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Shuttleworth, A. (2011). Nurturing natures. J. Child Psychother., 37(3):371-374.

(2011). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 37(3):371-374

Nurturing natures

Review by:
Alan Shuttleworth

Nurturing natures, by Graham Music, London, Psychology Press, 2010, 314 pp., £22.46, ISBN 978-1-84872-057-2

This book is a very impressive and solid achievement, fully deserving the rich praise on the back cover and fly sheet from Peter Fonagy, Anne Alvarez and others – ‘tour de force’, ‘superb’, ‘masterly’, ‘MUST read’. In the introduction, Music outlines the book's task: ‘This is a book about how a human baby, that tiny bundle of biological inheritances, develops into a psychological, emotional and social being’ (p. 2). Of course, in one form or another, that is exactly what we expect a book, written by a psychoanalytic child psychotherapist and with this kind of title, to be about. What is different about this one is the source Music almost exclusively draws on. As he says,

I describe many of the increasingly rigorous yet exciting research findings of recent years … (Our) understanding of how people develop from infancy into adulthood, and how early beginnings affect later functioning, has grown beyond all measure … (This) is mainly scattered in a vast array of scholarly books, chapters, and journal articles, and hopefully much of this research is distilled here in a digestible form (p. 2).

It has, it is true, become much more common in recent years for books on child development by child psychotherapists to draw somewhat on this research literature. What is striking about this book is the sheer extent to which it does so.

[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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