The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook Child Psychiatrist's Notebook--What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing

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A world-renowned child psychiatrist takes us inside his pioneering work with trauma victims to offer a groundbreaking new perspective on how stress and violence affect children's brains--and how they can be helped to heal.

Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses, children raised in closets and cages, and victims of family violence. Here he tells their stories of trauma and transformation.

Customer Reviews:

  • Brilliant and heartening
    Assisted by a talented science writer, child psychiatrist Bruce Perry presents a series of heartbreaking stories of children severely damaged by trauma. But that's only one side of this remarkable book. The other side is how many of these profoundly damaged children were assisted to heal.

    Perry explains his "neurosequential" approach that sequentially targets brain regions left undeveloped by abuse or neglect. He presents compelling cases to illustrate how the child's age at the time of the abuse or neglect will determine the gaps in neurological development and how his interventions sequentially target those developmental gaps. For children whose brains were stalled out in infancy, for example, therapy may start with healing touch or rhythm before moving on to higher brain activities.

    The focus, always, is on the child's humanity. Perry explains the importance of listening and letting the child set the pace. He warns of the damage caused by well-intentioned but poorly trained therapists who push children to open up, or who administer punitive interventions in the guise of treatment. Healing is not about a specific technique administered in cookbook fashion but, rather, about love, and restoring shattered human connections.

    This is an enlightening and heartening book and a real page-turner to boot. The neurological underpinnings of the trauma theory are presented in clear English accessible to anyone who can read. If you're a mental health professional, psychologist, or psychiatrist, you'll love this book. If you're a parent or a teacher, it's also for you. Whoever you are, it's for you. I guarantee you will be engaged and inspired....more info
  • Interesting, useful for the layman too.
    I have enjoyed reading this book, it is well writen and raises issues which I am sure trouble all who are concerned with the welfare of infants and children. In addition I think that any layman reading it must also hear the message that we abuse and neglect our children at our own peril, as criminality begins, by and large, in early life....more info
  • excellent book
    I was very impressed with this book. We are raising an adopted boy from Romania, and have had some considerable challenges along the way. This book illuminates the crucial understanding of how we get lost in power struggles, as our own personal issues get projected onto our son, due to his underlying stress. This book has greatly helped us in understanding his inner world. This has changed our relationship in a number of positive ways. I highly recommend this book....more info
  • Brilliant and human
    This is a powerful and insightful book. The patient stories are genuine and heart-wrenching, and the lessons about the human brain and its development ring true and offer refreshing and valuable perspectives on how the mind works. Dr. Perry shows, with a lucid honesty that belies any crass self-promotion, his therapeutic mastery. At the same time, the prose flows smoothly and I found myself easily drawn in to the very personal stories of these troubled children. In many cases I felt a palpable relief at the happy endings, in which a few basic insights into the core psychological issues led to a beneficial and effective course of therapy. I only wish the book was longer -- I devoured it quickly and could have happily read many more chapters! My only question now is who to lend it to first......more info
  • Moving and insightful
    I am a therapist who works with families and children who have suffered trauma. I found this book to be incredibly moving, inspiring and insightful. I particularly recommend this book to parents who are thinking about adopting an older child (non-infant), and professionals who work with traumatized children. While some of these types of books are downers, and there certainly are some sad stories involved, this book is really about hope. Dr. Perry outlines what these children need to do well, what parents and professionals can do to help, and where they often fall short. He really helps us understand exactly how trauma affects children and how it stunts or delays their emotional development. Again, these children have hope. They are not doomed to become criminals and abusers. We need to start listening to people like Bruce Perry if we want to help them heal while they still have a chance. ...more info
  • Well written, easy to understand
    I work in the child abuse field and I also adopted a traumatized child. This book provides honest and practical information about working with and living with a child who has been traumatized. The author maintained a sense of humor and encourages this in anyone reading the book. Some of the stories were incredibly sad. Many were filled with terror and loss of hope. However, in almost every situation, he was able to find hope for the child where none had been before.
    I have shared this book with others at my place of work. The overwhelming review has been the same from all. Well done, must read for anyone in the field or thinking of becoming a foster parent or adoptive parent for a severely traumatized child....more info
  • A must read
    This is an insightful book for anyone working with youth. You do not need to be a mental health therapist to benefit from the contents as there are so many traumatized kids out there they are everywhere. Anyone working with kids has one in their reach.

    It is amazing how children are written off as not impacted by traumatic events. What are we thinking?? Guess it is easier on us adults to believe this fallacy.

    Read the book. You will be upset, but not sorry you took the time. You will look at children with a new perspective....more info
  • Very Good book
    Initially when I ordered this book, I thought the whole book about a boy raised by dogs. I soon found out it was the experiences of a beloved shrink who deals with troubled, very troubled children and how he helped them. It can be somewhat depressing to read, but nevertheless is very compelling. Makes you realize how easily children can be damaged by poor or cruel parenting. ...more info
  • A must read
    I read this book in a day. For anyone involved in the social services, or even just interested in psychology--it is a must read that truly touches your heart and makes you appreciate the power of children even more. ...more info
  • Very exciting
    I have told numerous people about this book already. It is a great book with insight into what is necessary to be human in this mixed-up world. It is a sign of hope and offers an incredible new way of thinking about children, their environment and their brain. Dr. Perry has developed a new therapy "Neurosequential Model (NMT)" that offers a challenge to the traditional modes of therapy used by social workers, psychologists, etc. Taking both the environment AND the brain (nature and nurture) into consideration, he explains how he has attempted to re-train the brains of children who have faced severe trauma - with amazing results. He reminds us that change IS possible and that your history does not necessarily have to be your future! In the beginning, the book is a bit heavy on the science side of things (in order to give an intro to how the brain works) -which was a turn-off for me. However, after reading a few chapters it is easy to understand why the beginning heaviness is necessary to understand the rest of the book. This is an exciting time to be watching the field of trauma. Dr. Perry's work is revolutionary and the time has come for us to rethink how we treat trauma and other 'diagnosable' issues.
    I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and I really could understand how the treatments in this book (and Dr. Perry's therapy) could work on children with all types of diagnoses - not just trauma. Once we start thinking about how the brain is involved with various diagnoses and how to treat THAT, the possibilities seem almost endless... I just wish I could learn more about it and make it available to the clients I am working with in rural Alaska! Even if you are not in this field, this book is important and a great educator on 'what makes us the way we are' and how to think about changing that....more info
  • The Boy Who Was Raised as aDog
    Bruce Perry, author of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, is truly an emotionally intelligent man! In his book he shows the depth of his empathy and invaluable connection with traumatised children.

    Perry combines his knowledge of how the brain works with an intrinsic heart felt warmth. When finding which link was not connected in the brain of a very young traumatised baby/child, he draws on the strengths of genuine community love to nutritiously feed the heart, brain and soul of that child.

    His holistic approach is a refreshing change from stories of medical intervention which address the physical need of the body only.
    Parenting for a Peaceful World...more info
  • Understanding young minds
    This book is quite informative about children exposed to or the subject of trauma and abuse and how it affects their brains and their behavior. It is written so the lay person can understand what the author is conveying. It has been compelling reading for me. It makes one very mindful of the importance of protecting children from seeing or experiencing violence, abuse, and/or trauma. ...more info
  • Every parent should read this book
    Anyone working with traumatized and abused children will gain insight and knowledge in parenting in a positive way. Dr Bruce Perry is a pioneer in the child psychiatry field of the link between early childhood nurturing (or lack of) experiences and brain development. As a foster parent I found this book extremely informative and helpful, and would recommend it to all who care for children....more info
  • Hopeful book I won't quickly forget
    This was a book I had a hard time putting down. The author is obviously highly intelligent and compassionate. After reading it, I want to read more by him, but it appears only articles--no books--are available. The book, without going into too much medicalese, explains how the brain is affected by trauma. The true life stories coupled with neurological explanations offer hope to those who have been traumatized and those who would understand them. I was astonished by the last chapter--or maybe it was one of the last?--that presented, for me, a novel way of influencing a child's peer group. ...more info
  • The Boy Who Was RAised As A Dog
    This is a fabulous and fascinating book. A must read for anyone who seeks to understand the complexities of the human brain and how it is impacted by childhood events and circumstances. It left me with much to think about.

    ...more info
  • Remarkable Book by an Outstanding Child Psychiatrist
    The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing The book is highly readable consisting of some of the more interesting and challenging cases that Bruce Perry has encountered. Perry is a remarkable child psychiatrist. I wish there was some way to clone him and make him available in every community around this country. The next best thing is that we can all learn from him, not only from this truly remarkable book but from his Child Trauma Academy website: [...] which includes many of his papers and offers on-line courses for the serious student of his work. He has established himself as one of the leading authorities on the neurobiology of child trauma, especially known for his study of children who have been abused and neglected. But even these impressive credentials do not do him justice. You can't help but be deeply moved when reading his book written with an award winning journalist (Szalavitz). His compassion, empathy, and dedication to his child and family patients reminds me of some of the wonderful psychiatrists I have met along the way in the days when insurances companies were still willing to pay psychiatrists for time to listen to and talk to their young patients and not just the minimum possible time it takes to decide on a prescription. In fact, the need to listen to children and their families is a reoccurring theme throughout this book and the harm that can result when the time is not taken to carefully, listen, and appreciate the whole picture is also noted. I nearly was moved to tears of joy when I came to this paragraph: "Of course, medications can help relieve symptoms and talking to a therapist can be incredibly useful. But healing and recovery are impossible--even with the best medications and therapy in the world--without lasting, caring connections to others. Indeed, at heart it is the relationship with the therapist, not primarily his or her methods or words of wisdom that allows therapy to work" (p.232). Perry also observes, "The most traumatic aspects of all disasters involve the shattering of human connections. And this is especially true of children" (231). I found Perry's message to resonate with my own clinical experiences and convictions again and again and can't remember anything I read that ran counter to my clinical experience or philosophy. I was especially thrilled to see him take up the baton regarding an issue that is dear to my heart because the late Walter Bonime, M.D., a psychoanalyst that I studied with for over a decade in New York City, wrote about this extensively. Perry, like Bonime, before him sees one extremely unhealthy feature of contemporary Western culture to be the hyper-competitiveness that drives parents to load kids up with such extensive academic, sports, and activity schedules that parents have little time to talk to their children, hug their children, and the children have little time to engage in free play with children in the neighborhood. As a result children are often deficient in essential social skills because they get few opportunities to enjoy playing with other children, resolving conflicts or negotiating compromises. I could go on for pages about the things I loved about the book but some things are better left for you to read. I am sure you will not be disappointed.

    ...more info
  • great learning tool
    I have read dozens of books on how to help children over the years, and I feel this is one of the best. It not only was very informative, it was a easy read. Each chapter kept me spellbound, because it read like a story. I made sure I underlined all the important parts as I read, and wrote a little summary at the end of each chapter so I would never forget the information. Their was lots of information on the effects of childhood trauma, and how to help these children cope. I would have this as a must read for all people who work with young children. The book helps adults to keep an open mind about childrens behavior and recieve insightful tips on why some children exhibit unusual behavior. I am looking forward to other books by this author. He is a very talented doctor and author....more info
  • Drama in the Service of Social Restructuring
    Erik Erikson's -Childhood and Society-. Don Winnicott's -The Child, The Family and The Outside World-. Alice Miller's -For Your Own Good-. Three books about growing up in Western Culture. Three books the average guy could understand. Three watersheds.

    This could be -- and -should- be -- the fourth.

    I have been reading Perry's professional work for a decade. Along with Daniel Stern (-The Motherhood Constellation-) and Alan Schore (-Affect Dysregulation and Disorders of the Self-), he stands with the giants of early life neurobiology, infant-mother bonding and socialization in the millennial era. For me, his work harks back an entire century to the simple and forthright illuminations of the recently rediscovered Pierre Janet.

    I may routinely recommend the mass market work of people like Pia Mellody, Claudia Black and Scott Peck in -their- heydays; usefully dramatic expositions of vital concepts tend to flip my switch. This thing flipped it over, and over, and over again. A brief sample may help others to understand why:

    "For years mental health professionals taught people that they could be psychologically healthy without social support... People without any relationships were believed to be as healthy as those who had many. These ideas contradict the fundamental biology of the human species: we are social mammals and could never have survived without deeply interconnected and interdependent human contact.

    "The truth is, you cannot love yourself unless you have been loved and are loved. The capacity to love cannot be built in isolation.

    "In order for a child to become kind, giving and empathetic, he needs to be treated that way. Punishment can't create or model those qualities. Although we do need to set limits, if we want our children to behave well, we have to treat them well."

    Perry buttresses his case with presentation after presentation from casework involving neglected, invalidated, brainwashed, ignored and hoodwinked young humans "raised" in extremist religious cults, Eastern European orphanages, broken chromosome backwaters and even animal cages. He shows us how children raised in seemingly "normal" homes can have every reason to be as confused and disoriented as his more obvious worst-case-scenarios. And he shows us how developmentally appropriate re-parenting (more or less the fundament of the Adult Children of Alcoholics movement) can and will produce near miracles.

    Social impact seems to require drama. Miller's work in the '80s crashed through the gates of denial on child abuse after decades of factually solid but less dramatic publication. Perry's first-hand experience with the surviving children of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas, and the tragically mistaken "satanic cult" furball in rural Gilmer, Texas, make the most of memorable headlines from recent years.

    Drama, however, is only a means to an end. The message is what matters.

    And the message is simply -this-: The love of the mother is not merely significant, it is the Single Most Important Learning Experience in human life. Those who miss it, or suffer through some twisted version of it like Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy or parenting by those who experienced none of their own, are doomed to all the shattered trust, push-pull autonomy, corrupted initiative, shipwrecked identity and incapacity for intimacy Erikson promised us a half century ago.

    If there is a potential fault here, it is that Perry's illustrations -are- both extreme and dramatic. Many may fail to see that less extreme and dramatic results of Miller's "poisonous pedagogy," Diana Baumrind's "permissive-abandoning parenting" and John Bowlby's "anxious attachment" are rapidly becoming our societal norms.

    As Perry points out, "A person born in 1905 had only a one-percent chance of suffering depression by the age of seventy-five, but by their twenty-fourth birthday, six percent of those born in 1955 had an episode of serious depression. Other studies indicate that teen depression rates have increased by an incredible factor of ten in recent decades."

    It is clear to those of us who work with these people that Janet was on top of it all a century ago. Few paid attention to his revelations about the "normal practice of destroying our children and our society" then. Let us hope more will pay attention now. ...more info


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