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Levinson, L. (1989). Psychodynamic Psychotherapy of Children. An Introduction to the Art and the Techniques: By Henry P. Coppolillo, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1987. 414 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:650-653.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:650-653

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy of Children. An Introduction to the Art and the Techniques: By Henry P. Coppolillo, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1987. 414 pp.

Review by:
Laurie Levinson

This contribution to the literature on the psychotherapy of children is, in fact, a comprehensive treatise on the subject. It presents, in clear and concise language, and in step-by-step progression, the theoretical and technical foundations on which a disciplined and effective psychotherapy of children can be carried out. While aimed primarily at those who have recently decided on a career of treating children, its level of sophistication in the more complex and thorny problems of diagnosis and treatment of difficult cases makes it a valuable reference source for the experienced therapist as well. The book furnishes the beginner those essential elements on the subject of children, involving their development, both normal and aberrant, which he or she must command in order to achieve an acceptable level of competence in the field of child psychotherapy. Coppolillo's long experience as theoretician and teacher is here distilled, in a felicitous and well-organized form, into the art and discipline of treating the child in psychological distress.

The volume is divided into five sections, each section in turn being divided into three or four chapters. The beginning sections are concerned with establishing an appropriate physical setting and psychological atmosphere conducive to treatment and affording minimal interferences to the development of a therapeutic relationship. Coppolillo proposes the idea of an explicit verbal contract with the child so that the child can be given a "fair and honest description of the relationship" at the outset.

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