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Lorand, R.L. (1967). Teaching the Troubled Child: By George T. Donahue, Ed.D. and Sol Nichtern, M.D. New York: The Free Press, 1965. 202 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 36:304.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 36:304

Teaching the Troubled Child: By George T. Donahue, Ed.D. and Sol Nichtern, M.D. New York: The Free Press, 1965. 202 pp.

Review by:
Rhoda L. Lorand

This volume reports on a well-planned and executed study, known as The Elmont Project, in which women volunteers who had been judged to be successful mothers instruct seriously disturbed children on a one-to-one basis, under the guidance of a team consisting of an educator, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist. Experiences with six children are described; their difficulties range from neurosis to brain damage and all were uneducable in the classroom. The results provide a striking illustration of the ego growth possible when the environment is adapted to the child in a relationship with a need-satisfying person who is 'totally there when there', as Augusta Alpert has noted.

The one criticism that might be made of the Project is the use of the title 'Teacher-Mom' for the volunteer, a term bound to be perceived as a threat and reproach to many of the troubled mothers of disturbed children. It may in fact account for some of the maternal sabotage encountered by the Project staff.

The authors have succeeded in explaining childhood disturbances, including the brain-damaged child's difficulties, clearly and in nontechnical language. The value of the book to the educator would have been significantly enhanced had it included discussions of related studies and of the basic psychoanalytic writings on early ego development, of which The Elmont Project is an outgrowth.

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