Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Review: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog

I recently used the Lending Library and checked out The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook by Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D and Maia Szavalitz.  As a foster parent I found it very resourceful.

I don't want to give away too much but I think that the authors did a great job explaining how children deal with trauma, both physiologically and psychologically, in terms that everybody can understand. 

Two other thoughts:

1)  One sentence alone convinced me that David Koresh is an evil man.  The psychiatrist who wrote this book worked with the Branch Davidian children survivors of the Waco Compound (See Chapter 3)

2)  Holding Therapy is assinine.  (See Chapter 7)  I just don't get it.  The first time I heard the term I thought that "holding" referred to bonding and nurturing as a means of encouraging attachment, not as a means of restraint and force.   

This book was disturbing to read at times but a necessary read which begs the question, Why did I read it?  In answer to that, I'll quote what the author has found in his experiences working with traumatized children:

"In order to appreciate how children heal we need to understand how they love, how they cope with challenge, how stress affects them.  And by recognizing the destructive impact that violence and threat can have on the capacity to love and work, we can come to better understand ourselves and to nurture the people in our lives, especially the children."

"Ultimately, what determines how children survive trauma, physically, emotionally, or psychologically, is whether the people around them- particularly the adults they should be able to trust and rely upon- stand by them with love, support, and encouragement.  Fire can warm or consume, water can quench or drown, wind can caress or cut.   And so it is with human relationships: we can both create and destroy, nurture and terrorize, traumatize and heal each other."   


cloudmaster said...

Just stopped by. Saw your blog listed on another one. We are close to adopting from foster care. Hopefully within a month or two.

Mary said...

Cloudmaster, Congratulations on your upcoming adoption!