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Shattered Lives


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Table of Contents

Introduction. 1. The Witnessing. 2. Introduction to Therapeutic Thinking. 3. Exploring the Impact of Sexual Abuse - Letter to Chardonnay. 4. Shame - Letter to Daisy. 5. Adaptive Violence - Letter to Mr Mason. 6. Psychosocial Vulnerabilities Leading to Violence - Letter to Rocky. 7. Cradled in Terror - Children's Capacity to be Violent. 8. Legitimizing Neglect? Achieving the Best for Clients and Workers - Letter to Flower. 9. Parental Addictions - Letter to Julie. 10. Letter to Deny, Cry and Try. Conclusion. Appendix 1: The Basic "Who's Who?" of the Therapy World. Appendix 2: Substance Misuse: A Tourist's Guide.

Promotional Information

Stories of the realities of life for children who have experienced traumatic childhoods

About the Author

Camila Batmanghelidjh trained as a psychotherapist and for more than twenty years has worked with exceptionally disturbed children and young people in the two charities she has founded, The Place2Be and Kids Company. Focusing on the inner city, these have concentrated on giving vulnerable children greater resilience in the face of traumatic life experiences. Kids Company has been the subject of several documentaries, and in 2005 Camila was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year.


The book is highly accessible as it has been written for the general reader, however, it is also thought-provoking for educational psychologists... I would recommend this book particularly for those working with highly vulnerable children. -- Debate
Camila Batmanghelidjh is well known for her work with charities ' The prince 2 be' and 'Kids Company' She is a powerful and persuasive publis speaker and speaks eloquently about the way society treats some of our most damaged young people. The book is a powerful and emotional testament that should be read by every person working with young people, and every parent. -- Social Policy and Social Work Subject Centre
Shattered life not only made me think, it moved me to tears, it inspired me, it made me angry. Whatever you feel when reading this book, I guarantee you won't feel neutral. It's straight talking with the fighting gloves off! This book is written because of fundamental flaws in our society: the way we treat our children and young people, and the way services are structured. It points its finger directly at each and every one of us, as parents, as workers, as society as a whole and it demands that things should change. Without a doubt, Camilla Batmanghelidjh (founder of the Place to Be and Kids Company) is a passionate and inspiring woman who has dedicated her life to working with vulnerable and emotionally damaged young people. Using her experience and psychotherapy training she provides the reader with an introduction to therapeutic thinking, written in a way which is easy to read and digest. She explores the impact of shattered lives and provides insight into the consequences of such, explaining how working with such despair may impact on workers and their subsequent relationship with the young person. -- Youth & Policy

This is a book which made me weep. It is in the very best Jessica Kingsley tradition of books which take a radical, innovative or immensely practical approach to matters, and most often all three. This particular book provokes a leap of the imagination to show what can be possible in work with disturbed children - given an inspired therapist, a charismatic individual prepared to mortgage her home in order to keep the work going, and a team of willing staff and volunteer mentors.The book mainly takes the form of a series of letters from Camila Batmanghelidjh to children who had been subject to abuse and neglect in their lives. A letter to 'Chardonnay' touches the pain of a child who was sexually abused by her father and other men; a letter to 'Daisy' acknowledges the extremes of abuse and impoverishment at the hands of her mother and then neglect from social services; a letter to'Mr Mason' depicts the vulnerability of a boy subject to the vacillations of a drug-addicted mother and a cruel stepfather and the growing anger and violence within in response to experience which showed that power is often perverse and destructive, and that a brutalised life creates a brutal being. There are other letters, too, which signify an apology to each of the children within, and which so very clearly demonstrate the kind of extraordinary stamina which is needed to reach and sustain those young people who are so desperate, dangerous, delinquent and destroyed... It is an important and moving book for all who work with, study, have responsibillity for, or simply care about, children.

-- The Howard Journal

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