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Jacobs, J.J. (1957). Emotional Problems of Early Childhood: Edited by Gerald Caplan. (New York: Basic Books Inc.; London: Tavistock Publications, 1955. Pp. xiv + 544. $7.50 or 42s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:366-367.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:366-367

Emotional Problems of Early Childhood: Edited by Gerald Caplan. (New York: Basic Books Inc.; London: Tavistock Publications, 1955. Pp. xiv + 544. $7.50 or 42s.)

Review by:
J. J.M. Jacobs

This volume consists of a selection from the papers presented at the International Institute of Child Psychiatry held at Toronto in August 1954.

The clinical studies and research reports have been arranged under three main sections:

1. Preventive Aspects of Child Psychiatry.

2. The Relation of Physical and Emotional Factors and Problems of Hospitalization.

3. Problems of Psychosis in Early Childhood.

Section 1. Prophylaxis is one of the dominant themes throughout the book; it is stated, developed and illustrated in the first case report which forms the opening chapter. This is an account of how a mother and her four-year-old son were enabled to deal in a more healthy way with their serious emotional problems, the aftermath of the father's suicide. The boy was identified as a potential psychiatric casualty at a routine mental health screening procedure to which all the incoming primary school children were subjected at intake. The term 'preventive intervention' is used to describe the therapeutic work carried out in this instance, which was directed at altering the nascent, maladaptive emotional response patterns, so as to prevent them from becoming firmly established. Scope for work of this kind exists at all stages of the child's development and a positive mental health programme must make adequate provision for it. Only in this way will appropriate psychiatric services be available in the community for its children from birth onwards.

The other clinical case studies and research reports in this section deal with various aspects of preventive psychiatric work.

Section 2. The relation and interplay of physical and emotional factors in the causation of psychosomatic and other disabilities are considered.

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