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Richmond, M.B. (1997). Normal Child and Adolescent Development. By Ralph Gemelli. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, Inc. 1996. Pp. 582.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:1053-1055.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:1053-1055

Normal Child and Adolescent Development. By Ralph Gemelli. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, Inc. 1996. Pp. 582.

Review by:
M. Barrie Richmond

Dr Ralph Gemelli has taken great pains to write a clear, readable bio-psychosocial model of child and adolescent development—a psychiatric book for beginning mental health professionals. For readers coming out of medical school, psychiatric residency training programmes, or undergraduate and graduate programmes in social work and psychology, Gemelli provides a wealth of observations and insights about the child's and adolescent's maturational growth and development. To some extent, it leads the reader to sources and more intensive readings.

On the one hand, one can't help but respect the dedication and scholarship—the bibliography is thirty pages!—behind the author's extraordinary integrative effort. However, in its inclusiveness, which is particularly strong on infant research studies, e.g. Daniel Stern, Beebe, Emde, and cognitive development, e.g. Piaget, the psychoanalytic reader immediately misses the centring of psychological life in the dynamic unconscious; especially, the absence of an emphasis on the organising importance of genetic antecedents and developmental transformations in the self formation and character development of the child and adolescent. (Remarkably, the word character—or personality —and the term character development are absent in an otherwise well-indexed monograph.)

Gemelli brings together child development literature, memory and learning theory, infant research, and neurobiological object-related developmental lines.

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