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In this instant classic of developmental psychology, a renowned psychiatrist examines the effect that trauma can have on a child, reveals how PTSD impacts the developing mind, and outlines the path to recovery.
What happens when a young brain is traumatized? How does terror, abuse, or disaster affect a child's mind -- and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Dr. Bruce D. Perry has helped children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, murder witnesses, kidnapped teenagers, and victims of family violence.
In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, Dr. Perry tells their stories of trauma and transformation through the lens of science, revealing the brain's astonishing capacity for healing. Deftly combining unforgettable case histories with his own compassionate, insightful strategies for rehabilitation, Perry explains what exactly happens to the brain when a child is exposed to extreme stress -- and reveals the unexpected measures that can be taken to ease a child's pain and help him grow into a healthy adult.
As a senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy, Dr. Perry and his clinical group worked with hundreds who endured severe childhood neglect and abuse with incredible resilience and strength. Through the stories of children who recover -- physically, mentally, and emotionally -- from the most devastating circumstances, Perry shows how simple things like surroundings, affection, language, and touch can deeply impact the developing brain, for better or for worse. In this deeply informed and moving book, Bruce Perry dramatically demonstrates that only when we understand the science of the mind can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.
"Filled with compassionate, caring stories by a wise healer and scientist, this book will appeal to all who are interested in understanding how children heal."
—Lynn Ponton, MD
, author of The Romance of Risk
"This book demands and deserves attention from parents, educators, policymakers, courts, and therapists. Highly recommended."
—Library Journal, starred review
"Perry has learned a thing or two about how not to raise a prospective sociopath.... He makes a powerful case for early intervention for disruptive children to prevent adult sociopathy."
"In beautifully written, fascinating accounts of experience working with emotionally stunted and traumatized children, child psychiatrist Perry educates readers about how early-life stress and violence affects the developing brain. He offers simple yet vivid illustrations of the stress response and the brain's mechanisms with facts and images that crystallize in the mind without being too detailed and confusing."
"I have never encountered a child advocate with a better mind, a bigger heart, or a more generous spirit than Bruce Perry. This book captures the essence of his insights and the heroism of his actions on behalf of children who have encountered the dark side of human experience."
—James Garbarino, PhD
, author of Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them
"For many years, Bruce Perry's work has been deserving of our highest praise. This book is his crowning achievement, the ultimate combination of science and humanity."
—Joel A. Dvoskin, PhD, ABPP, University of Arizona College of Medicine, and President, American Psychology-Law Society
"In this harrowing but profoundly humane book, Perry and Szalavitz provide an all too timely, utterly engrossing account of traumatized children's lives.... Once I opened it, I could not put it down."
—Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
, author of Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species
"The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog is Bruce Perry's finest achievement.... Anyone who wants to understand childhood trauma and its heartbreaking consequences must read this book."
, best-selling author of Mask Market and founder and national advisory board member of PROTECT: The National Association to Protect Children.