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Sternberg, J. (2011). Parents and toddlers in groups: a psychoanalytic developmental approach. J. Child Psychother., 37(2):214-216.

(2011). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 37(2):214-216

Book Reviews

Parents and toddlers in groups: a psychoanalytic developmental approach

Review by:
Janine Sternberg

Parents and toddlers in groups: a psychoanalytic developmental approach, edited by Marie Zaphirou Woods and Inge-Martine Pretorious, Sussex, Routledge, 2011, 219 pp., £20.99

In this interesting and engaging book, Zaphirou Woods and Pretorius have brought together a collection of articles that illustrate the approach to toddler groups developed at the Anna Freud Centre and now practised in many different settings. As with any edited book, the reader will inevitably find him/herself having different responses to the chapters, finding some riveting and others less engaging. For me the highlight of the book was Zaphirou Woods' chapter on normal toddler development, which I believe will become a seminal work in this area. This is an absolutely ‘must read’ overview of, as she puts it, ‘the main features of the journey through toddlerhood’ (p. 19). In language that would be accessible to the ordinary educated reader the author outlines briefly some of the key issues of this phase, including language, pretend play and identification, toilet training and the ownership of the body as well the way parents need to adapt to the changing needs of their child. For this chapter alone this book, like many of the Tavistock ‘Understanding your … old’ series, would be worth giving to parents rather than professionals.

However the rest of the book is aimed at giving professionals involved with toddlers, either directly or in a more policy-making role, an understanding of the way toddler groups have evolved over the years at the Anna Freud Centre and how groups using those principles could be set up to provide help to families in a variety of settings.

[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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