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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book describes child development from prenatal genesis through middle childhood/preadolescence. As a practitioner's guide, it includes clinical suggestions in terms of assessment and intervention at each developmental level. Attachment theory and brain development are also discussed, along with risk and protective factors.
Purpose: According to the author, "this book describes child development and how it can be applied to practice with children." Dr. Davies continues: "My aim throughout is to demonstrate how to think developmentally in practice with children and their parents." According to the series editor, Dr. Webb, this book "covers children's growth and development from birth through preadolescence and provides alternating chapters on normal development and detailed cases examples illustrating practice with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children." She adds: "This completely revised and updated edition is grounded in attachment theory as the foundation for the child's ongoing and future relationships." The book meets these worthy objectives.
Audience: The intended audience is beginning practitioners, according to the author, but graduate students in clinical psychology and social work would also benefit tremendously from this book. Dr. Davies is Clinical/Practice Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Michigan, and is an infant mental health specialist who has published articles on intervention with children and families.
Features: The book is divided into two parts: Contexts of Development and Course of Development. It covers child development from infancy to middle childhood, using attachment theory as a framework for understanding child behavior. There are informative chapters on brain development (chapter 2) and risk and protective factors (chapters 3 and 4). Dr. Davies provides many helpful clinical examples. Chapters in Part II cover how development unfolds in each important childhood level, followed by chapters emphasizing practice issues, namely assessment and treatment. There are specific exercises that a practitioner can use in clinical work. The chapters in Part I include summaries at the end which highlight the most important material. The book is well written and easy to digest.
Assessment: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is well written and includes everything you would expect. In addition, it includes clinical exercises at each developmental level which you can use with child clients. The case material is extremely helpful. Dr. Davies uses attachment theory in order to understand the context of development, which adds valuable foundation to the material. He emphasizes the importance of seeing development as a transaction between biological processes and social interaction. The second edition justifies replacing the previous edition because of new research and the ongoing clinical experience of the author.