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The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us about Loss, Love, and Healingby Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz
Synopses & Reviews
What happens when a young brain is traumatized? How does terror, abuse, or disaster affect a child's mind — and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has helped children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, murder witnesses, kidnapped teenagers, and victims of family violence.
In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation through the lens of science, revealing the brain's astonishing capacity for healing. Deftly combining unforgettable case histories with his own compassionate, insightful strategies for rehabilitation, Perry explains what exactly happens to the brain when a child is exposed to extreme stress — and reveals the unexpected measures that can be taken to ease a child's pain and help him grow into a healthy adult. Through the stories of children who recover — physically, mentally, and emotionally — from the most devastating circumstances, Perry shows how simple things like surroundings, affection, language, and touch can deeply impact the developing brain, for better or for worse.
In this deeply informed and moving book, Bruce Perry dramatically demonstrates that only when we understand the science of the mind can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Readable, informative about the workings of language, memory, trust, and choice, and ultimately optimistic...this book demands and deserves attention from parents, educators, policymakers, courts, and therapists. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"Perry doesn't promote what he calls the 'abuse excuse' for antisocial or criminal behavior; rather, he makes a powerful case for early intervention for disruptive children to prevent adult sociopathy." Booklist
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.
A world-renowned child psychiatrist offers a groundbreaking new perspective on how stress and violence affect children's brains--and how they can be helped to heal
About the Author
Bruce Perry, M.D., PH.D., is the founder of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas, and serves as an advisor to the FBI. He lives in Houston, Texas, and Alberta, Canada.
Maia Szalavitz is the coauthor, with Joseph Volpicelli, M.D., of Recovery Options: The Complete Guide and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, New York, O: The Oprah Magazine, Salon, New Scientist, and the Village Voice, among other publications. A former producer for "Charlie Rose" and researcher for Bill Moyers, Szalavitz is a senior fellow at stats.org, a media watchdog group that investigates the coverage of science and statistics.
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» Health and Self-Help » Child Psychology » General