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Remen, S. (1991). Child Potential, by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 51(2):185-187.
   

(1991). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 51(2):185-187

Child Potential, by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D.

Review by:
Stephen Remen, M.D.

Child Potential is the latest in a series of books by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D., whose purpose is to provide us with psychological insight into a specific aspect of our lives in order to help us to improve our relationships, and to enable us and the people we care for to become more fulfilled. Dr. Rubin stresses that an ounce of prevention is worth at least a pound of cure. Avoiding problems is not passive, however. It requires the active, collaborative participation of parents. In order to facilitate the accomplishment of this goal Dr. Rubin begins with clear, easy-to-understand explanations of the three areas of child potential upon which he plans to focus: intellectual, emotional, and creative fulfillment. He treats them as one area, observing “that they are in fact one process taking place in one person.”

Dr. Rubin hopes to involve parents in helping their children to realize their potential before they become the underachieving patients who fill his practice. He cautions that overt childhood abuse, deprivation, and psychological symptoms need not be present for parents to take action.

Dr. Rubin warns that especially sensitive children and those with more than average potential are particularly vulnerable to subtle deprivations. He observes that these children “stand to lose more and to profit more, relative to the treatment they receive,” and “are often damaged more by what they do not receive than by the assaults they do receive.” Dr. Rubin is in agreement with Karen Horney “that unfulfilled creative assets do not simply sit there without effect … they eventually cause self-corrosion and are invariably damaging.” He adds “that the greater the unused potential, the greater would be the self-hate and self-corrosion and devastation to all areas of living and to the possibility of happiness.”

Dr. Rubin emphasizes that change and growth are possible for adults as well as for children, even after emotional problems become manifest. He cites a long list of adults whom he has helped to live more productive lives by realizing their potential. This book is, however, a call to action on the part of parents before “replacement therapy” becomes necessary. Dr.

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