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.