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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D. (Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book explains how child-parent psychotherapy (CPP), an evidence-based treatment for children from birth through five, can help in repairing primary attachment difficulties. This theoretical approach uses parents/guardians to be agents of change in order to enhance their child's healthy development.
Purpose: According to the authors, this book "describes child-parent psychotherapy (CPP), a relationship based approach to treatment for children ages birth through 5 when their parent's failure to protect them has derailed their mental health."
Audience: The target audience includes "clinicians with a wide range of experience, from seasoned practitioners to graduate students and interns in psychology and social work and residents in psychiatry." Dr. Lieberman and Dr. Van Horn both teach and practice at University of California San Francisco and the Child Trauma Research Project at San Francisco General Hospital.
Features: Covering the theoretical underpinnings and clinical application of CPP, the book presents an overview of CPP and the impact of stressors on brain development of young children. The authors then discuss assessment and treatment goals. Finally, the application in specific clinical cases is demonstrated and explained. This book does a very nice job of explaining the strategy. For example, in the chapter on the assessment process, the authors walk readers through diagnosis, case formulation, treatment goals, and providing feedback to parents. This chapter also includes brief case examples and a longer clinical example which illustrates the material in a step-by-step approach. The intervention chapters, which combine attachment and other psychodynamic approaches, describe early developmental issues and use brief case examples along with much more extensive clinical case material. I was impressed with the chapter on variations in child-parent psychotherapy because the authors admit that modifications to this approach are sometimes necessary based on conditions. The book ends with how the treatment is integrated with child protective services and the foster system.
Assessment: This book does a nice job of translating theory into practice. Reading these clinical vignettes and seeing the material illustrated is like taking a master's class. This treatment approach is appealing because parents are an integral part of it. Interventions that center on infants and young children are needed so that the most vulnerable members of society will be able to grow psychologically and live productive and satisfying lives.