Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

Book Forum: CHILD PSYCHIATRY   |    
Treatment of Childhood Disorders, 2nd ed.
Am J Psychiatry 2001;158:978-a-979. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.6.978-a
View Author and Article Information
Davenport, Iowa

Edited by Eric J. Mash and Russell A. Barkley. New York, Guilford Publications, 1998, 771 pp., $69.95.

text A A A

Sir Isaac Newton once said, "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." The same can be said of how I felt when I finally put this volume down: it seemed like a sense of vipassana, that Buddhist term for a remarkable clarity of vision. I got there by standing atop a solid pyramid of the broad shoulders of the 26 authors who contributed to this truly awe-inspiring book. Dennis Cantwell (1939–1997), to whom this volume is dedicated, was a titan in the field of psychiatry. I can hear his Homeric laughter of approval echo through my study as I write this review.

There are six sections and 14 chapters in this compendium. They cover behavior disorders, children at risk, and problems of adolescence. Teachers, from preschool onward, who are open to this book can learn quite a lot in terms of helping all humans through all life stages, including themselves.

This book addresses such fundamental issues as the evolution and the modifiers of children’s cognition. Issues like bullying, fire-setting, and abuse are tied in with learning processes, thus always bringing us back to the simplest question: how do all these affect one another? The result is a categorical imperative-interconnectedness viewpoint that forces us always to consider that no event exists in isolation, that what we think, what we say, and what we do ultimately affect our universe.

When I shared this book with a behavioral development teacher and with a patient who works in a residential program for wayward children, the impact was immediate for these two women. They both told me that it forced them to ask their co-workers to reexamine their "institutional" views of difficult children.

What to me was quite effective was the overall attitude of the authors, which, basically, is that the pessimism resulting from the concepts that problems are overdetermined and that solutions seem less effective than advertised can be countered by compelling facts that point out what is effective. To prove this point in my practice, I asked each of my patients to randomly choose a very disturbing behavior problem shown by a loved one and by themselves. Then I summarized pages of suggestions from the section on Problems of Adolescence and the section on Behavior Disorders and asked them to apply these suggestions to the targeted problems. The consensus was quite overwhelming: the techniques work, even when dealing with "adult" problems like marital conflict and job burnout.

What so many of us battle-weary "foot soldiers" need is to be able to retreat to an emotional redoubt to reassess what has become redoubtable in our lives. Such a retreat has to involve going to a safe place where you can regroup, do an inventory of your losses and your gains, reevaluate the trends, and recharge your enthusiasms, so you can charge back into the fray once again. This book helps us do just that.




CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe

Related Content
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry, 5th Edition > Chapter 21.  >
Dulcan's Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry > Chapter 5.  >
Dulcan's Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry > Chapter 6.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychopharmacology, 4th Edition > Chapter 52.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychopharmacology, 4th Edition > Chapter 52.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News