There are a number of excellent books about attachment, parenting, and treatment. I will describe in this article two books I have written that both therapists and parents may find valuable.
Attachment Parenting: Developing Connections and Healing Children, edited by Arthur Becker-Weidman & Deborah Shell (2010, NY: Jason Aronson), is written specifically for parents. Professionals will find the text useful as well. Professionals (therapists, child welfare workers, adoption and foster care staff, residential treatment center staff, and educators) will find in the text a lot of material that can be used in their work with families and children. The book was written because of the success of a previous book by the same editors, Creating Capacity for Attachment, which described dyadic developmental psychotherapy and which was written for professionals. Many parents read the chapters in that book about parenting and parents and asked for a book just for them.
The book Attachment Parenting begins with a presentation in chapter one about the theory base for attachment-facilitating parenting. Using many examples, this chapter presents the reader with a detailed understanding of the theory underlying the principles and methods described in the book. By the end of the chapter the reader will have a basic understanding of how attachment normally develops, the effects of chronic early maltreatment on development and behavior, and what parents can focus on to help their child.
The second chapter, “Beginnings,” describes beginning steps that parents can take as they try to help their children heal. The importance of caring for self and finding support are described and a number of suggestions are made.
The “Details” chapter is a practical and specific guide for parents focusing on how to organize your day and your home. Detailed activities and schedules are presented as guides for parents.
The chapter written by Dr. Daniel Hughes, the founder of dyadic developmental psychotherapy, which is an evidence-based, effective, and empirically supported treatment and which this book is based, explains why children misbehave. In this chapter parents and professionals will develop a good understanding of the reasons children misbehave. This view is rooted in the principles that all behavior is adaptive and that behavior has meaning.
The fifth chapter on theraplay presents how parents can use this approach at home to help their children. Theraplay is a model of treatment that uses play as its primary modality. With many specific examples, and suggestions, this chapter provides parents with a wealth of material to use at home.
The sixth chapter is written by a board certified neuropsychologist and describes what a neuropsychological evaluation is, and its importance in evaluating and treating children with trauma and attachment disorders. The chapter also describes how this material can be very useful in working with schools to prepare an individual educational plan.
The seventh chapter is written by an occupational therapist who is certified in sensory-integration. Many children with chronic early histories of maltreatment have sensory dysfunction. This chapter describes what a good assessment should encompass and then activities that parents can use at home to enhance sensory-integration.
The eighth chapter is written by an art therapist and practitioner of dyadic developmental psychotherapy. The chapter describes how media can be used to help children and, as in the other chapters, provides numerous examples and activities for parents.
The ninth chapter on storytelling describes how to use stories to help children. The use of stories to help create a coherent autobiographical narrative can be a very powerful tool for parents to use at home. This chapter describes several story types including the claiming narrative, trauma narrative, and developmental narrative and how these can be used by parents.
The tenth chapter on mindfulness is for parents and describes how to use a mindful approach to parenting and how to begin to achieve mindfulness.
The next two chapters are written by parents and describe their experiences with dyadic developmental psychotherapy and what they did at home to facilitate the development of a more secure and healthy pattern of attachment with their child. These are touching stories.
The chapter on resources and approaches for parents presents parents with many useful resources. In addition, it provides parents with practical examples of how to use the principles of dyadic developmental psychotherapy in their everyday lives at home.
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