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Hurley, A. Bailey, T. (2011). Editorial. J. Child Psychother., 37(2):111-112.

(2011). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 37(2):111-112



Anne Hurley and Teresa Bailey

This is a special edition gathered around the theme of trauma. Unsurprisingly, work with looked after children, who have experienced abuse, severe emotional deprivation or cumulative neglect in early life, features in many of the articles. The theme of traumatic loss and its continuing emotional impact for survivors is also a key aspect of this issue.

Graham Music's article entitled ‘Trauma, helpfulness and selfishness: the effect of abuse and neglect on altruistic, moral and pro-social capacities’ opens this issue of the Journal. It is a stimulating, thought-provoking article full of helpful references across many fields of research including psychoanalysis, psychology, attachment research, psychiatry and neuroscience. Music explores the origins and the development of empathy and altruism in ‘ordinary’ children and cites a range of fascinating experiments into how and when these essential qualities emerge. He uses two clinical cases to demonstrate the appalling consequences for children and society when such vital aspects of the personality fail to grow. Many readers will recognise Mick and Jimmy as representative of neglected and abused children with whom they have worked and Music describes powerfully the effect these children can have on the clinician trying to work with them.

The challenge of working with children who have had early traumatic experiences is also the theme taken up in the next two articles by Fagan and Gatti. Fagan's article ‘Relational trauma and its impact on late-adopted children’ considers the difficulties associated with developing intimate, new relationships within adoptive families when there is the powerful, ‘dormant’ presence or indeed intrusive conscious memory of past traumatising relationships and catastrophic neglect.

[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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