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Jong, A. (1987). The Suicidal Child: By Cynthia R. Pfeffer, M.D. New York/London: The Guilford Press, 1986. 318 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 56:706-708.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:706-708

The Suicidal Child: By Cynthia R. Pfeffer, M.D. New York/London: The Guilford Press, 1986. 318 pp.

Review by:
Allan Jong

This book is clearly written and informative. I agree with the quotation on the book jacket which states that it is "an important book for all medical and mental health professionals … pastoral and guidance counselors, [and] teachers concerned with learning how to detect and stem this tragic phenomenon." The book is divided into four sections. The analytic reader will be more interested in the first two sections than in the last two. My comments will therefore be directed primarily to these two sections. The chapters on the definition of suicidal behavior in children, on the changes in ego functioning leading to suicidal behavior, and on outpatient treatment were particularly interesting to me.

The first section, entitled "Clinical Descriptions and Epidemiology of Childhood Suicidal Behavior," contains four chapters. Chapter One is a brief historical review of the literature on child suicide, including the early psychoanalytic formulations on suicidal behavior.

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