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Book Reviews

One of the many features of each issue of the Child and Family Professional is a section on book reviews done by professionals in the field of mental health and wellness.  Below you will find book reviews on an assortment of topics. Click on the book title to read a comprehensive review.

THE MINDFULNESS SOLUTION

This book is one that is certainly fascinating because of the wisdom and material that is included within it…. this is a guide for the reader who is interested in learning skills to engage in mindfulness practices.  Siegal walks the reader through an introduction to mindfulness and the blissful benefits that can be derived from the use of mindfulness meditations.  He offers the reader opportunity to explore mindfulness for what it can provide; a life in which one is living in the present.  He also delivers on the promise to provide methods by which this can be achieved.  Then he offers the means by which the reader can design a life that is enriched through mindfulness practice.  Read More…

TRAUMA INFORMED PRACTICES WITH CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

I was fortunate to read Trauma Informed Practices with Children and Adolescents as I was flying to Beirut, Lebanon, where I would be co-leading a seven-day intensive training program for adult survivors of landmines. The twenty-nine participants were coming from such landmine infested areas as Kurdistan, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon. The purpose of our program was to train these survivors to promote resilience in peer-to-peer projects back in their home communities.

Although the participants were adults, reading this manuscript was perfect preparation. It reinforced and enriched my perspective on the value of being a trauma-informed practitioner whose interventions are attachment-grounded, resilience focused and strength-based. Bill Steele and Cathy Malchiodi have assembled a great team of authors who bring conceptual acumen, a firm grasp of current research, and rich clinical experience in treating children who are trauma survivors.  Read More…

PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH ADOLESCENT GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN: Fostering autonomy through attachment

Although the title of this book is rather daunting – conjuring up a vision of a jargon-rich, scholastic study which, with an authoritative tone could evoke fear in the reader (who may be the parent of an adolescent girl or young woman), the author has adopted a style that is clinically based, yet comprehensible (so that the reader has no need of a psychological terms reference book).  Read More…

PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH ADOLESCENT GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN: Fostering autonomy through attachmentPreventing Child Maltreatment is a comprehensive volume that combines various program approaches, etiology of maltreatment, policies, research and historical perspectives aimed at preventing this growing epidemic. The book evolved from a National conference that was held in 2007 at the Duke University and was created through the collaboration of various speakers from the conference.  Kenneth Dodge and Doriane Lamelet Coleman performed the roles of editors in order to bring the work of the speakers together to create a volume that addresses what we know, what we need to know and to stimulate thinking on how we need to progress for effective change to take place.  Read More…
WHAT WORKS FOR BIPOLAR KIDS: HELP AND HOPE FOR PARENTSThe author of this book, Mani Pavuluri, M.D., Ph. D., is a renowned researcher and practitioner in the area of bipolar disorder. In my opinion, she wrote this book with parents in mind. What Works for Bipolar Kids is designed to lay out the key factors associated with having a child with bipolar disorder. It is divided into three main parts: 1) The facts and fundamentals; 2) Treatment; and 3) Pulling it all together. Read More…
TRAIN YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BRAINSharon Begley, noted science writer for The Wall Street Journal and previous science writer for Newsweek, has written a book that relates the fascinating tale of the human brain and its potential to transform itself.  If it were merely a recount of the growing learning from the science of neuroplasticity, the science of brain change capacity, the book would be an interesting read.   The prevailing belief that the brain was “set” in childhood and that it remained fixed thereafter, has through the work of the current crop of neuroscientists, been relegated to misguided theoretical tenets of a bygone era.  The body of knowledge regarding brain plasticity that has been achieved over the past decade is revolutionary in the scientific world. Read More…
PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDRENAs a clinical social worker with a professional interest in parent-child attachment, the title of the book and the extensive bibliography on attachment immediately attracted my attention.  Lieberman and Van Horn are two prominent clinicians from the United States who are known for their clinical expertise with childhood trauma.  Psychotherapy with Infants and Young Children is a book grounded in the relationship-based treatment approach, aimed at infants and young children age zero to five, whose mental health has been “derailed” by their parents’ failure to protect them and who have been exposed to chronic or multiple traumas. Read More…
WORKING WITH FAMILIES OF YOUNG CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDSIn this user-friendly resource, McWilliam sets out to provide readers with a concrete step-by-step resource for research-based best practices which are essential for working with families of children with special needs. McWilliam accomplishes this by including reproducible checklists and interview scripts, purposeful and well-organized chapters as well as a glossary which is helpful in defining some of the terms, specific to particular chapters.
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  CHILDREN IN CANADA TODAYThis book, written by Patrizia Albanese, provides a comprehensive look at issues facing children in Canadian society.  The author tailors each chapter to begin with learning objectives for the reader.  Each chapter closes with a summary of the chapter, questions for critical thought, suggested readings and websites.  A great deal of Canadian content is included.  The author writes in a reader friendly format and has backed up her writing with research.  Read More…
  SWITCH: HOW TO CHANGE THINGS WHEN CHANGE IS HARDOccasionally a book comes along that manages to take a complex topic and transforms the way we look at it.  Dan and Chip Heath managed this with their first book Made to Stick.  They succeeded again with Switch – How to Change Things When Change is Hard. They combine a variety of change management theories and communicate the theories’ shared wisdom in a clear and practical way for their readers.The authors suggest that instead of looking at what might be going wrong in a situation to, instead examine what’s going right.  That practical optimism continues throughout the book as the authors review how we struggle with seemingly impossible change.  Read More…
STRENGTHENING FAMILY RESILIENCEStrengthening Family Resilience, an excellent book, is primarily addressed to family therapists and is one of a series on family therapy published by the Guilford Press (The Guilford Family Therapy Series, edited by Michael P. Nichols). However, anyone working with families in crises will learn much from this highly readable and refreshing book. There are two main themes throughout the book. The first is that the author approaches resiliency from the family’s experience. Read More…

CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT: THE SCHOOL’S RESPONSE

This relatively brief (204 pages including index) somewhat matter-of-fact book, which is written in a quasi-scientific style, is apt to leave one rather dispirited. The book provides a lot of data, rather indiscriminately, references a fair amount of research, and provides the reader with a number of theoretical frameworks. But it says little about and provides no hope with respect to what becomes of children and youth who are abused or neglected. Read more…

THE POWER OF DIVERSITY

The Power of Diversity is a must read for anyone in the field of education, counselling, business, corporate training and staff development. Actually, the beauty of Prashnig’s book is that any individual interested in discovering how they best learn and how they can succeed in their learning “style” would find this book an enlightening read. Without a doubt, readers will find themselves within the pages of this book. Read More…

 

TAG, YOU’RE IT! 50 EASY WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUNG PEOPLE

This compact book is an easy read, and a must-read for anyone who may feel intimidated by today’s youth. On a magazine assignment, author Kathleen Kimball-Baker, of Search Institute, interviewed both young people and adults in a Minnesota mall trying to understand if “we” areafraid of teens. Not the teens we know and care for, but the strange ones we see but don’t know. The experience was a turning point in her life. “What I learned that day changed me irrevocably,” she writes (page 3). The adults she interviewed spoke with warmth and compassion about their teenaged children, grandchildren or those they had relationships with, but “by and large said yes, [they] are afraid of those they don’tknow.” Read More…

HELPING CHILDREN WITH AGGRESSION AND CONDUCT PROBLEMS

This publication is one in a series of hundreds of professional publications over the past many decades attempting to understand and treat children with behaviour problems. While each new book repeats some of the material of previous ones, it also adds to knowledge andskill of this extremely complex issue. Read More…

  CREATIVE INTERVENTIONS WITH TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN

In Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children Cathy A. Malchiodi has pulled together a timely collection of therapeutic interventions from today’s leaders in art, drama, music and other creative therapies. Malchiodi, an art therapist, clinical counsellor and certified trauma specialist, is recognized as an international expert and leading scholar, popular speaker and prolific author in the field of art therapy. With more than twenty-five years of clinical experience, twenty years as a visiting professor at numerous universities, and extensive international program development experience, Malchiodi brings a confident, experienced and well-rounded perspective to this latest resource for therapists who work with children. Read More…

THE ABCS OF ANGER

This is a combination resource and story book for professionals who are supporting children with social and emotional development in preschool to grade 3. The ABC’s of Anger contains easy-to-read stories involving various situations that trigger a variety of reactions that people experience in their day to day life. Read More…

ATTACHMENT IN MIDDLE CHILDHOOD

According to Dr. John Bowlby (1907-1990), the father of attachment theory, attachment is an integral part of human behaviour from the cradle to the grave. For the last 25 years, there has been a growing body of research on attachment, to further understand its impact on individuals throughout their lifespan. While much has been written on parent-child relationships in infancy, early childhood, and adolescence, little exists in literature about the significant years, between six and 12, of middle childhood.  Read More…

SOLUTION-FOCUSED COUNSELING IN SCHOOLS

In today’s time-pressured, resource-strained, and results-driven school environment, Dr. John J. Murphy offers a message of hope, strength, and resilience. And his approach is refreshingly practical. School counsellors are challenged in their work with students who face serious problems such as disruptive classroom behaviour, failing grades, truancy, and violence. In the past, counsellors using traditional helping models may have encountered power struggles, or felt stuck in unproductive cycles attempting to fix problems with students. Alternatively, students may have traditionally perceived counsellors as unhelpful, ineffectual, or unimportant.  Read More….

  LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS

I was attracted to the title immediately since I personally and professionally believe that as educators we have embraced technology at the expense of our children’s physical and emotional health. We present as being obsessed with testing, proficiency and achievements; our goal to develop higher test scores. But…. with what long term impact?  Read More…

TEENS WHO HURT

Both authors have a background working with children who are at-risk. Dr. Kenneth Hardy has provided training and consultation for working with troubled children and youth throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He currently is a professor of family therapy at Syracuse University and is Director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York. Dr. Tracey Lazloffy is a relationship therapist who specializes in working with troubled adolescents and their families. Their information appears to be well researched and well presented. The authors state that when working with violent adolescents, they came into contact with a variety of professionals, including therapists, teachers, youth workers, probation officers, child welfare advocates, caseworkers, and human service administrators. Read More…

THE BULLY, THE BULLIED AND THE BYSTANDER

Far too often we hear stories about bullied children who lash out in anger against their tormentors and peers. There are also stories of children who internalize their hurt and rage by choosing to end their own lives in an effort to stop a persistent problem over which they feel powerless. In less extreme cases bullied children grow up with painful memories, which affect their self confidence and social success in adulthood. Additionally, the children who bully may carry their false sense of superiority into their future workplaces and homes resulting in violent and destructive behaviour that repeats itself in those environments. Read More…

THE NO CRY POTTY TRAINING SOLUTION

As a Family Support Worker, guiding families with children under the age of six, I have met numerous stressed parents, worried about their child’s disinterest in, or obstinacy regarding toilet training. I find Pantley’s book a valuable read for parents to help them relax, increase their knowledge and decrease their bathroom power struggles. Read More…

THE NO-CRY DISCIPLINE SOLUTION

The main purpose of this book is to educate parents and caregivers on effective discipline focusing on cooperation, communication, and consistency with preschoolers to school aged children. Professionals working with parents/caregivers may also find this book helpful in breaking down parenting theory in an easy to understand concept.Read More…

 

THE NO-CRY SLEEP SOLUTION

There is nothing more precious than a sleeping child. I have always felt that this was true. And when I became a mother, this point held a whole new meaning. A sleeping child can bring a sense of relief to parents, as well in some cases a sense of nervousness as you wonder “how long until they wake up again?” or “I wonder how many times they will wake up tonight?”. Elizabeth Pantley’s book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers, is an excellent guide for all parents.  Read More…

TREATING TRAUMA AND TRAUMATIC GRIEF IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTSTreating Trauma and Traumatic Grief in Children and Adolescents provides a comprehensive model for assessing and treating trauma and trauma symptoms in children/youth. Although the focus is on using cognitive behavioural theory as its primary intervention, the model also draws on other theories and interventions to provide well-rounded, comprehensive treatment. Read More…
BEYOND FEELINGSBeyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking is expressley written for university and college students as a resource to assist in the development of critical thinking and writing skills. This book is useful for anyone who is interested in learning how to reason with integrity and persuasiveness.  Read More…
COLLABORATIVE THERAPY WITH MULTI-STRESSED FAMILIESCollaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families offers valuable insight for working with families in difficult clinical situations. The author is currently the Director of the Training Program in Collaborativeand Narrative Therapies at the Family Institute of Cambridge (MA) and the Director of the Family-Centered Services Project and Organizational Change Initiative. The Institute is dedicated to helping state organizations and community agencies develop more respectful and responsive ways of interacting with families (Madsen, p.1).  Read More…
RE-VISIONING FAMILY THERAPY

Through the perspectives of the authors in this text, society’s traditional definitions of ‘home’ and ‘family’ are challenged as they attempt to revise family therapy from a cultural perspective. The chapters in Part One of this book look at theoretical perspectives with the goal to revise family therapy from a contextual point of view. In this section, selected authors provide insight into topics such as: the history of family therapy, complexity of culture in terms of migration, and dimensions of class, as well as religion, spirituality, and race.  Read More…

INTERVENING IN ADOLESCENT PROBLEM BEHAVIOUR

As I am a systems-based family counsellor, the title of this book caught my interest immediately. The inside cover promises to present a “multilevel intervention and prevention program for at-risk youth and their families . . . grounded in over 15 years of important clinical and developmental research.” It also undertakes to serve a varied audience. In the preface, Dishion and Kavanagh suggest some readers “will seek out the nuts and bolts of treatment, whereas others will focus more on the science and the larger perspective of which interventions are most likely to be effective.  Read More…

HELPING THE NON-COMPLIANT CHILD

In this second edition of Helping the Noncompliant Child: Family Based Treatment for Oppositional Behavior, Rex L. Forehand and Robert J. McMahon have updated their initial treatment program based on information gathered from 30 years of research. Both authors are well-respected in the field of behavioural therapy. Forehand is most well known for his best selling book, Parenting the Strong Willed Child(McGraw-Hill, 1996). McMahon conducts an intervention program called Fast Track, which is concerned with the long-term prevention of conduct problems in young high-risk children. Both authors hold a PhD in Psychology and write extensively on the management of at-risk behaviour in children. With their combined experience and knowledge, Forehand and McMahon have enriched this new edition with extensive research on parent training best practice. Read More…

SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH CHILDREN

Social Work Practice with Children addresses both a theoretical framework for helping young children, as well as information about helping children in what are described as “special circumstances”. In addition to the theoretical information, case examples are used to illustrate the points, and reproducible forms are included, as are extensive lists of recommended materials.

The book is divided into four main sections: An Ecological-Developmental Framework for Helping Children; The Process of Helping Children; Different Methods of Helping Children; and Helping Children in Special Circumstances.  Read More…

CANADIAN SOCIAL POLICY

This third edition of Canadian Social Policy is edited by Anne Westhues, a professor of social work at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research covers not only policy-driven publications but also issue-focused topics. This is a solid indication of her strength to present an edited collection of this nature, one that presents theory as well as issue-driven content. Read More…

CULTURALLY COMPETENT PRACTICE WITH IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

The book is a collection of studies authored by 21 experts in the field of social work. It begins with a theoretical and philosophical overview of the impact that immigration has, both on the culture of families who immigrate and on the social fabric of the United States, being the host country. Fourteen immigrant groups are studied, in great detail. The history of each group’s migration to the U.S. is reviewed, followed by a discussion of specific challenges that result for children and families. Common challenges amongst all the groups include: poverty, discrimination, learning a new language, and obtaining housing, employment and schooling for children. Trauma is often associated with refugee experiences and/or illegal status.  Read More…

RAISING A MOODY CHILD

Raising a Moody Child was written to provide information, hope and guidance for parents in understanding the symptoms of different mood disorders so they can monitor what is going on with their child, decide when to seek professional evaluation, and stay alert to common diagnostic errors. Organized into 4 parts (Understanding Your Child’s Problems, Treatment, Helping Your Child Cope, and Helping Your Family Live with a Mood Disorder) and 14 chapters, this book is a relatively easy read thanks to the use of clear, simple language. The sections and chapters allow the reader to find the material easily and the use of subtitles, charts, lists and tables and a “question and answer” style draw the reader’s eye and attention. While the text is sprinkled with necessary professional jargon, it is rich with explanations and definitions. Of particular note is the frequent use of case studies and stories that bring the lives of children and youth to life and allow the audience to draw parallels between the cases described in the book and challenges in their own child’s life and the life of their family.  Read More…

STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S MENTAL HEALTH

This is a lengthy but informative introductory read intended for parents experiencing difficultywith their child. The book provides parents with a framework for determining if a psychological condition warrants pursuing professional help for their child. Major diagnostic categories used by psychological clinicians to categorize problematic psychological conditions are covered. The author walks the reader through traits of disruptive behaviour, moodiness, worry and anxiety, learning disabilities and abnormal development in children and youth. Varying diagnostic categories that fit into these domains are covered. As well, facts on the various disorders along with relevant medication treatment and psychological therapy are provided. Read More…