Book Reviews - Winter 2008
Feeling like crap: young people and the meaning of self-esteem - Nick Luxmoore
Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2008, SBN 978-1843106821 £13.99
This book is an invaluable resource for anyone working with adolescents and in particular, with those young people who feel they lack personal efficacy, those who, as the title declares, feel "like crap". Nick Luxmoore works with young people and has 30 years" experience in the field.
The core theoretical model behind this work is essentially psychodynamic and it provides a very effective tool for the practitioner in making sense of the challenges faced by disaffected young people. It draws a meaningful parallel between the unitary mirroring self of "mother and newborn infant", and the replication of this relationship later in life as the young person seeks the nurture and security of the "good-enough mother" in subsequent mother figures. These include people in uthority who have responsibility for the adolescents, and the organisations to which the young person belongs, including school and youth groups.
In "A Developing Self" (the first part of the book), the author shares valuable case material from sessions with individual adolescents. The story of
each youngster is presented and explained within a psychoanalytic framework. Having become familiar with the stories of these five students, the reader
is then given the opportunity to experience the way in which these somewhat disparate individuals come together in a structured group situation
where, in four sessions, we are able to observe the group dynamics and the way in which the author facilitates what, to me, represents some powerful
progress as the individuals begin to relate, reflect and rise to the challenges of group work.
In this group work, Luxmoore has the courage and willingness to share some of his own vulnerabilities, thus modelling generosity and trust in the group
that his sharing will be greeted with respect. In this way, the group replicates the "mother"s mirroring gaze" – the origins of the baby beginning to develop
a sense of self. Not only is the group leader a mirroring mother, but also, the mirroring of individual group members reflects back to each participant in ways that promote safety in the group and the consequent development of self-esteem.
"A Fragmented Self" (the rest of the book) was intensely moving and poignant. Nick Luxmoore draws on his experience with young people who are truly fragmented, in the sense that they are asylum seekers, some of whom are victims of torture, and all of whom have experienced significant loss. He relates their unique stories through the various sub-selves of the teenager and the impact of the external pressures and expectations placed upon the young person"s developing sense of "self".
I was particularly inspired by the author"s ability to use effective procedures that enable the fragmented child, particularly the asylum seekers, to rebuild their past, and I would value the opportunity to learn more of these methods in his work with these "adults before their time".
I was humbled by the author"s stories from his work with the asylum seekers, including victims and witnesses of torture. Judith Lewis Herman, in her seminal work Trauma and recovery (2001), identifies "denial" as the most common response to trauma; this is often the denial of the traumatised in their attempts to disavow the unspeakable, and sadly it is all too often the denial of society as it turns its gaze away from the victims of torture.
Here is one courageous man who doesn"t look the other way but rather stands by, supports and rebuilds the traumatised adolescent. His book is a potent resource for all who would work with young people.
Nonie Cohen MBACP (Accred) - www.mariposacounselling.co.uk
+ offers a psychodynamic perspective
+ excellent resource for this arena
Speaking about the unspeakable. Non-verbal methods and experiences in therapy with children - Dennis McCarthy (ed)
Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2008, ISBN 978-1843108795 £16.99
One of the greatest challenges in talking therapies must be when the client is unable to talk, or chooses not to. Speaking about the unspeakable is an inspirational book that introduces a treasure trove of creative techniques, and fascinating details of how a range of therapies have facilitated change in particular case studies.
The techniques include sand-tray therapy, play therapy, working with clay, dance and movement therapy, the use of the imagination, exploration of dreams and healing through nature. Each chapter covers one technique.
Two chapters particularly gripped me. Firstly, the sand-tray therapy, "The Hidden Treasure of the Self", which explores the symbolic and transformative nature of the therapy, focusing particularly on the significance of hidden treasure in integrating unconscious material with consciously held beliefs and feelings. Several case studies illuminate the wonderful and mysterious use of metaphor by children in the process of their work; one marked "treasures" with flags that designated certain treasures that should only be "opened by a professional"; and another using treasures to represent a time line of the child"s life, ending with a heart-shaped clock which the child revealed would represent her belief that time would heal.
I was also captivated by "The Secret Garden" – an account of how the treasures of nature and the features of a secret garden can provide deep enrichment and healing. This chapter provides both a literal and metaphoric breath of fresh air, and, having read it, I was left in no doubt as to how deeply therapeutic such a natural experience could be.
The great strength of the book was in presenting such a wealth of ideas, and by demonstrating so clearly the possibilities of these techniques through a number of case studies. The case studies really brought the theories to life, and provided insight into the process and progress of the children as a result of the work.
Due to the number of different ideas, the book was obviously unable to provide sufficient detail to instruct in any one method, but it is clear to me that the book was designed to provide tasters of techniques, so that readers can be inspired to seek out further reading in particular areas of interest, and I feel the book fulfilled this role extremely well.
I would highly recommend this book to all practitioners who work with children, since the exploration of the diverse ways of working with children is likely to inspire, broaden possibilities, and engender interest in further reading or training.
Erica Ruse - School counsellor
+ many non-verbal methods covered
+ case studies bring the theories to life
+ good material on the use of nature
– no room for instructions in techniques
Book Reviews - Summer 2008
The child in mind: a child protection handbook (3rd edition)
Judy Barker, Deborah Hodes Routledge 2007 ISBN 978-0415426022
This book conveys its information in working frameworks of assessment / analysis / treatment etc that are familiar to the clinical psychologist. It is the result of data This slim but thoroughly practical handbook offers 107 pages of detailed, up-to-date information on a broad range of child protection issues. Authors Judy Barker and Deborah Hodes draw on their own particular experience of working in the area of child health, but provide material that is applicable to everyone working with children. They acknowledge at the outset that "ensuring the safety and promoting the welfare of children who are at risk of harm is not an easy undertaking". Their response is "a guide on how to keep the focus on the child: how to keep the child in mind".
I found the whole book easily accessible and particularly liked the way its short chapters were clearly signposted by sub-headings and bullet points. With its comprehensive index, this is a textbook that is easy to "dip" into. There is also a helpful suggested reading list.
Chapter 1 begins with a useful overview of the national guidance for safeguarding children
– Working Together to Safeguard Children, and the government response to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry – Every Child Matters. The rest of the chapter outlines responsibilities and procedures that although written from a healthcare perspective nevertheless apply to those working with children in other fields.
Further chapters include:
- Partnership, collaboration and cooperation
- Assessment of risk
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Failure to thrive
- Abuse of children with disabilities
- Parental non-engagement
- The child protection conference
- The legal framework
Appendix 1: The Common Assessment Framework
Appendix 2: The paediatric assessment from a series of annual conferences (from 1999) and additional meetings emerging from a featured symposium set up by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Seattle, Washington, on the clinical applications of attachment theory, and focuses on "bridging the gap" between attachment research and clinical application.
I would particularly recommend chapter 11 for any practitioners anticipating their first child
protection conference. The chapter clearly outlines various aspects of the conference from
initial assessment of the child"s needs through the purpose and process of the conference to preparation of conference reports.
This book lays out procedures clearly and concisely, and is packed full of essential information and advice on how to safeguard the children we work with. Some of the material will be already familiar to anyone who has undergone child protection training, and inevitably in this rapidly changing area some information may be soon out of date. But I would recommend this book to new counsellors as an accessible introduction; to more experienced counsellors as a great refresher; and to both as a handy reference resource.
+ concise, clearly signposted
The adult is parent to the child: transactional analysis with children and young people
Keith Tudor (ed), Russell House Publishing 2008, ISBN 978-1905541171
This is an excellent resource book, which is accessible to a wide audience, due to the clear,
up-to-date introduction to the basic concepts of transactional analysis (TA) found at the
beginning of the book. The book is aimed at a wide audience including those working within
education settings as well as counsellors and therapists.
The book is split into three broad sections. The first section, entitled "There"s no such thing as a child: children and young people in context", is particularly helpful in identifying the need to take account of and engage with a child"s environment and context when undertaking therapy with them.
Mica Douglas and Keith Tudor provide a helpful and clear summary of how child protection needs to underpin counselling and therapy with children and young people. They specifically look at how the philosophy, values and principles of TA can enable such a model of working. Also within this section, Pete Shotton has written what I thought was an excellent chapter on "Working with young Muslim men in a post 9/11 world", in which he
thinks about the young person within the context of both their educational environment and their wider cultural community.
Section two provides very practical and accessible examples of how the contributors have
used TA in individual counselling or therapy sessions with children and young people. Different contributors discuss: the first meeting, working with adolescents, working with parents and the training that is required to become a child psychotherapist. I found this section to be a goldmine of ideas and ways of working with children and young people, which was supported by clear, theoretical concepts. In particular, I found the chapter by Dolores Munari Poda to be a very powerful account of the therapist"s first encounter with a young child. Her belief that "the paths that lead to a child, apart from words, may well prove to be the most unpredictable and the most deeply coloured, the roughest and the least codified" is demonstrated within her accounts of several first meetings with young children. Poda"s commentary about her thought processes during these sessions enables the reader to clearly see the ways in which she uses TA in her work with very young children.
The final section focuses on theory and research and is perhaps of less practical application than the previous two sections. Some of the chapters in this section also require more than a basic knowledge of TA in order for the reader to fully engage with the material. Despite this, even the most complex of chapters still provided nuggets of insight into the practical applications of TA when working with children and young people.
In particular, I found Paul Kellett"s reflective account of therapy with a young man called
Jay quite thought provoking. In this chapter, Kellett uses his work with Jay to explore ideas
about the relational perspective within TA, which he describes as a relatively new theory. Kellett suggests how the relational perspective and a search for meaning, by both therapist and client, can facilitate the therapeutic process.
I found this book to be at times inspirational. I think that it is a unique and much-needed
resource, which I believe counsellors and therapists who are engaged in the task of meeting children and young people within their contexts will find invaluable.
Counsellor and supervisor
+ a goldmine of ideas
+ offers basic introduction to TA
+ includes a relational perspective
– final section may require more TA knowledge
Mental health interventions and services for vulnerable children and young people
Panos Vostanis (ed), Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2007, ISBN 978-1843104896
This book is very easy to read, educational and absorbing. Its purpose is to "stimulate an interest in improving practice and services for needy young people".
It is split into three parts. Part 1 has chapters around Evidence, Policy and Legislation; Part 2 focuses on Interventions for Vulnerable Children and Young People, and the final part contains chapters on Applying Therapeutic Principles to Different Contexts.
The book aims to inform the reader about current good-practice therapeutic interventions
for children and young people, taking into account diversity of needs, and to raise awareness that future policies for professionals working with vulnerable young people need to be underpinned by growing evidence-based research.
For me, it certainly achieved its objectives and raised many questions in me that relate to my work as a secondary school-based person-centred counsellor. I found myself learning about the types of services that are currently in place and the types of services that are needed. The book contains facts and figures, and these are an important part of the material, but I find numbers hard to assimilate and I tend to skim through them, noting their importance. I found the case vignettes a much more useful tool that I was able to apply to my work as a counsellor with young people.
The diversity of children and young people"s needs is covered extensively. There are chapters on interventions for: foster carers and adoptive parents, working individually, systemic working, CBT with young offenders, refugee and asylum seeking children and families, homeless families and young people, families who are victims of domestic violence, children with intellectual disabilities, children with physical illness, children
of alcohol- or drug-dependent parents. I found this section of the book particularly useful in my work, raising my awareness and questions about how I can enhance the service I provide now and in the future.
An important message of the book is that all children are individuals, and in order to meet
their sometimes complex mental health needs they must be treated on this basis, and that
interventions must take into account the sometimes complex issues of diversity and at
the same time how important it is to respect the client"s autonomy. The book shows there
may never be one single formula of therapeutic intervention and we need to be aware of this when implementing policies.
The last section of the book is given over to examining American perspectives on
interventions for vulnerable and underserved youth, and service models and policies in
European countries. For me, it makes interesting reading but I found myself much more interested in what is happening in my own area.
This book is a thought-provoking resource. My only unease is at how some of the interventions that are used in the book appeared to work so smoothly and successfully. My experience is that trying to provide an appropriate intervention is often thwarted, as services that are needed are simply not there due to lack of funding. Of course, that shouldn"t and won"t stop us from continuing to raise awareness with whoever holds the purse strings in order that the needs of children are met.
A major point from this book which I strongly advocate is that evidence-based research will be the basis of future policy making and that prevention is the best way forward all round.
Person-centred school counsellor
+ focuses on good practice and evidence base
+ covers wide range of needs
+ advocates for individualised interventions
– ignores funding problems
Handbook of cognitive behavior group therapy with children and adolescents
Ray Christner, Jessica Stewart, Arthur Freeman, Routledge 2007, ISBN 978-0415952545
The aim of this book is to provide a comprehensive resource that outlines the application of CBT group work with adolescents and children. In my opinion, this weighty text achieves this aim.
The book is divided into three sections: The first explores group therapy essentials, the second looks at setting-specific issues, while the final section explores specific presenting problems. The Specific Settings section covers working in schools, outpatient and inpatient settings, as well as residential and medical milieux. The Presenting Problem section covers common issues such as depression, anxiety, substance use and aggression but also includes some specialised topics such as work with young people with a diagnosis
of ADHD and Asperger disorders, young people who are effected by divorce and young people affected by chronic illness.
Arguably, the choice to lay out the book in this way highlights the difference engendered by specific settings and presenting problems rather than the commonality. However, having such a methodical layout does makes the book accessible to those who would rather dip in and out than read from cover to cover. For example, someone who worked with bullied children in schools may choose to combine the chapter on working in school settings with the chapter on working with children who are socially isolated or ostracised.
I found the third part, which explores presenting problems, to be of most practical use.
Each chapter begins with an overview of the problem, examines the research assessment tools, moves on to CBT conceptualisation and group treatment protocol, before summing up with case examples and an exploration of potential obstacles. I found the case examples and practical protocols very interesting and useful. The practical protocols in particular manage to bridge the gap between CBT theory and its application, which is particularly important when working with children and young people. The book is varied in style, featuring 42 contributors over its 27 chapters. The dominant tone is that of an academic text with a few notable exceptions. The one that stood out for me was a chapter written
about group work with young people who use substances. The practitioner marries a CBT
approach with Art Therapy and the chapter is innovative and fresh. As working with young
people is energising and challenging, it was good to see this reflected in the tone of the chapter.
The handbook is aimed at all professionals working with children and young people.
However, I feel it is most suitable for people who have a good basic grasp of the CBT model
rather than functioning as an introductory text.
A counsellor with groupwork experience but limited CBT experience would perhaps need to
do some initial reading, as the handbook is, in my opinion, more of an advanced text. I found the academic tone of the text a little disengaging in places – it certainly required stamina to read the book cover to cover. The text"s therapeutic orientation is mainly a cognitive-behavioural approach but some other approaches such as Gestalt and person centred are mentioned.
However, exploration of the integration is limited. The book is an excellent choice for those
looking for a review of research about CBT and a specific setting or issue. Its strengths are the range of presenting problems it explores and the depth of knowledge it covers. It also acts as a good signposting text, as it references a wealth of practitioner and theoretical papers.
Although it was sometimes a challenging text to complete, the effort often paid off.
+ range of presenting problems
+ detailed practical applications
+ wealth of references
– challenging to read
– good grasp of CBT needed
Book Reviews - Summer 2008
Attachment theory in clinical work with children: bridging the gap between research and practice
David Oppenheim, Douglas F Goldsmith (eds), Guilford Press 2007
This book conveys its information in working frameworks of assessment/analysis/treatment etc that are familiar to the clinical psychologist. It is the result of data disseminated from a
series of annual conferences (from 1999) and additional meetings emerging from a featured symposium set up by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Seattle, Washington, on the clinical applications of attachment theory, and focuses on "bridging the gap" between attachment research and clinical application.
It feels important to point out that this book assumes a familiarity by the reader with the basic concepts of attachment and does not contain an overview of the theory of attachment – although the in-depth case study material provides a wealth of insight into the attachment processes and how they interfere with personal construct.
As outlined in the preface, "each chapter lays out original ideas, concepts, and methods that represent the state of the art in attachment research" and "the authors describe not only the implications of the research for clinical work but also, using clinical case material, how the attachment perspective is actually applied". "In other words, the reader is escorted across the science-practice divide by experienced guides familiar with both territories." This, for me, is one of the book"s real strengths as it provides a golden opportunity for the practitioner working in the family therapy related field to access wellresearched experience and practice to inform clinical application as appropriate. The book has two main sections:
Part I, "Clinical use of attachment research assessments", contains chapters such as "Constructing a relationship formulation for mother and child" and "The inner world of the child: using the Insightful Assessment with mothers in a therapeutic preschool".
Part II of the book focuses on "Attachment theory and psychology" and includes material on attachment and trauma (including family violence), "Challenging children"s negative internal working models", and a detailed account of "The Circle of Security project"
(an early intervention programme for "at risk" parents and their young children) including an interesting working model for the practitioner using "Core sensitivities" (separation sensitive, esteem sensitive and safety sensitive).
There is a particularly useful section "Keeping the inner world of the child in mind" that may appeal to a wide range of professionals/therapists in which the importance of maternal insightfulness, gained from the parent by the use of the "Insightful Assessment", is demonstrated using case study material. It shows the value of the material gathered
using this method to determine the parent"s view of the child"s inner world. From this can be formed an appropriate intervention and a fostering of an understanding in the parent of underlying motives for the behaviour of the child and self.
I guess that many therapists attend attachmentrelated training courses/workshops with some hope of realising a method of beginning to address the attachment aspects when confronted with clients" relationship difficulties. The content of this book goes beyond adding to the knowledge base; it gives the opportunity for the reader to be the observer of
attachment processes in the clinical setting and a rare insight into the workings of attachment in carer/child interrelationships in action. From this perspective, it engenders awareness in the practitioner of the importance of mindfulness of attachment and its influences on behaviour, language (both verbal and non-verbal) and transference when working with clients. The authors describe the insertion of attachment theory into
their work as a "transformation" in clinical outcome.
As I began reading, I found myself increasingly engaged and immersed in the material of this book and full of admiration for the quality and quantity of work required for its production. As a result, I have an increased clarity in what is a complex area of psychology. I will be guided by the authors" reminder of the usefulness in casework of integrating the
attachment theory into my work with clients, and attempt to "speak to the experience of the inner world of the child" as they struggle with emotional difficulties and relational barriers rooted in their past and present relationship issues.
I see this book as a valuable guide and insight into clinical work for professionals working with families, especially the clinical psychologist/therapist, as it does offer (as claimed) a bridge between research and practice, providing the means and methods for application.
For the researcher, this book could be immensely valuable not only as a resource to draw
upon but also for providing impetus for further observation and investigation.
Gwen Proud is a counsellor working with young people with the Durham Schools" Counselling Service as well as young people and adults in primary care.
+ excellent bridging of research and practice
+ integrates attachment work for family therapists
+ lets reader observe the theory in practice
Choosing to heal: using Reality Therapy in the treatment of sexually abused children
Laura Ellsworth, Routledge 2007
ISBN 978-0415956147 £21.95
This is a well-researched, comprehensive, informative and eminently practical book for any adults concerned with the support of children who have been sexually abused, be they parents, carers, teachers, therapists, case managers, youth workers, CAFCASS or child
Its therapeutic dimension is based on a synthesis of William Glasser"s Reality Therapy and choice Therapy, and is adaptable to both individual and group settings.
Its fundamental premise recognises the child"s needs for survival, love, belonging, power, freedom and fun, and the fulsome appendix of practical activities, self-help inventories, awareness and esteem-raising tools are designed to help the child work their way
through Glasser"s "needs hierarchy", thus enabling them to replace maladaptive coping strategies with life choices that are both self-enhancing and pro-social.
Glasser encourages a therapeutic relationship rooted in his "Seven Caring Habits" of supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting and negotiating
differences, which aim to replace the "Seven Deadly Habits" of criticising, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, bribing or rewarding and control, which are at best unhelpful, and at worst extremely damaging. Sadly, they are all too familiar in
the lives of many abused children. The caring habits foster a therapeutic alliance akin to the Rogerian relationship, and this relationship, in my experience, is fundamental to the child"s healing.
The book presents a wealth of valuable case material, including extracts of client-therapist dialogue, that provides useful insight into the world of the abused child and the challenges they face in the aftermath and throughout their healing. The effects of abuse and typical
indicators of abuse are identified, as are the factors that could either facilitate or block the healing process.
Essentially, this approach encourages informed and considered choices that are client-generated rather than therapist-imposed. For the clients, these methods can be enabling, encouraging and empowering, resulting in a sense of personal autonomy and authenticity,
belonging, wellbeing and positive personal power. I recommend that anyone who opens this book should leaf through to page 80 for one of the most compelling rationales I have read against the enduring dangers of the pathologising, labelling and drugging of children whose understandable reactive behaviours in the wake of childhood sexual abuse are subsequently labelled as, for example, bipolar, ADHD etc. This provides the child and their significant others with a label that is effectively an excuse to stay stuck, and an obstacle for
the child/adolescent from realising their own potential.
While I recognise the value of exercises that are designed to help youngsters in the here and now selfevaluate and make choices for a more highly functioning future, I feel this book misses the opportunity to maximise on the right-brain tools available to clients
(of any age) which are located in the imaginal world of the individual"s past. Natalie Rogers" Creative-Expressive Person-Centred Therapy provides a way of enabling clients to use their own symbols, through art and play materials, which represent the feelings associated with early (and not-so-early) trauma, and functionally, these are also the playroom tools which
enable children to process their feelings and their experiences. Likewise, David Grove (Metaphor Therapy) and Lawley and Tompkins (Metaphor and Gestalt synthesis) work with the right-brain imagery which often represents early right-brain experiences and feelings. I value all the useful therapeutic exercises offered by this author, and I feel there is a strong
case for developing more of a left-brain, right-brain balance in the helping relationship.
Without any knowledge of the philosophies or theories which drive problem-solving, decision-making paradigms, infants as young as three years, intuitively know how to heal themselves using the symbolism of the creative and play materials in the playroom.
They respond positively to right-brain experiences with symbolic right-brain materials when supported in a safe and trusting relationship by therapists who genuinely communicate the Rogerian core conditions or Glasser"s caring habits.
This book shares useful strategies for children of an age where they have the mental capacity to engage in decision-making and future planning. It does not, however, sufficiently cater to the needs of the underfives. It recognises the need for parents/carers to be involved, but doesn"t emphasise the holistic benefits of filial therapy based on a non-directive, child-centred play therapy model.
Nonie Cohen MA (Guidance and Counselling) Dunelm; MBACP (Accred); working therapeutically with adults and children
+ compelling rationale for not pathologising
+ encourages informed choices
+ wealth of case material
– light on right-brain tools for processing
– under-fives not catered for
Autism and loss
Rachel Forrester-Jones, Sarah Broadhurst - Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2007
ISBN 978-1843104339 £29.99
This book is a collection of information, practical exercises and worksheets offering
guidance to carers and professionals supporting people on the autistic spectrum who are suffering from loss. This is a valuable resource, since due to the difficulties experienced
by those on the autistic spectrum, in terms of linking cause and effect, and understanding
and expressing their emotions, this can be a particularly frightening experience.
The resource book has a clear format that makes it particularly accessible and easy to find relevant sections. Each chapter explores a particular experience of loss, for example "Loss of social relationships", and comprises a theoretical section on issues and difficulties for those
on the autistic spectrum within this area, followed by a practical, photocopiable worksheet designed to be worked through with the troubled individual.
Each worksheet is carefully structured, preceded by aims and objectives of the session, together with useful practical ideas for visual props, photographs, videos etc, which are so helpful to the understanding of those on the autistic spectrum.
A great strength of the book is the breadth of losses explored; losses of social relationships, home and possessions, role and identity, health and wellbeing, and loss through death. Consideration of these losses could be thought-provoking enough with a neuro-typical individual, but the range would be particularly useful when working with individuals
on the autistic spectrum, where difficulties in perception may lead to wider confusion.
Another strength of the book is the clarity and repetition of its format, which promotes a sense that a relevant section can be found and dipped into, and used almost immediately, without having to become accustomed to the content of the whole book. The regular use of headings also makes the content very clear to read and absorb.
There is also extensive and detailed use of symbols to maximise the vital use of visual cues in aiding understanding within the worksheets. I particularly liked the inclusion of clear diagrams designed to be completed, such as a social network wheel, and display sheets, which would guide the helpers ability to "warm the context" for the individual, therefore increasing the effectiveness of the worksheets.
I feel Autism and loss would be very useful to practitioners, especially those beginning to work with individuals on the autistic spectrum, as it is very informative in a specialist area, and the worksheet elements provide a structure for the work. Each chapter does cover in detail the issues and areas of difficulty that individuals on the autistic spectrum are likely to encounter in each area of loss, but from my perspective as a counsellor, I would have liked to see a little more detail on how to help the individual with their loss in the longer term. This is covered, but in less detail.
Carers are the intended audience for this workbook, for whom Autism and loss would
be a highly suitable and helpful resource. The resource states that it is suitable for use with
adults and children, but it might be most suitable for children from the top of the primary school upwards, due to some complex vocabulary and complexity of symbols in the worksheets.
I feel that it would be very useful for any adults working closely with older children and adults, as it forms a comprehensive background to loss and the autistic spectrum, which could be valuable to any professional.
Erica Ruse, Counsellor and teacher
+ well structured, clear, informative
+ good worksheet material
+ wide coverage of loss
– less detailed on long-term help
– less useful for under-11s
Treating bulimia in adolescents: a family-based approach
Daniel le Grange, James Lock - Guilford Press 2007
ISBN 978-1593854140 £24
I can quite clearly remember – when I was working as a teacher – the collective groan in the staffroom as the approach of OFSTED was announced. Off we all scurried to dust off our lesson plans and schemes of work. For months at a time, we would teach with ideas at the back of our minds formulated from these schemes. Secretly, I was always pleased to have the opportunity to revalue my ideas and restructure my teaching once again.
This book, or "manual", as it is called by the authors, is akin to such a scheme of work, with all its prescriptive stages of treatment as its lesson plans. Not that lesson plans ever went according to plan, but they provided an anchor, a space to think about the content, aims and objectives of what I was trying to achieve, and this is where the value of this book lies. In it, the two authors have researched all the nuances of bulimia nervosa (BN) in adolescents and devised a comprehensive plan of action to "combat" the illness, which any psychiatrist or psychotherapist working in a clinical setting could rely on to guide them. They could then revise it and adapt it to their needs so that it wouldn"t remain static in the
event of new light being thrown on the illness, or new ideas emerging.
The main symptoms of BN are described as bingeing and vomiting. The authors speak mainly about females, based on the premise that eating disorders are most prevalent in girls. Although they acknowledge that boys may suffer too, by referring to disturbances of the menstrual cycle and peer pressure among girls, I feel that boys are somewhat bypassed. This could promote vigilance of girls rather than boys, who may be even
more secretive and ashamed of such behaviour and thereby go unnoticed if their weight remains unchanged.
Yet, since they emphasise that comorbid psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety often manifest themselves alongside the symptoms of BN, this should prompt the reader to remain alert to its possibility in all adolescents regardless of gender.
In my view, the most impressive aspect of the described treatment of BN is the involvement of the young person"s family. The authors, rather than dwelling on any damaging effect the parents may have had on the adolescent, focus on the positive influence they can have by investing trust in them and valuing their rightful status in the family.
Empowerment of the parent is shown to be in the best interest of the adolescent. As lines of communication open up, the client gradually recovers. Another key point is that the therapist does not attempt to replace the parent. In the past, I have found this a seductive trap, but the view taken by the authors is that this assumption may inhibit the therapeutic process rather than enhance it. Treatment also includes the cooperation of siblings and the wider family, as well as other professionals, such as doctors and dieticians. There are logs
and charts to be filled in, recording progress or lack of it.
As a school counsellor, the plan in this book is rather outside my remit. Yet, I recommend it to any mental health worker who treats young people, as it is an interesting read that acts as a focal point for further thought about this serious illness.
Judith Sonnenberg, School counsellor, teacher
+ reliable guide/plan of action
+ majors on positive family involvement
+ logs and charts to track progress
– slightly worrying "girl" emphasis
Book reviews – Spring 2004
Exploring Children"s Rights: A participative exercise to introduce the issues around children"s rights in England and Wales by Peter Jenkins
£75, ISBN 1841961108
Working with young people – a trainer"s guide and resource pack by Josie Melia and Marilyn McGowan
Trust for the Study of Adolescence, 2002
£56, ISBN 1871504430
Listening in colour. Creating a meeting place with young people
An interactive resource for counsellors and trainers.
by Sue Lee, Foluke Taylor Muhammad, Robert Downes.
Trust for the Study of Adolescence and Youth Access, 2002
£45, ISBN 1871504449
Book reviews – Summer 2004
Counselling Young People: Person-Centred Dialogues by Richard Bryant-Jefferies
Radcliffe Medical Press, 2004
£19.95, ISBN 1857758781
Book reviews – Autumn 2004
Helping Your Teenager Beat Depression by Katharina Manassis, Anne Marie Levac
Woodbine House, 2004
£19.95, ISBN 1890627496
Counselling Adolescents (2nd ed) by Kathryn Geldard, David Geldard
Sage Publications, 2004
£ 18.99, ISBN 1412902355
Hidden Self-Harm by Maggie Turp
Jessica Kingsley, 2003
£ 16.95, ISBN 1853029017
Research on counselling children and young people: a systematic scoping search by Belinda Harris, Sue Harrison
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, 2004
£12 (BACP members); £18 (non-members)