As a therapist who works with foster children, I have searched high and low for books geared toward treating this population and was disheartened by the dearth of information. I was pleased, therefore, to crack open this book, which is a collaborative effort of several therapists involved with the Children's Psychotherapy Project. The CPP assigns a volunteer therapist to one foster child, "for as long as it takes," with the idea that one consistent adult in a foster child's life can make an important difference.
The book begins with an overview of CPP, and moves into an attachment/ psychoanalytic/object-relations-based understanding of the psychological issues of children in foster care. This is an excellent overview and can provide a helpful "translation" of often frustrating behaviors that would be particularly helpful for therapists who are new to this population. Explained from a relational point of view with an eye toward the impact of trauma/ loss, "crazy" behaviors begin to make more sense. It also looks at how therapists work in the context of the larger system, in conjunction with foster parents, birth parents, social workers, and adoption agencies.
What I'd hoped to find, but didn't, were session dialogues between client and therapist. Probably a personal preference on my part, but in professional books I find such play-by-play incredibly helpful in seeing the nitty gritty details of the therapy described. Nonetheless, the book does offer some fairly detailed overviews of long-term treatment with several different children. One thing I dearly loved, that is too often missing from professional books on therapy, is an open willingness of the therapists to explore their own reactions to clients, positive and negative, as well as to examine missteps they made in the course of treatment. How reassuring for therapists to have our own humanity normalized. The book has a lovely focus on taking time for reflection, rather than the immediate action that is often demanded by the foster care system. It allowed me to look at the work I do in a different, deeper, and more thoughtful way. It is unfailingly hopeful while acknowledging the realities and limitations involved in this work.