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(2007). BOOK REVIEWS. Psychoanal. Psychother., 21(2):192-195.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 21(2):192-195


The Handbook of Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, edited by Monica Lanyado and Ann Horne. (Routledge, London, 1999). 496 pp. £55.00 (hardback), £19.99 (paperback)

This ambitious and comprehensive book focuses on the development and practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy with children and young people in the UK and offers a useful and readable introduction to the rich variety of clinical work provided by child psychotherapists. This last aspect alone makes it a book which should be widely read and available in all child and adolescent mental health settings, especially while child psychotherapy is so thinly available and while there remain misconceptions that this discipline only provides long-term individual work. Throughout the 28 chapters there are consistently engaging and illuminating clinical case examples provided by the 26 author-clinicians. This practice of always backing up theoretical and clinical writing with detailed clinical material is one of the major strengths of this Handbook and is a characteristic of the discipline of child psychotherapy itself.

The editors state that the book aims to be accessible to a varied readership including training and practising therapists, allied professionals and a general audience. It also aims to provide

an introduction to the profession that not only helps to locate it in its historical and present context but also enables an appreciation of some of the practices involved in a psychoanalytic approach to understanding and working with distressed and ‘stuck’ children and young people (p. 2).

The scope of the book's ambitions is therefore very broad and I felt that its aim of introducing the profession to a wider audience was the one which emerges most convincingly.

The five sections of the book examine theoretical foundations of child psychotherapy [Part 1] and a wide range of roles, clinical settings and a diversity of therapeutic techniques and treatments [Parts 2–5]. An important feature of this presentation is the apparent linkage between the extensive and thoroughgoing training of child psychotherapists; the complexity and severity of emotional and developmental difficulties which are being treated and the depth of thought and care evident in the clinical work being described.

[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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