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Robertson, P. (1997). The Emotional Needs of Young Children and Their Families: Using Psychoanalytic Ideas in the Community. Edited by Judith Trowell & Marion Bower. Routledge £14.99 (pb). Pp. 299.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 11(2):184-185.
  

(1997). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 11(2):184-185

The Emotional Needs of Young Children and Their Families: Using Psychoanalytic Ideas in the Community. Edited by Judith Trowell & Marion Bower. Routledge £14.99 (pb). Pp. 299.

Review by:
Patricia Robertson

In the description of the book, the editors state that no previous knowledge of the subject, that is psychodynamic ideas, is assumed, and they set the scene for this by three introductory chapters. They continue this setting process by linked chapters, in order to put the subsequent chapters into perspective in relation to psychoanalytic ideas and their social or institutional settings. The settings include: the Health Service, premature-baby units, GP services, and health-visitor services; in Social Services, guardian-ad-litern work, residential work and day-care; in Education settings, work with children including small-group work with young children who have experienced fragmented care, and work to support refugee children in schools.

From a description like this, it can be seen that the book runs the risk of being a collection of accounts of psychoanalytically-informed work without being a cohesive whole.

For the psychoanalytically-informed reader this is perhaps less important. Such a reader can dip in at will if looking to find out what is possible and what has been done elsewhere, and to find useful references about such work in a particular setting. The acid test of whether the book works is in relation to the psychoanalytically-uninformed reader. I think it is likely to meet this test — the clinical material is described in sufficient detail to carry the reader along. A good example of this is Savi McKenzie Smith's chapter on Cross-Cultural Issues and Racism in a Multicultural Society, McKenzie Smith devotes enough attention to the path of the therapy to enable someone unfamiliar with this kind of work to follow it.

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