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Adams, A. (1981). Clinician's Handbook of Childhood Psychopathology. Martin M. Josephson and Robert T. Porter (Eds.) New York: Jason Aronson, 1979. xv + 476 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 68(1):151-152.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Review, 68(1):151-152

Clinician's Handbook of Childhood Psychopathology. Martin M. Josephson and Robert T. Porter (Eds.) New York: Jason Aronson, 1979. xv + 476 pp.

Review by:
Abby Adams

Psychoanalysts recognize the existence of many “universals.” Universal fantasies, universal fears, universal symbols, and so forth. To this list might be added “universal professional hopes,” a major one of which for the ever information-hungry psychotherapist is the hope for a realistically informative, true “handbook” of some aspect of our field. We would so treasture the sort of compilation that could provide a concise, didactically effective sample of significant material, presented and explicated by experts whose technical knowledge, selective judgment and heuristic skill becomes available to us through the convenient medium of the written digest.

The Clinician's Handbook of Childhood Psychopathology, edited by Martin M. Josephson and Robert T. Porter, is an attempt to create just such a digest to meet the needs of an audience of mental health professionals. The compilation presents brief summary articles on thirty-one topics, some among the more classically recognized childhood disorders (phobias, eating disturbances, etc.), and others of special interest because they are not so often discussed in summary form with reference to children: suicide and altered states of consciousness, for example.

Unfortunately, considering the effort and knowledgability of the authors involved in this undertaking, the Handbook is, on the whole, a disappointment. It is, in fact, in its very ambitious scope that one finds a major drawback in the execution of the editors' intention. Given the plan of presentation and space limitations, the authors can only skim the surface of their topical expertise. This leaves an impression of superficiality and limited usefulness.

The few more extensive articles are, indeed, more informative and instructive. “Psychopharmacology in Current Practice” by David Schulman, M.D.,

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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