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Sternberg, J. Shulman, G. (2005). Editorial. J. Child Psychother., 31(3):281-283.

(2005). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 31(3):281-283


Janine Sternberg and Graham Shulman

This edition of the Journal of Child Psychotherapy contains a collection of articles which give a flavour of how wide-ranging the issues that currently preoccupy child psychotherapists are, and simultaneously show how, even in the most diverse settings, the work of child psychotherapists is informed and made possible by close attention to detail and to the countertransference. All our contributing authors, including those writing in our clinical commentary section, emphasise how much they learned about their patients and how they were better able to understand their internal worlds, by taking note of their countertransference, with particular attention to their somatic responses. As Caroline Owens, in her paper which opens this volume, points out, there is an ‘inevitability of disturbing and painful countertransference experiences in our work’, and we see here all the authors struggling to find ways of managing their feelings and then using them in the service of the patients.

The clinical work described in this volume shows the authors grappling with children who have been profoundly damaged – physically, mentally or both – by their life experiences. Owens movingly describes her work with a boy who had become quadriplegic following a tragic traffic accident. Always being acutely aware of how her contact with him was making her feel, she addresses the ways in which his physical limitations caused her to adapt her technique in sessions with him. We are presented with a vivid picture of how both Owens and her patient worked together.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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