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4.4 out of 5 stars
Too Scared To Cry: Psychic Trauma In Childhood
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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
After many years of fostering displaced and traumatized children, this book gave me landmark understanding of their emotional state and behaviors. I will never forget the recurring themes of the young children at play and have since found observing play as a valuable tool in unravelling the mysteries of trauma in toddlers. I am especially intrigued by the effects of pre-verbal trauma since many of the babies that have come through my home, or stayed by adoption, have told their "trauma stories" through their behaviors. They have no words yet to describe their experiences. The effects of sexual trauma at a very early age are well described in this book. It is something most of us would rather not think about, much less deal with on a daily basis in a three year old. This book has helped me do that. Another book that was very helpful along these lines was Unspeakable Acts, an account of a daycare sexual abuse case in Florida. While very graphic and detailed, more journalistic in style, it helped me recognize the many symptoms and effects of sexual abuse on very young children and also gave me insight into the bizarre psyches of the perpetrators.
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84 of 98 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading this book, but I also had problems with it. Most of the information comes out of the author's own experience working with children who had experienced what she describes as psychic trauma. Primarily her subjects are the children of the Chowchilla kidnapping that took place in 1976, but there are other children that she refers to as well. While her work is important and interesting, it is certainly not the last word in trauma research. I was particularly distressed by her tendency to dismiss and invalidate the children themselves while imposing her own interpretations of their experiences on the very children she was researching. Questioning a child's ability to remember their own reality is very problematic for me, and stating as a fact a great many things that she does not document made me wonder what on earth her agenda was. She tended to alienate her subjects with her inability to believe the things they shared with her in trust and confidence, and I suspect that she lost a great deal of valuable understanding in the process. As I said, I enjoyed reading the book and I'm sure it will be a valuable addition to my reference shelf, but I do take issue with her bias and her own interpretations of experience she herself did not face. It is for this reason that I will keep her nearby as I continue my own research and understanding of trauma and recovery.
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Too Scared to Cry," is a seminal book. The research which this beautifully written book sumarizes is a corner stone in the modern understanding of trauma. The book is vital and conveys the expertise and rare wisdom of this pioneering researcher and clinician. It is equally readable for professional or for lay persons. It is a classic in the field and has been an inspiration to me.
Peter A. Levine Ph.D.-Author of Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma."
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is easily one of the best books on childhood trauma out there. I have read it cover-to-cover twice. It offers a comprehensive and illuminating explanation of how trauma affects children, and it is written in an interesting and engaging style. I highly, highly recommend this book!
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Terr gives wonderful insight to the world of trauma in children. Not only does she show how it affects their behaviour, but she also delves into how the mind deals with trauma.
She presents her findings in such a way that it is enjoyable to read, while at the same time it is very disturbing that these atrocious acts occur in any society, much less in our own neighborhoods.
The section of the book that I remember most vividly is how behaviour is changed after the traumatic event. She gives many insights as to how to recognize these behaviours in both children and adults. Because she uses many celebreties (authors, film makers, etc.), the behaviours that she is describing are that much easier to comprehend.
I think that raising the awareness of people that deal with children on a daily basis is a very important cause, that should be much higher on our priority lists than it is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is the story of children who's school bus was hijacked and the children were abducted and buried alive at a quarry until a ransom was paid. The action of some of the students in deciding to break out reads like a novel but it's all true. The book is about the therapist who followed those children into adulthood and what trauma does to someone and that trauma is not treated. The book shows the decline of the children who stood in the background paralyzed with fear and how they felt about that when they grew up. I recommend this book for it's literary, as well as, it's therapeutic insight into trauma and it's aftermath.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I first read this book when it came out. It changed how I did my day to day work with behavior disordered kids and the families that were living on the constant edge of violence, poverty and homelessness. i continue to "use" the concepts today. It also taught me that trauma can come from anything or anywhere. Our reactions to certain events in our lives and how we deal with those reactions is intertwined with personal resilency. What creates PTSD for you , might not do it for me.
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on October 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
I am a clinical psychologist who has worked with many clients who have suffered from trauma and was interested in reading this book to gain more information on the topic.

Lenore Terr is one of the first psychiatrists who carefully studied childhood trauma. She interviewed about 26 children who were victims of the Chowchilla, CA bus kidnapping in 1976 a few months after the event and 4 years later. She interviewed numerous children on the East and West coasts following the Challenger explosion. She has also worked with numerous children in her practice who were victims of trauma. Through her interviews and clinical work, she gathered a lot of information about the common emotions, outlooks, and behaviors of children who went through traumatic events (both single-event traumas and repeated traumas). Her book summarizes her observations, and each chapter is devoted to a different manifestation of PTSD symptoms.

If you already have a background in PTSD, you won't be significantly informed by the main points in this book. However, the gold is in the case studies. Dr. Terr has numerous brief but excellent case examples throughout the book which make the various trauma symptoms clear and easy to understand. The book itself is well-written, interesting and enjoyable to read.

The one drawback is that because this book was published over 20 years ago, some of the information (especially about therapy and medication) is out of date. For this reason, I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. But if you are reasonably updated about current PTSD theories and treatments, you will be able to spot where the outdated information lies.
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on August 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is very sad, and very useful in my line of work as a child psychiatrist. It goes on my list of books such as Out of the Shadows and Crank: books that are needed, helpful, educational, enlightening, but not enjoyable.

Here are a few of the things I learned from reading:

Traumatic memories aren't well formed if they occurred before 28 months old. The kids still remember the trauma, and they are still troubled by it, but the memories are very vague. - p. 181

Memories are not as vivid if it was a repeated trauma. One time events stick in the mind more than repeated traumas. Details get confused and forgotten if it was repeated over and over again- p. 183

A sense of a limited future is a good indicator of childhood psychic trauma. The victims either don’t expect to live, expect to live alone, or they make mental plans without any physical action to make them happen. - p. 165

A useful trauma question: "What's the worst, the scariest thing that's ever happened to you?" - p. 180

There are four key repetitions that occur in childhood psychic trauma:
Dreams, Play, Reenactment, and Visualization - p. 279

After childhood trauma – usually grades do not go down. They hold steady where they were before the trauma. Good grades don’t mean that the victim is “fine”– p. 293
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
It's an amazing reading! The case studies are very interesting and really touch the reader's heart. The psychological concepts are very well explained.
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