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Miller, L. (1994). Paul V. Trad Short-term Parent—Infant Psychotherapy, New York: Basic Books, 1993, hardback, 350 pp.. J. Child Psychother., 20(3):391-393.

(1994). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 20(3):391-393

Paul V. Trad Short-term Parent—Infant Psychotherapy, New York: Basic Books, 1993, hardback, 350 pp.

Review by:
Lisa Miller

Paul V. Trad, M.D. is the Director of the Child and Adolescent Outpatient Department at Cornell University Medical School and Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Psychotherapy. From this it can be gathered that his thinking is likely both to reflect current preoccupations in the field of child mental health and also to influence them. Clearly, at present, there is much general enthusiasm for parent-infant psychotherapy; the idea of tackling disturbance at the roots, of fielding in close to the wicket, appeals powerfully to those influenced by the current coalescence of child development theory with psychoanalytic ideas. Many of us, strongly aware of the importance of earliest experiences, are seeking ways to alter the angle of development at the centre; the availability for family growth and change in the first months and years of a child's life has led us to see the value of not only early but also brief intervention. We are encouraged by the results of brief work with parents and infants, where attention to the parents’ infantile anxieties combined with an approach to their adult selves can join with attention to the infant to result in general progress and development, sometimes of a rapid sort.

Paul V. Trad is fired by theories of child development and in touch with psychodynamic issues. He concentrates mainly on the dyad, the mother-infant couple, and gives us long, detailed and lively case descriptions; this is particularly enlightening and valuable where he makes us think about mothers who are significantly ill and shows us the influence and benefit which containing attention has even in very anxiety-provoking cases.

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