI and is the former Chief of Psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital, as well as former Vice-Chairman for Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. He lives in Houston, Texas and Alberta, Canada. Maia Szalavitz is an award-winning journalist who specializes in science and health. She is the author of Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids and Recovery Options: The Complete Guide with Joseph Volpicelli, M.D., Ph.D. She lives in New York City.


Child psychiatrist Perry and journalist Szalavitz collaborate well in this meditation on what is known about brain function in deprivation and healing. Although he prescribes some medication to help his young patients, Perry's bedrock is listening well, recognizing cues, and relying on the power of trusting relationships. He reports on his experience working with the children who escaped from the Branch Davidian enclave in Waco, TX, as well as kids who witnessed or committed murder and who suffered in orphanages or were raised like animals. It takes a courageous healer to take on these travails, and Perry is unusually well suited to the task. Readable, informative about the workings of language, memory, trust, and choice, and ultimately optimistic-while critical of a society that exudes violence and ignores prevention-this book demands and deserves attention from parents, educators, policymakers, courts, and therapists. Highly recommended.E. James Lieberman, formerly with George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

In beautifully written, fascinating accounts of experiences working with emotionally stunted and traumatized children, child psychiatrist Perry educates readers about how early-life stress and violence affects the developing brain. He offers simple yet vivid illustrations of the stress response and the brain's mechanisms with facts and images that crystallize in the mind without being too detailed or confusing. The stories exhibit compassion, understanding and hope as Perry paints detailed, humane pictures of patients who have experienced violence, sexual abuse or neglect, and Perry invites the reader on his own journey to understanding how the developing child's brain works. He learns that to facilitate recovery, the loss of control and powerlessness felt by a child during a traumatic experience must be counteracted. Recovery requires that the patient be "in charge of key aspects of the therapeutic interaction." He emphasizes that the brain of a traumatized child can be remolded with patterned, repetitive experiences in a safe environment. Most importantly, as such trauma involves the shattering of human connections, "lasting, caring connections to others" are irreplaceable in healing; medications and therapy alone cannot do the job. "Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love," Perry concludes. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

EAN: 9780465056538
ISBN: 0465056539
Publisher: Basic Books (AZ)
Dimensions: 13.9 x 20.3 x 2.1 centimetres (0.30 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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13 review(s)
All Reviews
Judy Dransfield on
This book was referred to me by my supervisor. It is an amazing book and has proved very helpful in understanding the biological/psychological effects of abuse on children.
Highly recommended for anyone working in this field to give an additional depth of understanding and insight.
Steve Webb on
Very helpful insights into disturbing cases of childhood trauma.
Written in an engaging, informative style. Explains functioning of different parts of the brain and the role of various neurotransmitters, as well as the use of pharmacological treatment, teaching the reader without being condescending. A sobering, shocking, but inspiring account suitable for all those who care for and care about children.
After seeing John Briere speak, reading his book was amazing. Useful for professionals and non-professionals alike, this book makes the somewhat complex world of brain development and childhood trauma easy to understand, logical and makes it feel like common sense! Very helpful in providing a therapeutic framework when working with children and adults. Doesn't dwell on the details of trauma, rather focuses on the stories of recovery and what worked for this individuals, both within and outside of therapy. Wonderful.
Andrea Gubiani on
While this book takes a look at the serious nature of Psychiatric help for children of trauma. It is done in a way that is easy to understand and keeps you engaged and interested for the entire book. Each chapter tells a story of a child that has suffered from PTSD. While each case is different, overall the various stories show the development of understanding in this once non-existent field of knowledge. A very interesting read.
Nigel Colless on
A must read for anyone working with children. Bruce Perry documents his development as a psychiatrist, through stories about children he has worked with. He manages to incorporate neuropsychology, into a very readable book.
Jo Noesgaard on
Such a great book, however very confronting and full on
Lesley Scott on
I have already read three chapters of this book and to all the people I have met that think kids will just get over things, think again. We live every day of our lives with two boys who deal with the effects of neglect and it is hard. The traumas that the children in this book have experienced far outweigh that, it gives us hope for them, but also understanding. A fantastic but daunting read so far.
Mary riddell on
Prompt delivery, good condition and a fantastic book
carolyn n ough on
this is a great book if your interested in Trauma in Children. Bruce Perry is the leader in this subject and has opened the eyes too how children are traumertized and what it does to them
This is one of my favourite books and actually convinced me to change careers at a crucial time in my life. I regularly lend it out to friends and family and they all say it was interesting, heartbreaking and uplifting.

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